Do you want to know how to completely stop acid reflux once and for all? I can relate to your struggle. When I was in college, I had acid reflux really bad. I was downing massive amounts of Tums, not knowing what caused it.
I wish I had known what I know now back then because it would have been so easy to correct. Just months and months of suffering this terrible heartburn, I’d have to sit up, propped up in my bed, to try to have it drained because it would be terrible at night.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is a situation where you’re having acid that’s regurgitating, coming up through a valve into the esophagus. And that valve is called the lower esophageal sphincter.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
The most important thing to know about acid reflux is that it’s caused by not enough acid in your stomach. There’s a deficiency of acid in your stomach, which doesn’t trigger a certain mechanism to close the valve at the top of the stomach at the bottom of the esophagus.
As a result, the valve doesn’t close, and the acid regurgitates. The term for this low acid situation is called hypochlorhydria. That is the root cause of your heartburn.
There’s another condition called achlorhydria, which means there’s no acid in your stomach, and that happens with people as they get older and older.
In fact, as we age, we lose the acid in our stomach and we have all sorts of digestive problems. 30% of the population over the age of 60 has a deficiency of stomach acid. So it’s a big deal.
The Typical Treatments for Acid Reflux
When people suffer from acid reflux, they often take medication to deal with this issue. However, these medications can have horrendous side effects because we’re doing the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
The medications might make us feel better temporarily, but the next time we eat, the problem gets worse and worse, and we never come off this medication.
Stomach pH Explained
It is crucial to ensure that our stomach has the right pH. The normal pH of the stomach should be between one and three, which is extremely acidic. On the pH scale, seven is neutral.
A pH higher than seven, like eight, nine, or ten, is more alkaline, while a pH lower than seven is more acidic. Each whole number you go down is 10 times more acidic than the previous one. For example, a pH of five is 10 times more acidic than a pH of six.
Importance of the Right Stomach pH
Having the correct stomach pH is vital to break down proteins, absorb minerals and vitamins like B12, folic acid, and vitamin C. It’s also needed to kill off microbes, fungi, and bacteria to prevent them from growing in our small intestine.
There’s a link between the release of acid and the closing of the valve at the top of the stomach, known as the lower esophageal sphincter. This valve should close when there’s enough gastrin, a chemical that causes the release of hydrochloric acid.
This whole process is under parasympathetic control, which is the part of the nervous system that controls digestion and rest.
Stress and Stomach pH
Stress is another reason we might have problems with our stomach and experience acid reflux, as increased stress levels can lead to a decrease in parasympathetic activity. The more stress you have, the more acid reflux you’re going to experience.
Hydrochloric Acid and Digestion
Hydrochloric acid helps release bile from your gallbladder, stimulating the pancreas to produce enzymes for digestion. Without the correct stomach pH, you won’t have sufficient bile release or enzyme production, which can cause other problems further down in the digestive process.
Additionally, having the correct stomach pH is necessary to keep H. pylori in check. Normally, our bodies have H. pylori without causing any issues, but when we lose stomach acid, it can create problems.
Nutrient Deficiencies and Stomach pH
The lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach can be related to low zinc levels, which are common for many people. If you’re low on zinc, you may have problems with GERD, acid reflux, and ulcers.
It takes a sufficient amount of zinc, chlorides (like sodium chloride, or salt), and potassium to make hydrochloric acid. So, it’s not just about taking hydrochloric acid, but also taking the raw materials that can build up your stomach acid.
Calcium and Acid Reflux
Another connection often overlooked is the link between taking calcium supplements and experiencing acid reflux or GERD. One of the significant side effects of taking calcium is acid reflux.
If you’re going to your doctor for this condition, definitely tell them to research the link between hypercalcemia and GERD or acid reflux.
Medications and Acid Reflux
People also take other types of medication for acid reflux, like PPIs, which have massive side effects like inflammation, kidney nephritis, fractures from osteoporosis, and infections from other pathogens like C. diff. So, it’s crucial to be aware of these potential side effects when seeking treatment for acid reflux.
The Best Remedies for Acid Reflux
To effectively tackle acid reflux, follow these recommendations:
- Betaine Hydrochloride: The best remedy for acid reflux is to build up your hydrochloric acid by taking betaine hydrochloride. Start with taking three tablets before a meal and gradually increase the dosage until your symptoms go away. This might take seven, eight, or more tablets. Once your acid reflux is under control, continue taking a little more until you feel a warmness in your stomach, indicating you’ve taken too much. Then, back off to find the right amount for your body.
- Potassium and Sea Salt: Make sure you’re getting enough potassium and sea salt in your diet, as these are the precursors for building hydrochloric acid.
- Zinc: Ensure you’re getting sufficient zinc, which is crucial for this process.
- Chew Your Food: Chew your food longer to help the digestive process, especially if you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach.
- Manage Stress: Keep your stress levels down, as stress can aggravate the situation. Aim to be in a relaxed, parasympathetic state when you eat to improve digestion.
Learn More about Digestion!
Understanding the entire digestive process can help you manage acid reflux and improve your overall digestive health. From the stomach to the large intestine, there’s a lot to learn about how your body processes food. Watch informative videos and read articles to gain a deeper understanding of digestion and implement the best practices for a healthy digestive system.