Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are Your Reflux or Heartburn Symptoms Not Improving?

Have you been suffering from reflux or heartburn for months or years? Have you tried every over the counter and prescription medication with little or no noticeable changes? You are not alone. According to the the American Gastroenterological Association estimate that 33% of Americans have acid reflux disease! In April the Center for Research on Aging found that 23% of men and women over 65 in nursing homes or other care facilities are suffering from some form of gastric problem. What's worse is that these conditions are the most expensive GI disorders in the United States and costs of treatment are approaching $10 billion every year!!

Doctor's frequently prescribe reflux medications and over the counter antacids such as Tums to help reduce symptoms and battle the excessive acid that is thought to be the cause of reflux and chronic heartburn. But here's the thing that will blow your mind... Stomach acid production and thus stomach acid pH DECREASES WITH AGE!! This means that if you're over 30, your stomach acid production has already begun to decrease and thus you're not digesting your food as well. As you reach 40 your stomach acid production is about half as much as when you were 20. This means that if you are on a reflux medication that decreases your acid production you are literally making the problem WORSE!!!

Researchers have known that acid production decreases with age for over 30 years!!! Don't believe me? The A study published in 1986 in the Journal of American Geriatric Society found that 30% of men and women over 60 have atrophic gastritis where they produce little or no stomach acid. Another study 1963 in Gastroenterology found that 40% of post menopausal women have NO basal gastric acid secretions!!!!

So what we need to do instead of dampening the stomach acid production with medications is to eat foods that help to naturally increase stomach acid and/or take a supplement with digestive aids and enzymes designed to assist in food digestion. We should also cut down on foods that increase or trigger symptoms of reflux or heartburn.

So what can you do?
1) Cut down on how many over the counter antacids you are taking each day and talk to your doctor about reducing or eliminating your medications that may be interfering with stomach acid production.
2) Drink water 30 minutes before or after your meal rather than with the meal so that you don't lower the pH of your stomach and effect how well you digest your food.
3) Eat five smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals so your stomach has less food to digest at one time.
4) Try Peppermint Tea. Peppermint has been used as an antibacterial and for increased gastric acid production. It can also combat gas, increase bile flow, and aid in healing the stomach and liver.
5) Try a digestive aid such as Gastro Plus. This supplement combined pepsin to assist in digestion with betaine hydrochloride to help restore the normal stomach acid and support healthy gut function. It will also help to decrease the amounts of bacteria in the gut that can lead to stomach ulcers.
6) Take a probiotic such as Ultrabiotic to help restore intestinal balance. This supplement will help to get those "good" bacteria back to normal quantities in your gut so you don't have as much stomach upset and so you can absorb the nutrients your body needs.