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Curing Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Updated on March 27, 2014

Hidden Causes of Acid Reflux

For many sufferers Acid Reflux or GERD causes a lot of pain and discomfort. It can become life threatening for those that experience reflux while sleeping. For many the course of treatment involves treatment that shut down or reduce acid production. While this may temporarily relieve symptoms it fails to address the root causes and could make the condition worse over time.

Recent studies have started to shine new light onto this condition and the root causes may surprise you. While for years fatty foods have been victimized for causing too much stomach acid, it appears they stand falsely accused. It may sound counter intuitive but there is evidence that suggests that many are suffering from reduced too little stomach acid.

Damage from reflux
Damage from reflux

Food and Your Gut

Our digestive system contains a mix of acids and bacteria to break down food into nutrition, It is a system that relies on this mix remaining is a correct balance in order to function properly. Today in America many of us consume a diet very high on sugars and carbohydrates. Higher than in any other point in history. The side effects of this dietary trend are causing widespread issues and an increase in related diseases at an alarming rate. It is not surprise that the rate of chronic Acid Reflux diagnosis continues to rise as well.


The human body has over 10 trillion microbes living in their digestive system. Without them we would be unable to ferment and digest carbohydrates. They serve a valuable and needed purpose. The sugar and carbohydrate consumption in the typical American diet has caused two unintended side effect. The first is a reduction in the production on stomach acid. This has slowed down the rate that food is digested leaving is sit in the stomach for longer period of time. The second is the higher sugar content and carbohydrate content in the diet has fed the wrong type of bacteria, causing overgrowth in our system. As a result the increased bacteria and low stomach acid allows these now undigested carbohydrates to ferment in our guts. The result of this fermentation is increased production of Gas. Gas adds added pressure within our stomach walls. This gas and bloating pressure assist is pushing up bile into our esaphagus. Once this happens we feel the effects of the strong acid damage as heart burn or reflux.

Now if not brought back into balance, this will continue to compound. Essentially we keep adding fuel to the fire by heaping on more sugar and carbohydrates to an already over taxed system. Since our stomachs can not keep up the severity of symptoms continues to increase.


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Acid blockers are not the answer

The common treatment options for this range from over the counter antacids to prescriptions that shut down the stomachs acid pumps. While these might offer temporary relief from immediate symptoms they are silently compounding the problem by further inhibiting acid production and allowing fermenting foods to remain in the gut longer. As a result many people report feeling worse if they miss a dose or struggle to break free from the medication all together. To truly be free of Acid re-flux we must focus on eliminating the root cause. From first hand experience I went from severe night acid re-flux to the point where I was afraid to go to sleep to symptom free in a matter of days. As long as I maintain my new diet I am 100% free of symptoms. I have learned that if I return to my old eating habits too often or for too long my re-flux returns very quickly.

Source

Stop Eating these things

  • Sugars (Table, Corn Syrup, Agave)
  • Grains (Wheat, Rice, Corn, Oats etc)
  • Packaged Processed Carbohydrate heavy foods
  • Large Amounts of Fruit

Good Video on Keto and Acid Reflux

Healing your acid re-flux with diet

This advice is going to be very counter intuitive to conventional medical advice. I was skeptical myself at the start, but after i found it working I continue to personally research the reasons why. I will not bore you with overly technical jargon and slides in this article but I do encourage you to jump in a start learning. Socrates the ancient father of modern medicine said "Let you food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food". Wise advice often overlooked in today's pharmaceutical dependent society.

First Steps:

Your first steps in returning the balance of microbes in your stomach to optimal levels. I don't know a gentle way to break this so I am going to come right out a say it. Sugar is killing you Stop Eating It! Once that sinks in and you have stopped swearing at me feel free to read on.

Your stomach and digestive tract is a wreck at the moment. Apart from any microbe overgrowth issues you more than likely have raging inflammation in the area as well. As simply as I can state this: "You need to allow this to heal".

Sugars and carbohydrates feed this bacteria helping it continue to reproduce and grow the colony. Carbohydrates, more specifically grains, not only convert to sugars in our guts but also have very pro-inflammatory properties in their make up. As a result I recommend dropping these from your diet for at least 2-4 weeks. And by dropping I mean dropping to under 50g combined a day.

So what do I eat? Good question as you will need to fuel your body. You will want to increase your Fat intake and vegetable consumption. Now for Fats, not all Fats are created equal and used effectively by your body. Your natural saturated fats (Olive, Coconut, Animal Fats) can be readily converted into fuel for your body. More Here and Here. I would increase the quality sources of protein as well. Almonds and tree nuts are great sources of nutrition, anti inflammatory and help satisfy the need for crunchy stuff. If this sounds familiar this is the basis for a ketogenic diet. Apart from a short adaptation phase your body can run optimally on this diet for a long, long time. More Here and Here and specifically about re-flux here.

So in summary for the next 2-4 weeks No Sugar, No Grains (Wheat or Flour, Rye, Oats, Barley, Rice, Corn). Increase quality sources of protein. Increase natural saturated fats, Eliminated toxic sources of Fats (Vegetable Oil, Corn Oil, Canola Oil, Soy Oil), Increase vegetable consumption but keep fruit consumption low for a while as it does contain a lot of natural sugars.

There will be an adjustment period. The two most common short term side effects during adjustment are the following.

  1. Feeling sluggish or cold like symptoms: These start around day 3 and last for about 2 days. Most people feel a pick up on the 3rd day and fantastic energy levels following. This is your body converting from a sugar based diet to a fat based diet.
  2. Microbe Dye Off Symptoms: You may feel slightly bloated and have the runs for a day. This is a good sign, as it is a side effect of the microbe overgrowth dying off and passing though your system.

What is Next:

That is up to you. My question to you would be, do you want to return to how you felt before? Do you want to go back on the medication? Is it worth changing your diet to be free of the pain and suffering that acid re-flux causes? If so I am going to recommend adopting some form of low(er) carb lifestyle. I personally like the Paleo or Primal plans as it focuses very much on natural and healthy sources supported by a large community with some awesome recipes. I will include a link below my favorite book to get started with.

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    • GFfriday profile image
      Author

      Robert W Shaw 3 years ago from Collegeville, Pennsylvania

      Thank you for the kinds words..

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 3 years ago from Michigan

      This is a very helpful article. I like your topics and am dealing with many of the health issues you address.

      Great Job! Sharing.

      Mekenzie