Antacids for Acid Reflux Treatment: Treating Indigestion with Probiotics
What are Antacids? Harmful Effects of Prolonged Use
Antacids are most widely used medications for the management of acid reflux disease across the globe. Using antacids tends to suppress the production of gastric acid within the stomach and thereby provides spontaneous relief. However, since the condition is chronic in nature, prolonged use of antacids can affect stomach functions:
- Gastric acids destroy harmful bacteria and disease producing microorganisms in the ingested food. Prolonged use of antacids can reduce the production of gastric acids, and thus increase the risk of developing bacterial infection.
- Gastric acids play a critical role in breaking down food. Protein rich foods including meat, eggs, milk, whole grains, and nuts are high in Vitamin B12. Gastric Acid separates Vitamin B12 from the protein which is subsequently absorbed by the small intestine. Use of acid blockers can decrease acid quantity which in turn allows only one forth of the vitamins to be absorbed. This may result in Vitamin B12 deficiency which is manifested in the form of pernicious anemia, headaches and peripheral neuropathy.
Side Effects of Antacids in Treating Indigestion & Reflux Disease
In addition to interfering with stomach functions, the prolonged use of antacids is associated with several other side effects:
- Constipation or diarrheas are important side effects that are associated with the prolonged usage of antacids. Aluminum containing antacids result in constipation whilst, magnesium containing antacids tend to cause diarrhea.
- Indigestion can result from prolonged use of Antacids due to reduced production of naturally occurring gastric acids.
- Most antacids contain calcium carbonate which affects the calcium and acid balance in the body and can be harmful to the kidneys. Further, calcium containing antacids may stimulate acid secretion after the initial phase of neutralizing the acid, hence, further deteriorating the patient's condition.
- In patients with renal disorders, aluminum may tend to accumulate in the body. Aluminum is toxic and can lead to metal poisoning symptoms.
Probiotics to Treat Acid Reflux: Treating Indigestion Safely
Studies have shown a strong correlation between Helicobacter pylori, a pathogen which often causes inflammation of the stomach tissue and acid reflux. H. Pylori attacks stomach mucosa which in turn results in the weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter.
Probiotics comprise of over four hundred different types of bacteria which are beneficial for the gastrointestinal system as they enhance digestive functions. They help reduce the symptoms associated with acid reflux - heartburn, nausea and regurgitation, by improving digestive functions.
The good bacteria contained in the probiotics promote healing and thereby aid in the effective management of acid reflux. However, it is always prudent to consult a doctor before taking probiotics for acid reflux as the underlying cause for acid reflux differs from person to person.
Homeopathy offers comprehensive solutions for the treatment of all forms of Gastric Reflux Disease and provides effective treatment for indigestion.
Homeopathy for Indigestion: Treating GERD Naturally
As a complementary system of medicine, homeopathy has evolved as a strong alternative to treat acid reflux disease and minimize the side effects associated with the prolonged use of antacids. These homeopathic drugs are effective in controlling retrosternal burning, gaseous distention, flatulence, constipation and diarrhea. Some of the homeopathic drugs that are exceedingly beneficial are:
- Nux Vomica: Nux Vomica has a powerful impact on the gastro-intestinal system and is often used for the treatment of diarrhea and stomach upsets. It is considered effective in improving the gastro-intestinal motility and also controls the production of acid juice in the stomach. Low doses of Nux Vomica, repeated over four times a day is considered beneficial in treating acid reflux disease. Nux Vomica is important in patients with a history of abuse of alcohol and liver damage.
- Carbo Veg: Another homeopathic drug, Carbo Veg is used to treat deteriorated functions of the esophageal sphincter. This drug is known to enhance muscular strength and also improve gastrointestinal motility. This drug is also used to treat gaseous distension and indigestion among people of all ages.