Acid reflux or Heart Burn is a condition when Stomach acid move into food pipe (oesophagus) from Stomach. Acid (HCL) is produced in stomach by parietal cells and serve an important function in breaking down the food especially proteins, acts as a defense of line against the pathogens coming through food or water and also aids the absorption of certain nutrients from stomach itself.
Most common belief is that Acid reflux happens because of excess acid production in the stomach while its is quite opposite, that it happens because of low stomach acid. Acid reflux can be acute arising because of certain foods or lifestyle and can become chronic when not taken care of causing serious health issues including growth of harmful pathogens, interfering with absorption of nutrients and other digestive issues.
There are multiple reasons for acid reflux and simple ways to deal with them.
- Food Sensitivities – Food sensitivities are one of the most common reasons for acid reflux. Foods such as milk and milk products, gluten or legumes are connected to acid reflux in most cases. You can detect the food sensitivities to food through IgG Food testing done from functional labs or other way around is to do an elimination diet for a month. Few people with acid reflux get relief when they go off Nightshade family plants or vegetables such as tomato, brinjal & peppers.
- Pathogens – People having bacterial or fungal infections are more prone to acid reflux. Overgrowth of Candida and H.pylori in digestive tract has been linked to acid reflux disease. Work with Functional Medicine Practitioner to rule out any of gut infections and treat them.
- Stress – Highly stressed individuals are more prone to acid reflux disease because of sympathetic system domination which leads to suppressed acid production and loosen of esophagal valve which prevent the movement of acid from stomach to oesophagus. Chronic stress gut down the digestive system and impair the absorption of food and signalling to brain. Stress can be dealt with regular exercise, mindful eating, yoga, breathing techniques (Pranayama) and thus lowering the frequency or curb acid reflux
- Nutrition – There are certain food and herbs which helps to curb or reduce the incidence of acid reflux disease. The food which tops the list is Ginger. Ginger directly acts on oesophageal spinster by tightening it and preventing the acid from entering into oesophagus (food pipe) from stomach. This is the reason why ginger has been successfully used as an Anti emetic agent to prevent nausea and vomiting. Ginger also acts as anti bacterial and anti fungal. The next ingredient is Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) which acts as immediate acid neutraliser to acid. Taking 1/2 tsp of Baking soda in a cup of water prevent acute acid reflux attack. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar helps to optimise the HCL levels in stomach and many people get relief from acid reflux when consume 1 tbsp of ACV in a cup water just prior to meals. ACV also prevents overgrowth of Candida and H.pylori in stomach. Chewing raw Fennel also aids in digestion and prevent acid reflux after food. Certain foods like excess caffeine, alcohol and trans fats also leads to acid reflux disease. Eliminating them completely or in moderation serve the purpose. Certain Probiotic strains like L-reuteri has shown to reduce the chances of acid reflux and colic in infants and adults.
- Lifestyle – Certain lifestyle modifications or changes helps to prevent acid reflux disease when combined with above guidelines
- Eating small frequent meals on time
- Staying upright after meals (at least 2 hours)
- Taking a walk after meals
- Quit smoking
- Sleeping on your left side
- Maintain health weight
- Exercise and Breathing techniques