Over 60 million people experience heartburn and acid reflux each month. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a more serious type of acid reflux, is the most common digestive disorder in the United States. This is a real problem that plagues many people daily, yet what causes acid reflux is not as commonly known. Acid Reflux is caused by too little stomach acid, not too much. Let’s discuss what’s really happening at the root of the problem and how you can do to address acid reflux.
The Truth About Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs more often and is more likely as we age. However, as the number of candles increases on the cake that’s become so hard to digest, the stomach acid in our bodies is on the decline. If what causes acid reflux was too much stomach acid, then we’d have been experiencing heartburn predominantly in high school. Acid reflux is a condition where acid is finding its way out of your stomach. Stomach acid belongs in – well, your stomach.
Figure 1. Mean stomach acid secretion from the second to the eighth decade. (from Wright, 2001 p.20)
What’s Really Happening
The problem begins at the esophagus. When you’re consuming that birthday cake, the lower esophageal sphincter is supposed to close to prevent those slices from making their way back up. Acid reflux happens when the sphincter relaxes, thus giving the stomach acid a chance to make its way back up the esophagus. This is why heartburn has often taken the joy out of birthdays and dinner parties. What you’ve seen in all the commercials for medication that treats acid reflux has been spreading misinformation for some time. Let’s try to understand more about what’s happening and what we can do to take care of it and ourselves.
Getting To The Bottom Of It
Putting that acid back into our stomachs where it belongs, isn’t as easy as getting over-the-counter drugs. If this is a frequent problem you’re experiencing, it’s important to see a physician if you can. Pump inhibitors like Prilosec can be dangerous, especially when they aren’t taken properly. Symptoms can worsen, causing other problems that no one should have to deal with. Especially when there’s leftover birthday cake involved.
Treating The Tummy Right
A hydrochloric acid supplement is one of the best ways to treat acid reflux. It’s available without a prescription. Adding unprocessed, high-quality sea salt also helps get hydrochloric acid into the mix to help the fight.
Here’s the inconvenient truth: the birthday cake might be a trigger after all. Sugars and processed foods are part of what causes acid reflux, so adjusting your diet to minimize consumption is sure to do you and your stomach a favor.
Exercise is usually a good thing in cases like these. Yes, it may be already painful as that heartburn sits in your chest, but even a light routine can work wonders quickly. Just be sure to listen to your body and not push yourself too far. Focus on light impact workouts like walking and biking, or take it easy if you find yourself performing any cardio or core workouts, because too much strain can reawaken symptoms. Ironically, taking it too easy, like lying down for long periods of time, may exacerbate the symptoms.
Vitamin D is an ally you should utilize in this struggle. Getting additional supplements and plenty of sunshine can aid fighting off potential infections that may be components to acid reflux. While acid reflux itself is not a disease, it is a condition that can be caused as a result of something inferior that’s found its way into your system. Be careful, though: consuming too much of a Vitamin D supplement, particularly Vitamin D3, can be toxic. As if you don’t have enough problems, right?