Heartburn is a condition characterized by a wavelike, burning sensation in the upper chest and oesophagus that usually occurs within an hour of eating. At times, the experience of heartburn can be very uncomfortable, and even mimic sensations of heart disease. In most cases, however, heartburn symptoms tend to be fleeting and not serious in nature. Acid reflux can affect one in five people at least once a week. It can affect all ages, including children but the condition is known to be twice as common in men than women.
Conventional physicians commonly recommend over-the-counter antacid medications for heartburn. While such drugs can provide temporary relief, they can be harmful if used for long periods of time, both reducing the amount of stomach acids that are necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of food, and also wreaking havoc with the body’s internal pH. Ironically, antacids are intended to neutralize excess acidity, yet their continued use actually results in over-acidity of the body, helping to create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, all of which thrive in an acidic environment.
Caution: While occasional heartburn is usually harmless, recurring episodes could be an indication of more serious conditions, such as enzyme imbalances or deficiencies, hiatal hernia, stress, or imbalances in adrenal gland, liver, and/or spleen function. If you suffer from chronic or recurring episodes of heartburn, seek medical attention.
The most common heartburn symptom is burning pain in the upper chest and oesophagus, which can come in waves and be extremely painful at times. Pain develops just below the breastbone and is usually worse after eating, bending over or lying down. Belching can also accompany heartburn, as well as the regurgitation of acid, which usually causes an unpleasant, sour taste at the top of the throat or the back of the mouth. Around a third of people with acid reflux have problems with swallowing – dysphagia. This occurs when stomach acid causes scarring of the oesophagus which leads to it narrowing, making it difficult to swallow food.
Sometimes there are a number of less common symptoms associated with acid reflux. These occur due to the irritation and damage caused by the stomach acid and can include pain when swallowing, nausea, persistent cough, tooth decay and inflammation of the larynx (laryngitis) which causes throat pain and the voice to become hoarse. If you have asthma and acid reflux, your asthma symptoms may worsen due to the stomach acid affecting your airways.
The most common causes of heartburn are overeating, and eating meals that are predominantly acid-forming and abundant in unhealthy fats, spices, and commercially processed foods. Heartburn can also be caused by low levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl), deficiencies in the body’s production of enzymes, poor adrenal and/or spleen function, and/or diminished liver function due to toxicity. Hiatal hernia, stress, or smoking, can cause heartburn, as well. In addition, food allergies lead to poor digestion which can also contribute to heartburn, as can combining too many different types of foods at the same meal. Heartburn can be brought on by drinking excess fluids during mealtime, eating too fast, or eating in a stressed environment. Heartburn can also be connected to constipation, similar to a backed up septic system. In this case, the body can have a difficult time digesting and processing the food coming in, if the previous meal is not going down and being eliminated properly.
The most common risk factors known to increase the likelihood of acid reflux, including being overweight obese, having a diet that is high in fatty foods, using tobacco, alcohol, coffee or chocolate, being pregnant (a change if hormones during pregnancy can weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter and increase pressure on the stomach), having a hiatus hernia (where part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm, the muscle used for breathing) and stress.
Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
Avoid all fast food restaurants.
Avoid all fried foods, and all hydrogenated fats and oils.
Avoid all commercially processed foods, spicy foods, sugars and refined carbohydrates.
Avoid coffee and other caffeine products, chocolate, sodas, commercial non-herbal teas, alcohol, orange and grapefruit juice, tomato products, milk and dairy products, and foods containing peppermint and spearmint.
Avoid overeating and eating meals late in the evening. As a general rule of thumb, in order to prevent and reverse heartburn symptoms, eat meals that are predominantly alkalizing in nature, especially green vegetables. (For more information about how to eat alkalizing foods, see books and links section for The Acid Alkaline Food Guide by Dr Susan Brown and Larry Trivieri, Jr.)
Have yourself screened for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods for which you test positive.
Emphasize a diet rich in organic whole foods, especially organic fresh green vegetables and green vegetable drinks. Free-range organic meats and poultry, and wild-caught fish are also recommended.
Be sure to drink plenty of pure filtered water throughout the day.
Meals should ideally consist of generous portions of fresh leafy green salads, bare or lightly dressed, with an equally generous portion of lightly steamed vegetables and a fist-sized portion of steamed, baked, broiled or carefully grilled protein. Organically produced foods, and carefully chosen oils, such as raw virgin coconut butter/oil, extra virgin olive oil and high lignan flax seed oil are your safest options.
Choose raw, rather than roasted nuts and seeds, both in whole and butter form. Raw almond butter is a better option than peanut butter, and is a great snack when spread on apple slices.
Foods that can often quickly resolve heartburn problems are apples, raw cucumbers (peeled), brown rice, and walnuts. Sipping a glass of pure, filtered water with a couple of teaspoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar or baking soda (one teaspoon to eight ounces of water) can also quickly neutralize heartburn attacks.
- Betaine Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) Supplements – Taking betaine hydrochloric acid is one of the most important supplements for improving digestion, except for individuals who have peptic ulcers (see article section for more about Betaine Hydrochloric Acid).
- Digestive enzymes (taken with every meal) – www.qnhshop.com
- Fivelac probiotics – one pack three times a day. Taking a probiotic supplement or eating foods with probiotics, such as pineapples, help get rid of the most common symptoms of gas. Probiotics replenish beneficial intestinal bacteria and help keep your colon in optimal working order.
- Activated Charcoal – Charcoal absorbs excess air in the digestive track as well as adsorbs (attracts) toxins which may be contributing to gas problems. Try taking a charcoal supplement before eating to help relieve gas and bloating before they start.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of four weeks at a time.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met.
- Raw organic apple cider vinegar – 1 teaspoon in water before every meal.
- Able Heel
- Deer Antler Velvet www.royalvelvetforlife.com
- Coral Calcium
- Intravenous Chelation
- Omega 3s
The most useful nutritional supplements for treating and preventing heartburn are digestive enzymes (taken with every meal) and calcium carbonate (take 600 mg in liquid or chewable form every two to three hours until symptoms subside).
Probiotics such as acidophilus and Bifidobacteria, can also be helpful, as can fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and soil-based organisms. FOS is an all-natural carbohydrate microorganism that has been shown by researchers to serve as a fertilizing agent that enables Bifidobacteria to thrive in the large intestine, where it helps to protect against harmful bacteria.
Soil-based organisms are beneficial microbes found in soil. Taken as a supplement, they go to work to detoxify the gastrointestinal tract while eliminating fungi, molds, parasites, viruses, and yeasts. They also help to improve absorption of nutrients and boost both immune and overall cell function, including the production of RNA and DNA. In addition, they act as natural antioxidants.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
Stress reduction techniques are often helpful in relieving heartburn caused or exacerbated by stress and unresolved emotions, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and irritability. Holistic health practitioners help their patients accomplish stress reduction through the use of various mind/body medicine techniques, such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and relaxation exercises. We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually dis-ease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Dr Callahan Techniques rogercallahan.com
- Try the stress relieving treatment known as Alphabiotics alphabioticinfo.com
- Meditation is another form of stress management that can be highly effective. There are many ways to meditate. One of the easiest is simply to sit comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed as you focus on your breathing. Do this for five to ten minutes twice a day and gradually extend each session to 20 to 30 minutes. To enhance your efforts, concentrate on mentally repeating a peaceful phrase each time that you inhale and exhale, allowing all other thoughts to rise and pass without becoming involved in them. At first, this may seem difficult, but with committed practice you will eventually find yourself able to do so while experiencing greater degrees of calm and peace.
As always the fastest most effective way to receive tailored advice to your own situation, you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Ayurvedic practitioners here
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
- Liquorice Root, Yashi-madhu www.himalayahealthcare.com It is recommended taking half a teaspoon of licorice powder three times a day.
- Bananas (they can have an anti acid effects on the stomach).
- Coconut (the milk and the fruit).
- Ashwagandha, this medicinal herb contains powerful antioxidants in its roots that are known as adaptogens that help the body resist physical and mental stresses.
- A mixture of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves ground into a powder. This can help reduce acid secretion.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
To receive bespoke advice based upon your own situation you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners here
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
- Acupressure, this treatment can be helpful for easing various digestive symptoms – the main pressure point for stomach-related problems is UB (urinary bladder) 21. This is also good for excess acid, food stagnation and abdominal distention. Visit a local, licensed TCM practitioner (links needed.) You may wish to research or discuss Bao He Wan, also sold as Citrus and Crataegus formula, which is recommended for digestive problems. The recommended dosage is one tablet or capsule two to three times daily.
- Acupuncture, another popular remedy that is also proved to be helpful. The acupuncture points for acid reflux are: Ren 12 point, which may be found along the Conception meridian on the abdomen, on the front midline of the body. When stimulated this point can relieve any digestive stagnation and harmonise the stomach. Pc 6 point, which may be found three finger widths from the crease of the wrist on the forearms inner side along the Pericardium meridian. When stimulated this point may relieve nausea and any discomfort in the chest caused by heartburn. This point has also been shown to reduce the frequency of lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations by up to forty per cent. St 36 point, which may be found four finger widths below the kneecap along the tibialis anterior muscle on the front of the lower leg. When stimulated, this point may lower any stomach qi that may be causing the reflux and harmonise the stomach.
The essential oil of cardamom can relieve heartburn symptoms. This spice has been used since antiquity. The Greek physician Hippocrates acknowledged its therapeutic properties. The essential oil distilled from the seeds has a warm, sweet, spicy aroma. It is used as a digestive remedy because of its soothing qualities. Up to seven drops can be placed in a warm bath. The upper abdominal area can also be rubbed with the following oils: 2 drop eucalyptus oil, 1 drop peppermint oil and 2 drops fennel oil diluted in 5ml (I teaspoon) of grape seed oil.
To ensure positive results, always check that the essential oil is a 100% pure plant distillation and that it comes from a reputable source.
Owing to the principles behind homeopathy it is essential you see a licensed practitioner to receive your own personalised prescription. Find your closest Homeopath here
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
- Arsenicum album — for heartburn accompanied by anxiety, chills and thirst, abdominal cramping.
- Nux vomica — for heartburn caused by fats or sour foods and/or accompanied by feelings of irritability.
- Sulfur — for heartburn caused by overeating and/or accompanied by burping, late morning hunger, or early morning diarrhea.
Homeopathy Dosage Directions:
Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.
Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient. If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
Useful herbs for heartburn include agrimony, aloe vera, angelica, fennel, garlic, gentian, goldenseal, licorice root, marshmallow root, parsley, and slippery elm.
A soothing drink can be made by boiling a large handful of chopped chicory root in 500ml water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink to relieve the symptoms.
Calendula or marigold can be made into a tea infusion and has many benefits because it is caffeine free, has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and has no know side effects.
Fennel – chew on fennel seeds or make a tea by crushing the seeds and pouring boiling water over them. The compounds in these seeds, as well as those in anise and dill seeds, relax muscles in your digestive tract and allow trapped gas to pass. As a bonus, you should also have fresher breath, similar to consuming parsley.
Ginger – Drinking ginger tea and eating fresh ginger root are two superior remedies for gas. Add small amounts of ginger (both dried and fresh) to your food, as desired. You can also take a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger before meals for gas relief.
Dandelion Tea – The common weed dandelion has numerous health benefits, one of which is relieving gas. Drink as a tea or add it to meals as a dried spice.
Caraway Seeds – Try adding caraway seed spice to more of your meals, especially if the foods are known to cause gas. Caraway seeds ease gas, indigestion and cramping, as well as stimulate proper digestion.
Parsley – Adding more parsley to your diet is also a very good remedy for gas. Add parsley, either freshly minced or dried as a spice, to foods that may contribute to intestinal gas to help prevent them from causing gas and bloating problems.
Garlic – The hot garlic bulb is another good home remedy for gas. Garlic helps stimulate digestion. For best results, use fresh garlic. You may also want to follow up with parsley or fennel seeds to freshen your breath.
Hot Water – Sip water as hot as you can take it! According to an 86-year-old grandma who submitted this remedy, half a cup usually works.
Dill Pickles – Eat one dill pickle or else take a teaspoonful of pickle juice. Pickle juice has the same effect that gripe water has on a baby.
Peppermint Oil – Mix two drops peppermint oil in 1/2 cup cool water and drink once or twice per day.
The theory behind reflexology is that certain conditions can be relieved when pressure is applied to specific points on your feet, hands, lower legs, face and ears. Some of these conditions include digestive disorders like acid reflux. The reflex points to work on are the diaphragm, oesophagus, pancreas, stomach, lungs and thoracic vertebrae. Visit a local, licensed practitioner to research and discuss this
Fresh squeezed cucumber juice can often quickly resolve heartburn symptoms.
If you smoke, stop, and also avoid exposure to second hand cigarette smoke. In addition, learn how to effectively cope with and manage stress. A regular exercise program is of the utmost importance as is a whole foods diet. Also avoid overeating and eating meals late in the evening. Allow at least 3 hours between meals, unless blood sugar problems are an issue, in which case, eating smaller frequent meals is an option.
The following all are good forms of exercise for those suffering from acid reflux:
- Use a Rebounder
- Vibration plate www.hypergravity.net
Alternative Professional Care
The following therapies can also help to prevent and relieve heartburn: Acupressure, Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Biofeedback Training and Neurotherapy, Detoxification Therapy, Environmental Medicine, Enzyme Therapy, Flower Essences, Mind/Body Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Yoga. (See Glossary for descriptions of these Alternative Therapies.
How the CEO of NaturalCures.com banished his acid reflux NC_Newsletter_12-01.pdf How to Take Hydrochloric Acid Supplements [HCl] www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/dig5.php Acid and alkaline www.naturalcures.com/ph-test-procedure/1337-acid-and-alkaline Zinc and acid reflux: www.livestrong.com/article/417871-new-research-done-on-zinc-for-acid-reflux Natural remedies for acid reflux: www.naturalnews.com/032156_bloating_natural_remedies.html Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Acid reflux: natural remedies:www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bokf72-cfc Acid reflux cured naturally www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NlzrB5pHCwAyurvedic treatment for acid reflux: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYUsx55L7Zc Acid reflux – Home treatment (Ayurveda): www.youtube.com/watch?v=toWNEQuvIi4
Precipitating causes of acid reflux – GUT, International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology: gut.bmj.com/content/36/4/505 Patterns of Gas and Acid Reflux – GUT, International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology : gut.bmj.com/content/44/1/47.abstract No link between acid reflux and shorter survival rates study funds www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103182902.htm Acid Reflux medicines do more harm than good: www.naturalnews.com/019756_heartburn_antacids.html
Further Information (links and books)
Gastrointestinal Health, Steven Perkin MD; Eating Right For A Bad Gut, James Scala The Acid Alkaline Food Guide – Dr Susan Brown and Larry Trivieri, Jr. The Acid Reflux Solution: A cookbook and lifestyle guide for healing heartburn naturally by Jorge Rodriguez Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You: Natural Relief From Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux And Gerd by Jonathan Wright and Lane Lenard Ayurvedic Licorice root, Yashi-madhu – www.himalayahealthcare.com (800) 869-4640 Probiotics Jarrowdophilus + FOS – www.jarrow.com (310) 204-6936 Digestive Enzymes, Dr.Fred Bisci – www.therawfoodworld.com (866) 729-3438
Judith Hoad, herbalist: email@example.com
Andrea Butje | Aromahead firstname.lastname@example.org – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt email@example.com – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA firstname.lastname@example.org – meditation, stress
judith hoad email@example.com – herbalist.
Kath May firstname.lastname@example.org – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges email@example.com – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika firstname.lastname@example.org – aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.
- Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. This fights bacteria, detoxifies and encourages healthy digestion. To prevent acid reflux and subsequent heartburn, take 1 tbsp. of raw apple cider vinegar before each meal.
- Digestive Enzymes www.throppsnutrition.com
- Acid Reducer, Acid Reflux www.herbsmd.com
- Probiotics Jarrowdophilius + FOS www.jarrow.com
- Viable Herbal Solutions, Botanical SafeGuard www.herbal-solutions.com
- Unrefined, Organic, Virgin Coconut Oil – take one teaspoon in the morning and one tablespoon in the late afternoon.
- Cinnamon and Ginger – cinnamon is another natural remedy for digestive problems. It works in part by reducing stomach acid, but it also has antibiotic and antifungal properties which facilitate digestion. Other folk traditions rely on ginger for acid reflux since it helps calm stomach acid and relax the muscles of the oesophagus. Try sipping a tea made with fresh ginger root and a pinch of cinnamon as a restful way to relieve symptoms. Alternatively enjoy an interesting Korean remedy made from cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger root, sugar and dried persimmons.
- Licorice – Licorice, or Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a legume and member of the Fabaceae, or pea family. It has been used for over 3,000 years to treat a variety of ailments. Currently, medical studies support the use of licorice for the treatment of inflamed intestinal tissues
- Chamomile Tea
- Aromatherapy oils
- Rebound Air – mini trampoline
- Clean well – Natural Cleaning Products
- EMF necklace – blocker and stress reducing pendant
- Dr Callaghan Techniques
- Water filter
- Candida plan
- Herbal and homeopathic remedies
- Neutralize electromagnetic chaos