Acid Reflux is a common and very unpleasant symptom. There are many things that can help with Acid Reflux but, not too many "solutions" address the underlying cause.
Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes Acid Reflux as a clear pattern involving both the "Spleen & Liver Organ Systems" or the "Earth and Wood Elements".
Other symptoms related to this pattern include irritability, neck/shoulder tension worse with stress, temporal headaches, floaters in the field of vision, tics/tremors, muscle spasms, and PMS.
The health of your gut is paramount! 80% of our immunity results from processes in the gut and 90% of Seretonin, our "feel-good" neurotransmitter is made in the gut
There are a few reasons why you could be suffering Acid Reflux: There could be a weakness in the valve that connects the stomach to the esophagus; There could be a weakness of the diaphragm which causes this valve to loosen. In this case, the stomach can protrude through the valve, called a Hiatal Hernia...
For many people, the cause of Acid Reflux is too little stomach acid.
When there is too little acid in the stomach, the pH level is not appropriate to trigger the valve (which connects the stomach and esophagus) to close. This results in the stomach acid getting into the esophagus and causing the burning sensation.
Over the counter Tums, Rolaids, Maalox are mineral supplements (Calcium, Magnesium, and/or Aluminum) which, neutralize the stomach acid. These are helpful in 2 conditions: When you know the cause of the heartburn (you just had a big meal, etc.) and when you get heartburn infrequently
The problem with the above "antacids" is that they do not treat the underlying cause. Side effects are also possible: aluminum salts can cause constipation, ostepenia, osteoperosis, & possibly alzeimers; calcium salts can cause constipation & kidney stones; magnesium can cause diarrhea
Proton-Pump Inhibitors and H2 Blockers are prescription drugs (Prilosec, Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid AC) used to treat Acid Reflux. These medications suppress gastric acid secretion. If the cause of your Acid Reflux is too little stomach acid though, these won't help, and they can actually cause harm and worsen the condition over time.Also, nutritional deficiencies can arise because when you don't have enough stomach acid, you are not properly assimilating the nutrients from you diet.
"SO, WHAT CAN I DO?"
LIFESTYLE CHANGES are necessary:
Eat smaller meals (so there is less pressure on the valve)
Do not eat 3-4 hours before bedtime
Raise the head of your bed a bit (using small blocks)
INCLUDE unprocessed, whole foods (preferably organic), probiotics & fermented foods, Keltic Sea Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt (salt provides minerals that neutralize the acid)
Allison's #1 Recomendation
Before a meal, drink 1-2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar, diluted in water.
If this drink causes pain or burning, it's an indicator that the lining of the digestive track has already been compromised and must be repaired before further action. There are ways to do this, cabbage juice and probiotics are a couple examples.