Natural ways to combat acid reflux

Sunday 2nd Sept 2012

  • A busy life can be a forerunner to long term health problems
  • The risks of acid reflux medication revealed
  • Discover the real power of cabbage

On Friday I told you all about the aches and pains I suffered as a result of a busy Bank Holiday weekend.

Several of you mailed to tell me how your own experiences of gardening, grandchildren and DIY had left their marks on you.

Really we should view a weekend as a time to relax, but in our modern life we tend to cram our time full of other activities that we don’t do in the week.

Things like fixing the guttering, repainting the shed and double digging the vegetable patch seem to be our priorities rather than a few hours ambling around the fields.

We are all so busy and this hectic lifestyle really can’t be doing us any good.

A friend of mine works in a local A&E hospital as a nurse and he said that they were seeing a huge increase in stomach problems which his surgeon puts down to a combination of poor diet and stressful lives.

I discovered that a study in 2011 reached similar conclusions.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and Kings College London.

They found that the number of people experiencing at least one acid reflux attack a week had risen from 11.6% to 17.1% in just over a decade, while those suffering severe symptoms are up from 5.4% to 6.7%.

The research team concluded that the rise in incidence of acid reflux (indigestion, heartburn and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) was due to fatty diets and stress.

If this is something that afflicts you, the following bit of information might be of interest to you.

Damaging PPI’s that have nothing to do with finance!

Conventional medication for these reflux problems usually comes by way of stopping the stomach from producing acid.

The class of drugs given for this are classed as proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) with trade names like Losec or another class called H2 blockers, and you may come across these as Zantac or similar.

The logic is that if less acid is produced then it won’t be forced back up the gullet and cause damage to the delicate tissues of the oesophagus.

However, long term usage of both PPI’s and H2 blockers could actually be doing more harm than good.

For instance, the NHS Choices website lists the following as likely side effects for more than 1 in 100 users of PPI’s: Nausea, headaches, stomach pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea and flatulence.

But more worrying is the fact that a lot of information is being published showing far greater problems.

A 2009 paper1 published in a gastroenterology journal states that,

“Emerging data illustrate the potential risks associated with both short-and long-term PPI therapy, including Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhoea, community-acquired pneumonia, osteoporotic fracture, vitamin B12 deficiency, and inhibition of anti-platelet therapy.”

And goes on to advise health care professionals,

“Due to these associations, it is recommended that clinicians assess the continuing need for PPI therapy and use the lowest possible dose to achieve the desired therapeutic goals.”

Now none of this sounds like good news to me, and whilst I’m not one to overreact, the more I discover about the usage of PPI’s and H2 blockers the more I worry.

Considering the fact that many of these risks identified are major problems for us as we age, shouldn’t our GPs be a little more careful about long term use of these drugs?

Of course, there are ways we can modify our lives and diets to avoid developing reflux problems which I will cover in a moment, however for those who do suffer from the debilitating conditions I feel more should be being done.

Simple therapies which don’t place risk on the user shouldn’t be hard to find.

At the very least, if you have been taking a PPI drug for a prolonged period it might be worth asking the question of your physician.

Natural ways to combat reflux

Modifying your diet can have a big influence on the incidence of acid reflux, and the obvious foods to avoid are those which cause a build up of acid such as fatty foods, citrus fruits and caffeinated drinks.

Interestingly though, one of the common ways to reduce acid build up is to sip either diluted lemon juice or diluted apple cider vinegar with food.

This seems completely counter intuitive, however the way it works is to acidify the food as it enters the stomach and therefore prevent the gut from producing even more acid.

Try mixing 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar or pure lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of honey in 8floz (200ml) of filtered water and sip alongside your food.

Good foods to eat include cabbage which has long been known to help gastric problems.

There is a super cabbage though, which can be found in health food stores called Coallis Lombarda.

It is a small, red cabbage that's been used in natural healing for ages, stretching back to the times of the the Maya Quiché civilization.

And it seems it still has a use today...

You see, this cabbage contains a very rare and super-powerful vitamin - Vitamin U - that is one of nature's strongest weapons against gastric and intestinal disorders.

Dr. Garnett Cheney, professor of medicine at Stanford Medical School, published a report about the use of Vitamin U in the treatment of gastric ulcer.

The results are astonishing...

Of 65 cases reported, 62 were cured at the end of three weeks.

So naturally, when it comes to ways to treat reflux, Vitamin U tops the list protecting the gastro-esophageal system and relieving painful heartburn like nothing else (well nothing else I can find).

And of course, being a natural substance, Vitamin U helps your body in other ways...

It's a great local anaesthetic so it reduces pain naturally, it reduces spasms and it strengthens capillaries.

Yours, as always

1Heidelbaugh et al. (2009) Adverse Risks Associated With Proton Pump Inhibitors. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2009 October; 5(10): 725–734.








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