The process of digestion is dependent on the production of gastric acid in the stomach.
This is hydrochloric acid, the pH of which can reach 1.5 — acidic enough to dissolve bone.
This acid is responsible for the digestion of proteins, not directly, but because it plays a role in the activation of pepsin and trypsin, two enzymes that break down proteins into their amino acid components.
It’s the parietal cells of the stomach wall which produce gastric acid, while there are other cells responsible for reducing alkaline material which acts as a buffer to prevent the stomach contents becoming too acid.
Further protection from the damaging effects of the gastric acid is rendered by mucus producing cells, which line the stomach with a thick layer of mucus that forms a physical barrier to the acid.
When the acidic digestive material leaves the stomach, it is further neutralized by alkaline material produced in the early stages of the small intestine or duodenum.
Acid reflux is often regarded as problem that stems from excess acid within the stomach, but in actual fact this is rarely the case, because most stomach problems associated with hydrochloric acid have another explanation.
For example, an incipient ulcer is generally caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori, and acid regurgitation into the esophagus is generally caused by a weakness in the muscle barrier between the stomach and esophagus, a weakness which often takes the form of a hiatal hernia.
Gastric acid is produced in a sequential series of chemical reactions, involving the secretion of hydrogen ions and chloride irons from the cytoplasm of parietal cells. They mix in the canaliculi of the parietal cells, and the acid is then secreted into the oxyntic gland before being discharged into the stomach contents. Clearly the stomach acid must cross the gastric mucus, and it’s not entirely clear how this transition takes place.
As previously mentioned, weakness or malfunction of the valve between the stomach and oesophagus can lead to the regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus. There are four types of hiatal hernia, most common of which is a sliding hiatal hernia, in which the stomach may move through the gastric fundus in the diaphragm, so that part of it rests above the diaphragm, but is free to move backwards and forwards through the gastric fundus.
A Type II, or para-esophageal hiatal hernia, is characterised by the upward herniation of the gastric fundus, which becomes trapped above the diaphragm.
It’s important not to regard a hiatal hernia as an absolutely inevitable precursor to acid reflux, because about 60% of people over the age of 50 have a hiatal hernia, but only about one in 10 experience symptoms of acid reflux or other signs of herniation.
Even here, the degree of discomfort from acid reflux will be determined by the effectiveness of the lower oesophageal sphincter.
As has often been remarked, hiatal hernia can produce symptoms that resemble many other conditions: these include shortness of breath, pain in the chest, heart palpitations, and a sensation of blockage in the throat or esophagus.
Now, acid reflux disease, that is to say, the persistent regurgitation of acid into the esophagus, is known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD. Generally speaking, abnormal relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, together with some degree of ineffective expulsion of stomach contents into the duodenum, can be responsible for the damage to the oesophagus endothelium caused by stomach acid. Continual episodes of acid reflux can damage the esophagus, and cause injuries as varied as esophageal strictures, Barrett’s esophagus, and ulceration in the epithelium of the esophagus.
In general of course the discomfort is so intense that most people seek treatment before this damage occurs, although it should be said that some acid reflux appears to be asymptomatic, but may still be responsible for Barrett’s esophagus.
People often confuse the terms heartburn and acid reflux. Heartburn occurs when liquid contents of the stomach move back up into the esophagus. When this happens, you experience a burning sensation in your chest or throat. This is due to the acid found in these stomach contents. Acid reflux is when you have persistent heartburn which occurs two or more times every week.
Here’s a great video which explains how you might deal with acid reflux without long term use of medication. The naturopathic doctor presenting it doesn’t give a complete breakdown of a lifestyle program to deal with acid reflux, but it’s an interesting introduction to a different way of thinking. You need the complete guide to dealing with acid reflux and heartburn which you can find in Heartburn No More, and you can see it by clicking here – or watch the video first and then click here.
(Click here to find out how Maria Edwards, complementary therapist and ex-acid reflux sufferer from London, quickly, easily and permanently ended the pain, discomfort and sickness of acid reflux in days.)
Acid reflux is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and, over time, this condition can damage the lining of the esophagus. Ineed, if left untreated, your acid reflux increases your risk of esophageal cancer.
Acid reflux doesn’t always present itself as heartburn. Symptoms you may experience with this condition include dry coughing, breathing problems or wheezing. Chest pain is not uncommon, as are a bitter taste in the mouth and bad breath. If you have trouble sleeping, acid reflux may be the culprit. Some patients describe chest pain or coarseness in the throat. Bloating, nausea and weight loss with no cause are symptoms of this disorder along with bloody vomit, a feeling of food stuck in the throat and burping. If you have any of these symptoms, a doctor needs to be seen to determine if you have this condition before complications occur.
Acid reflux is the result of the lower esophageal sphincter not working properly. This valve is located at the entrance to your stomach and works to keep the contents of the stomach where they belong – in the digestive tract, below the diaphragm. When food enters the stomach, this valve closes. If it doesn’t close or only closes partially, acid from the contents of the stomach travel up the esophagus and symptoms appear.
Acid reflux is commonly caused by a hiatal hernia, although other causes have been identified, including excess weight and overeating.
If you eat too close to bedtime, symptoms may appear and the same is true if you go to bed immediately after eating. Smoking, pregnancy and certain beverages can also lead to symptoms.
A variety of acid reflux cures are available for you to try if symptoms do appear. If you have been diagnosed with acid reflux, lifestyle and dietary changes can help to ease symptoms. Wear loose fitting clothes and avoid tight belts. Kick your tobacco habit and eat small meals throughout the day to avoid overfilling the stomach. Raise the head of your bed four to six inches. Blocks help to raise the bed or you may purchase a wedge to accomplish the same goal. Avoid eating for two or three hours before lying down and lose weight as this will help to control the symptoms.
Medication may be needed to treat this condition. Over-the-counter medications for acid reflux include antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. If these medications do not work, your doctor may prescribe a stronger version. Antacids need to contain aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide for the best results. In some cases, more than one medication will be needed to control symptoms.
Many try acid reflux remedies at home with great success. If you wish to try a home remedy, start with apple cider vinegar. Add one teaspoon of this vinegar to four ounces of water. Sip this beverage while eating to help relieve symptoms. Ginger root has been used to soothe stomach ailments for quite some time now. This herb absorbs stomach acid. Take one capsule immediately after dinner each evening to control symptoms. Acid reflux treatment is available. Try one or more of these remedies to find one that works for you.
Treatment, whether by medication from the doctor, or acid reflux remedies from the natural environment, is essential to protect your health. Find out all about the best system available, and why it works so well, here.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), gastric reflux disease, or acid reflux disease is the name given to persistent stomach acid (and sometimes also duodenal gastric juice) regurgitation into the esophagus. This regurgitation, or acid reflux, causes damage to the mucosa of the esophagus (the damage being caused by hydrochloric acid from stomach).
Acid reflux is usually caused because the muscular valve between the stomach and the esophagus is not functioning correctly. This valve is known as the lower esophageal sphincter, which holds the top of the stomach closed. When it relaxes abnormally, whether because of a hiatal hernia, or because of reverse peristalsis (when stomach contents are expelled into the esophagus), the man or woman concerned is likely to feel a burning pain which we commonly call heartburn.
Over a period of time, acid reflux can cause changes in the mucosa of the esophagus, causing severe problems including, ultimately, cancer. Another kind of acid reflux i slaryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) or “extraesophageal reflux disease” (EERD). This tends not produce heartburn.
The most common signs acid reflux or GERD are heartburn, trouble swallowing, nausea, regurgitation and pain on swallowing.
As I mentioned above, damage to the esophagus may occur with persistent GERD, although it’s comparatively uncommon. The symptoms include ulcers around the junction of the stomach and esophagus, persistent narrowing (strictures) of the esophagus, or Barratt’s esophagus. This name refers to changes in the epithelial cells, changes which may be a precursor to esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Obviously since the regurgitation of stomach contents is acidic, in extreme cases it may cause laryngitis, asthma, erosion of dental enamel and a feeling of choking.
Unfortunately GERD occurs in children and adults alike, although it can be very difficult to detect in children as they have difficulty describing what they are feeling. The symptoms are basically the same as in adults, though, with the addition of repeated vomiting, coughing, and even effortless spitting up of clear mucus.
Children and infants with GERD may cry without cessation, alternately refuse food and indicate they want it, and pull off the bottle or breast. No single symptom is indicative of GERD in all children, and diagnosis tends to be made by observation of a combination of behaviors.
Diagnosis of acid reflux or GERD in adults tends to be done by monitoring the pH within the esophagus. This is a useful system in that it not only allows diagnosis of the condition, but it can be used to monitor the effects of treatment. The diagnosis is made by offering short-term treatment with proton pump inhibitors: monitoring the pH during treatment will reveal any fall in acidity which is indicative of a diagnosis of GERD or acid reflux.
Gastroendoscopy is usually recommended when someone does not respond to treatment or has other symptoms including anaemia, blood in the feces or weight loss. To avoid the danger of missing Barratt’s esophagus, it may be recommended that men and women with persistent long-standing problems in this area have a regular endoscopy so as to eliminate the possibility of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Biopsies can be conducted during an endoscopy and they may reveal many things: the most common being inflammation of a specific type indicative of basal hyperplasia, lymphocytic, neutrophilic or eosinophilic inflammation (due to reflux, Helicobacter gastritis or other problems). Eosinophilic inflammation is often due to reflux.
Under normal conditions, the angle at which the esophagus and stomach effectively creates a muscular valve which prevents all stomach and duodenal contents from regurgitation into the esophagus. However when somebody develops a hiatal hernia, and/or some other physical conditions, the likelihood of regurgitation is increased when lying down or when lifting heavy weights. These problems can be accentuated by obesity, possibly due to increased abdominal pressure.
Naturally, any syndrome which increases acidity in the stomach can accentuate the possibility of acid regurgitation; scleroderma and systemic sclerosis may both lead to oesophageal malfunctioning, where peristalsis does not necessarily propel food and drink from the esophagus into the stomach correctly. It also been discovered that certain medications tend to interfere with peristalsis and so contribute to GERD, one example being Prednisolone.
As always in medical issues, there are a number of peripheral factors that may or may not be causative factors in acid problems, but seem to have an association with it. These include obstructive sleep apnoea and gallstones.
There are many things you can do to reduce acid reflux and heartburn. These include sleeping on the left side of the body with your head raised, perhaps by as much as 30 degrees, or even sleeping while sitting up. Eating smaller meals, more often, can reduce excess acid in the stomach, and as you may expect, not eating in the period two or three hours before bedtime can reduce symptoms since the acidity of the stomach will be reduced by the time you retire.
Other factors that have been implicated in lessening the impact of GERD on one’s lifestyle include losing weight, avoiding acidic foods and those which are spicy or rich, cutting out acidic things like fruit juice and irritating substances including alcohol, caffeine, onions and so on.
Remedies for GERD really fall into three categories: lifestyle modifications, surgery and medication.
Lifestyle modifications include not drinking alcohol, getting more exercise, reducing weight, and changing your sleeping habits. It’s also important to ensure that you eat the right foods, because this forms the basis of most home remedies for acid reflux.
It’s important to know that many antacids reduce acidity but actually can increase stomach activity, which means you may not get as much benefit from them as you expect. By contrast, giving up smoking definitely increases the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter to hold stomach contents in place, and it’s also been demonstrated, as suggested above, that you sleep on your left side, with the head of the bed raised. This will particularly reduce acid reflux at night time.
There are various therapeutic bed pillows or wedges available, which are much cheaper alternatives to bed and mattresses with an elevation feature. You should aim to raise the head of mattress by 6 to 8 inches or more: it has been claimed that the higher the mattress, the greater the success rate. This can often not be done effectively with a spring mattress, so if you’re contemplating this particular lifestyle change it’s worth investing in a foam mattress which can cope with flexing.
Medications are available to treat GERD and acid reflux.
They include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), the most well-known of which include omeprazole and esomeprazole. These drugs are effective in suppressing acid production; their precursors were hydrogen receptor blockers, such as ranitidine and cimetidine, known as Zantac and Tagamet. These don’t work for everybody, but they are effective for about 50% of men and women. Nonprescription medications include alginic acid, whic is also known as Gaviscon. This coats the lining of the esophagus with protective substance and increases pH, i.e. makes the lining of the esophagus and stomach less acidic.
Sucralfate – also known as carafate - can help to heal and prevent esophageal damage. There are various other medications available including Baclofen, which is a skeletal muscle relaxant that can also prevent the lower esophageal sphincter relaxing too much.
It’s difficult to clearly answer the question of which treatment for acid reflux is most effective, because many of the studies on medications are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. In general, however, a graduated approach starting with antacids and ending with the most powerful proton pump inhibitors tends to be successful.
Surgery can also be used in extreme cases. The most common procedure is the Nissen fundoplication. This is a procedure which involves wrapping part of the upper part of the stomach around the esophagus to make a stronger sphincter and repair any hiatal hernia which may be present. This surgical approach may improve quality of life for men and women with gastro-esophageal reflux disease more effectively than medication.
Acid reflux and GERD occurs in between 10 and 20% of the population in the Western world so it’s an important problem. Unfortunately it’s also most common in the age group between 60 and 70, so with men and women living longer, the number of cases is only going to increase in the future.
Welcome to this website – where you’ll find the very best information about acid reflux remedies – the ones that work! Just think about the possibility of permanently curing your acid reflux!
Well, there are many thousands of men and women who have done exactly that… and, if you’re looking for natural remedies to cure heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD, a natural remedy could be something as simple as eating fruit or honey once a day. What a dramatic contrast to the idea that you have to take antacids or antibiotics – taken for long enough, they will of course become ineffective.
Possibly 1 in 4 people are not satisfied with the antacids they are taking. Does that include you?
Acid reflux can be challenging – it’s certainly painful, and possibly embarrassing. If it gets severe, then you might not want to go out, and yet acid reflux disease does not have to cause these problems. With the right foods and natural remedies, your body will quickly cure itself. To start you off, here are some simple and quick ways to begin your alternative treatment for GERD, acid reflux, or heartburn.
Because acid reflux or GERD is often caused by a weak sphincter at the top of the stomach, you can best start by repairing this. It should keep stomach acid where it belongs – in the stomach, but if you have heartburn, the sphincter may be damaged or weakened in some way. The first thing is to ensure your main drink is – yes, you guessed it – water. Avoid coffee, carbonated soda drinks, acidic drinks, and alcohol: acid or alcohol irritates the damaged sphincter. And a glass of water after every meal is both soothing and cleansing.
As for what you eat, well, an apple may sound like a simple cure, and perhaps it is, but if you feel an attack of acid reflux coming on, try eating half an apple (or more); you may be surprised how much difference it makes. You can read more about acid reflux diets on this blog.
Are you ready to stop your heartburn? The simple steps yu can use to change things are outlined below: these will heal your sphincter and esophagus. The sooner you start, the sooner you can stop taking those horrible antacids and other drugs – and cure your acid reflux once and for all!
A Remedy for Reflux
1. Drink at least 2 litres of water each and every day including a glass of water after each meal or snack you consume.
2. Stop smoking right now.
3. Stop drinking alcohol and acid drinks and even carbonated drinks; any kind of acid will continue to damage your sphincter.
4. Take a drink of apple cider vinegar each and every day morning. This will help balance your stomach and assist the digestion of food, which in turn will lessen your attacks.
5. Comsume lots of fruits and vegetables. These are naturally good foods that make the esophagus and sphincter heal faster.
6. Take soothing aloe vera juice (get it from your health food store).
7. Have a teaspoon of honey each night before you go to bed.
8. Eat a red apple or slice of apple if you feel an attack of acid reflux approaching.
9. Eatfoods that have a soft consistency – avoid any hard and crunchy foods. 10. Discover the facts about remedies you can use at home.
Why Not Try a Heartburn Relief Home Remedy? What do you have to lose?
Before you try an acid reflux remedy you may be a little worried if a “home remedy”, i.e., one that is non-medical, will really work. But, if you’ve tried antacids or doctor precribed medication and you weren’t satisfied with the outcomes, perhaps this is the right moment to try an acid reflux natural remedy.
Since there is so much disillusionment with the medical profession at the moment, it’s hardly surprising natural remedies are the fastest growing treatment around – but the real point is that such a remedy may well outperform your antacids if you give it a chance.
Antacids are certainly very useful if you experience acid reflux once every couple of weeks. But that is rather unusual – for most people with this problem, it happens every day. My mom suffered from it almost hourly. Fortunately, she found a natural remedy that worked very well indeed – and I’m going to pass on all the details of this remedy to you so you don’t suffer in the same way.
I think what I understood when she cured herself of acid reflux was that her body, your body, all bodies, are created to effectively heal themselves when you do the right things: in the case of acid reflux, this involves a change to your diet and a few lifestyle changes. If necessary, there are also some powerful remedies which can start to heal any damage to the lower esophageal sphincter.
In many cases, heartburn – or acid reflux – is caused by a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter. This is right above the stomach, and should keep food and stomach acid in the stomach. However, with enough use and abuse (which we will discuss shortly), damage can develop….and then you have an inefficient valve, with the possibility of acid reflux. So what do you need to do?
1. Start by allowing the esophageal sphincter a chance to recover and heal. This is possible if you drink lots of neutral fluids – water, mostly – and consume only soft foods for several days. You should avoid any hard, crisp or crunchy foodstuffs, which can produce tiny tears in the tissue and promote more attacks. And, as you can imagine, cigarettes, carbonated drinks, acid foods and drinks, alcohol, and any type of spicy food is forbidden! Remember – this is only for a few days to allow damaged tissue to heal.
2. Continue to drink plenty of water, especially after a meal or snack. This will wash any particles of food right down into the stomach, and prevent them getting stuck in the lower esophageal sphincter.
3. Try acid reflux remedies! A good one is honey – though thousands of years old, honey is a great remedy for heartburn. If it’s natural honey, its properties include tissue healing. Take 3 teaspoons of honey a day, at least, and see how good it is for your sphincter. Take one just before bedtime and let the healing properties of honey work while you sleep!
Medical remedies for acid reflux disease include prescription medications which limit the production of acid in the stomach. In general these are extremely effective acid reflux remedies, and come highly recommended since they tend to be side-effect free. Unfortunately, if you happen to be one of the individuals who are sensitive to these drug based remedies, you then have to resort to more natural remedies, such as the ones listed in the previous post.
Proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole are drugs whose main action is a marked and long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production. They are the most potent inhibitors of acid secretion available today. Proton pump inhibitors are among the most widley bought drugs in the world and are generally thought to be very effective acid reflux remedies.
This group of medication has largely superseded pharmaceuticals with similar effects, but different way of working, called H2-receptor antagonists.
The H2 receptor antagonists are another set of remedies for acid reflux and take the form of drugs used to block the action of histamine on parietal cells in the wall of the stomach, thereby decreasing the production of acid by these cells. H2 antagonists are used in the treatment of indigestions, ulcers and dyspepsia, although they have been surpassed in popularity by the more effective proton pump inhibitors.
In the United States, all four FDA-approved drugs — cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine, and nizatidine — are sold over the counter in low doses.
The first H2 antagonist remedy for acid production was cimetidine, developed in the mid-to-late 1960s and first marketed in 1976; sold under the trade name Tagamet, cimetidine would later become the first ever blockbuster drug. The use of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR) led to the development of other remedies for acid reflux, such as ranitidine, first sold as Zantac. This remedy has fewer adverse side-effects and fewer drug interactions and is more potent.
Acid reflux remedies can offer relief from the burning pain of acid reflux disease. There are both natural home remedies for acid reflux, and acid reflux drugs prescribed by the doctor. Many people with acid reflux disease prefer not to take strong prescription drugs, but to rely on their own remedies for acid reflux instead.
Let’s begin by looking at what acid reflux actually is. Despite its name, acid reflux disease, aka gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, isn’t a disease that is infectious: it’s actually caused by acid regurgitation from the stomach, also known as acid reflux. Now, acid reflux is one of the most uncomfortable minor ailments there is. The acid contents of the stomach can severely inflame the lining of the esophagus if they pass backwards towards the mouth instead of flowing onwards into the small intestine.
You may wonder why acid reflux takes place – as already said, it’s not a disease, it’s actually caused by weakness in the valve between the esophagus and stomach. Under normal conditions, this valve, the lower esophageal sphincter, will only open to allow food to pass into the stomach; however, if either it all the muscles of the diaphragm, through which it passes, become weakened, then acid reflux may take place.
The principle symptoms of acid reflux disease & the primary acid reflux remedies are as follows:
1 Heartburn or indigestion – which we all know, because it’s one of the most common complaints of mankind. It can range from mild discomfort to intense burning inside the chest, and is on occasions mistaken for heart disease (incidentally, the same is true in reverse, which means any severe and/or prolonged case of heartburn should be checked by a doctor). Heartburn is relatively easily treated with over the counter acid reflux remedies (such as antacids) and other natural remedies for acid reflux such as cider vinegar.
2 Regurgitation of food from the stomach up into the esophagus and perhaps even into the mouth. This is also a symptom of acid reflux; it’s a rather unpleasant experience which almost everybody has experienced from time to time. Clearly, when it happens frequently, perhaps even multiple times a day, it’s time to find an effective remedy.
3 When acid constantly refluxes from the stomach up into the esophagus, simple acid reflux remedies may not be adequate; the most obvious sign of this situation is rather severe pain in the chest, esophagus or stomach.
4 Occasionally men and women with gastro-esophageal reflux disease will experience difficulty in swallowing either liquid or food.
5 When the regurgitation of stomach contents becomes habitual, and acid reflux remedies prove ineffectual, the prolonged impact of stomach acid on the tissues of the larynx may be so severe that damage is caused which manifests as a sore throat or hoarseness of the voice.
6 It’s also possible that lung damage may develop if the stomach acid is refluxed into the lungs, and damage may occur to the teeth if vomiting or reflux into the mouth is a frequent event.
By now you have gathered that some cases of gastro-esophageal reflux disease are rather more serious than others, and that may make you wonder whether or not acid reflux remedies can actually work. The truth is that natural home remedies for acid reflux can be effective, but in the more serious cases medical assistance is clearly advisable, if not actually necessary. So when we talk about natural acid reflux remedies, we’re talking about simple but probably effective remedies based on a body of historical knowledge built by natural home remedy practitioners.
The simplest of these is to dilute the liquid in the stomach by increasing the quantity of water you take daily. This is probably one of the least effective acid reflux remedies.
Other compounds that have been mentioned in the context of natural home remedies for GERD include ginger, chamomile, fennel and almonds.
There is actually some scientific evidence that compounds found in apples serve as a very effective way of controlling the stomach acidity, making apples one of the most effective acid reflux remedies.
Baking soda dissolved in water is another powerful antacid that serves as a remedy for less serious cases of acid reflux. Other compounds which reputedly serve as acid reflux remedies include apple cider vinegar, milk, and various herbal preparations. You can find more information on all of these things on the links provided on this page.
I should point out at this stage that acid reflux remedies don’t work in isolation. You have to take some responsibility for curing acid reflux through lifestyle changes, some of which may be difficult to take: for example, we’re very addicted in our society to tobacco and alcohol, but it’s well-known that both of these compounds seriously enhance gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
Equally, it is known that obesity is a precipitating factor for acid reflux disease, and losing weight seems to be one of the most effective remedies for acid reflux that there is. It goes without saying that to make any acid reflux remedies work, you have to limit your intake of acidic foods, spicy foods, in some cases oily foods, and pungent foods like chilli – all of which can exacerpate the symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Other factors that seem to be helpful include wearing loose clothing, so the contents of the stomach are not forced upwards; eating several small meals a day instead of two or three large ones; and sleeping with the head of the bed raised so that the stomach contents naturally tend to settle rather than refluxing up into the esophagus.