I want to dispel a couple of myths regarding reflux. First, reflux is not caused by an increase in your stomach’s own hydrochloric acid. Second myth, is that even though acid suppressing medications fix the problem. Although medications alleviate the symptoms of reflux, in the long run, they make the problem worse.
We have a natural acid in our stomach called hydrochloric acid. We love hydrochloric acid, (HCL) because it digests our food. When we have gut inflammation our hydrochloric acid diminishes considerably. When we have low HCL, we can’t digest our food.
When the food that we eat can’t digest it putrefies and creates organic acids of fermentation. These organic acids are the bad acids which cause all the pain of reflux. When you’re in pain, your doctor puts you on an acid suppressing medication, which helps your symptoms, but it suppresses your good acid as well. This means your symptoms are handled but your digestion gets even worse. Both upper and lower digestion decrease further.
The solution for this problem is to decrease the bad acid and increase the good hydrochloric acid. In other words, improving digestion and decreasing inflammation solves the problem. This is why the acid blocking medications never solve the problem.
This is all entirely fixable.
To start you must make all necessary dietary changes. For example, if you’re drinking three cups of coffee a day, you’re going to have to cut back. Your diet must include, fresh fruits and vegetable, healthy fiber, and you need to cut back on processed food and sugar.
Next, to get your digestion moving, start taking digestive enzymes. Then, take probiotics to help support your good bugs. Anytime you have decreased hydrochloric acid, you typically have some inflammatory issues in the gut and that means that the good bacteria is low. Once the inflammation is resolved, the good hydrochloric acid will increase and problem solved. Some people may need to take enzymes for a longer period than others.
When we don’t have hydrochloric acid, (especially after taking acid suppressive medications) we are not protected against bad bacteria and parasites, which opens the door to gut infections. To treat this, you may need to take something that’s going to handle some of these bad bugs and any gut infection. You will also need to soothe and heal the gut lining as well.
When you go into stress mode, you suppress your hydrochloric acid, this translates into poor digestion. In order to support digestion, you need to eat in a relaxed state. Take some calming breaths before each meal and be present while you eat. I other words, get out of your head.
Alright, so that’s my take on reflux and why the medical treatment of getting medication to suppress your acids is just treating the symptom. You want to treat the problem and heal, not sacrifice your digestion further.
Dr. Jamie Gutheil D.C.