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Acid Reflux

Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it.You may feel a burning in the chest or throat called heartburn. Sometimes, you can taste stomach fluid in the back of the mouth. This is acid indigestion. If you have these symptoms more than twice a week, you may have GERD. Anyone,including infants and children, can have GERD. If not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems.

Acid Reflux and Anxiety

GERD can cause an anxiety-like reaction and sometimes that is the only symptom. Sometimes symptoms occur at night with one waking feeling anxious and gasping for breath. These symptoms can be quite severe. It is also known that anxiety can trigger GERD directly by influencing the stomach or indirectly by encouraging poor eating habits.

Mechanisms of Action

GERD is the result of insufficient stomach acid. This sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. The stomach needs hydrochloric acid (HCL) to digest food properly. When the stomach becomes HCL deficient, food stays it the stomach too long and putrefies. This produces organic acids, which then cause heartburn and indigestion. Hiatal hernia may be a contributing factor, and when combined with acid reflux may increase tissue damage. Antacids can provide temporary relief by neutralizing stomach acids. However they aggravate the underlying problem because they decrease thestomach’s ability to digest food properly.When stomach acid is reduced the body can experience a gradual decline in health due to mal-absorption of nutrients.For example low stomach acid impairs the body’s ability to render calcium suitable for absorption. In one study acidblocker medications were linked to a 160% increase in osteoporosis-related hip fractures in the elderly. Other nutrientsmal-absorbed due to low stomach acid include: iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, folic acid, vitamins A, B1, B6, and E.Decreased stomach acid also weakens the anti-microbial action of the stomach which normally kills food borne bacteriaand fungi.

Aims of Treatment

  1. Improve lower esophageal sphincter function.
  2. Protect the esophagus from exposure to stomach contents and acid.
  3. Ensure adequate digestion and gastrointestinal motility.
  4. Ease inflammation and encourage tissue healing.
  5. Support the body’s response to stress.
  6. Detox, repair, and fortification.
  7. Restoration of gut integrity and health.

Acid Reflux – The Program (Part 1)

We address acid reflux with a step-by-step protocol. Start with steps 1 and 2 until you have relief, then step 3 until digestion is improved and you no longer need to use antacid medications. Next, step 4 for one to two months and finish with step 5 for improved GI health.

Step 1: Provide Right Now Relief

The following can be used singly or in combination:
Gastrex 1 2 with a full glass of water 10 to 15 minutes before meals (and before bed if taken alone)
HiPep2 2 with a full glass of water after meals and before bed (if taken alone).
Slippery Elm powder3 1 heaped tsp mixed in ½ cup of water, after meals and before bed. Slippery Elm provides a buffer between stomach contents and the esophagus. Slippery Elm also assists the movement of food through the GI tract.

Step 2: Lifestyle Changes

For lifestyle changes to reduce reflux and improve digestion, see Health Tip: “Acid Reflux The Program (part 2)”

Step 3: Improve Digestive Function

Zypan1 1 to 2 with meals; combines pancreatic, pepsin and betaine hydrochloride to facilitate digestion. Digest2 Suck 1 tab 15 minutes before meals until it tastes bitter then swallow. Herbs to help tone the esophageal sphincter and increase digestive secretions.

Step 4: Support the vital force with herbs

Withania Complex2 3 to 4/day: to help the body cope with the effects of stress, which may exacerbate reflux.
Gotu Kola2 3/day: to support tissue healing by promoting low flow, especially microcirculation.
Vitanox2 2/day: provides antioxidant support for long-term conditions associated with tissue damage.

Step 5: Grade the Results

As the symptoms of reflux reduce, improve overall digestive function by “detoxification, repair and fortification” and“restoration of gut integrity and health”.


Total Chiropractic Health Center | (603) 423-1022