Just about everyone has experienced heartburn at least
once, but many people suffer from it on a
regular basis. In fact. the American Gastroenterological Association estimates that about 60 million Americans have a case of heartburn each month. Of course, heartburn really has nothing
to do with the heart. It's a form of acid indigestion in which
acid leaves the stomach and enters the esophagus causing
burning and pain.
When we eat, food passes down the esophagus and into
the stomach. There, the stomach secretes hydrochloric acid
and pepsin to break down proteins and begin the process
of digestion. The stomach has a mucous lining to help protect it against this acid. The esophagus does not. A muscular valve at the top of the stomach holds the stomach's
contents, including the stomach acid, in the stomach. This
valve opens to permit belching, then closes again.
Heartburn occurs when the valve at the top of the stomach allows acid to step back (reflux) into the esophagus.
This acid burns and inflames the esophageal lining which
does not have the same degree of mucous protection as the
stomach. This creates the burning sensation in the center of
the chest we call heartburn. The more technically accurate
term is acid reflux.
Although uncomfortable, occasional heartburn or acid reflux is not a serious condition. It is an indicator that dietary
changes are needed. However, if it happens frequently and
persistently, then the repeated burning and inflammation of
the esophagus can result in more serious damage. This more
serious condition is called gastro esophageal reflux disease
or GERD. GERD is surprisingly common, affecting an estimated 5-7% of the American population.
The problem with GERD is that it can cause an erosion of
the esophagus due to the continual acid damage. Scar tissue
can form which will narrow the passageway. It also increases
the risk of esophageal cancer.
Several things cause acid indigestion. Poor digestion, irritating foods and mechanical pressure all contribute to indigestion and acid reflux.
Stomach Comfort provides a combination of natural ingredients to help neutralize acid, soothing the stomach, improving digestion, and reducing acid reflux often triggered by high-fat meals, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and orange or tomato juice.
Tasty digestive stimulant Aids.
Digestion, prevents sour stomach.
Contains the enzyme papain that digests protein and acts on carbohydrates and fats as well.
Peppermint stimulates production of the body's own digestive juices.
First, let's look at the problem of poor digestion.
The more protein foods are cooked, the more their proteins are
denatured. Denatured proteins become "leathery" making
it more difficult for digestive juices to penetrate the tissues
and break down the particles. Greasy fried foods create
the same problem because water and oil do not mix. The greas coats the food particles, preventing penetration by
the hydrochloric acid.
When food is not thoroughly chewed, it is harder for
digestive juices to penetrate the food; so food needs to be
chewed thoroughly to help digestive secretions blend with
food particles. Overeating also causes acid indigestion, as
the stomach becomes overburdened with more food than
it can handle. Food winds up not being digested properly,
which causes the body to signal for more production of
acid. Watching food combinations may help with symptoms, too.
Certain foods may trigger acid indigestion because they
trigger a type of allergic response. Common foods that
cause excess acid production in some people include onions, peppermint, chocolate, coffee, citrus fruits, tomatoes,
garlic, sugar and spicy foods. While these foods may cause
acid indigestion, othrer factors cause the acid to reflux into
the esophagus. These are generally due to mechanical pressures. Anything that puts pressure on the valve at the top of
the stomach will allow acid to enter the esophagus, even if
acid production isn't excessive.
Anything that pushes the stomach upward can put pressure on this valve including intestinal gas and bloating, excess body weight, tight fitting clothes, pregnancy, and lying
down after eating. Stress also tenses the solar plexus area and
draws the stomach upward.
When a portion of the upper stomach passes through
the opening in the diaphragm where the esophagus enters
(known as the hiatus), this is called a hiatal hernia. A hiatal
hernia creates chronic digestive problems and eventually
chronic digestive weakness, pressure on the stomach from
below (as described previously) can cause a hiatal hernia,
but it can also be created by repeated stress and "swallowing" of emotions.
A hiatal hernia causes a "kink" in the valve at the top of
the stomach, creating chronic heartburn or GERD. It can
also put pressure on the heart, weaken the thyroid, and contribute to chronic gas and bloating in the intestines. This
is a mechanical problem that must be corrected mechanically" before any permanent relief can be found, herbs and
supplements alone will not correct this problem.
Since acid reflux usually begins with poor digestion
brought on by lack of digestive enzymes. food allergies. or processed foods that are difficult for the body to digest, taking enzymes to help foods break down better is the first step.
Believe it or not, acid reflux can actually be a sign that the
body is not producing enough hydrochloric acid to properly
digest proteins. The Undigested food ferments, producing
waste acids and fermentation. In these cases, the acid indigestion is usually accompanied by poor digestion of proteins, intestinal gas and bloating, and a heavy feeling in the
stomach after eating. The acid indigestion usually occurs
about an hour after eating, and the tongue is pale, often
with a heavy coating.
For immediate relief from this type of acid indigestion
take any bitter herb in liquid or powder form (golden seal
works well), place it on the tongue and suck on it. This will
relieve the burning very quickly. For long term relief start
using enzymes, digestive bitters and/or hydrochloric acid
When there really is too much acid production in the
stomach, the symptoms will be different from those described above. Protein digestion is good, and food digests
rapidly. The tongue is red and the person is usually younger.
This condition is usually due to overeating and stress. It may
also be due to eating too many grains and refined carbohydrates and not enough protein and vegetables. An antacid
like Stomach Comfort can be used for this kind of occasional acid indigestion.
If bloating and gas are problems, they may also be contributing to the acid reflux. Intestinal gas and bloating put
pressure on the stomach, pressing it upwards against the
diaphragm. Use carminatives to relieve gas pressure.
To heal damage to the esophagus and digestive tract due
to acid reflux, soothing mucilaginous remedies are needed.
One of the best is Aloe Vera Juice, but there are many others. By sipping small amounts of aloe diluted in water, the
burning or inflammation in the esophagus due to the acid
reflux can be cooled and soothed. Aloe will also help to normalize the pH of the body, reducing overacidity in general.
These suggestions, along with appropriate lifestyle change, can eliminate acid reflux and the need for antacids.
1. Our very existence is dependent upon the body's ability to utilize minerals because minerals activate enzymes! More about minerals
2. Digestive Enzymes: If food is not digesting properly, it creates waste that builds up downstream in the colon... an open door to toxicity & diseases! More Info
3. Probiotics: "Friendly gut bacteria play a crucial role in preventing diseases, from cancer to obesity". Dr. Robynne Chutkan M.D. More info