While conventional treatments focus on reducing or eliminating stomach acid by drug therapy, the real problem typically lies in an irritation to the lower esophageal sphincter (at the top of the stomach, causing it to not close fully) which allows stomach acid to creep up into the esophagus – that’s the burning! This can cause damage to the tissues in the esophagus and over many months or years, and will increase the chance of esophageal cancer – bummer right?
Acid blockers do a great job at eliminating the pain of heartburn (better living through chemistry right?) but they are hugely problematic down the road. The downsides of long-standing acid blocker use are rarely discussed in the typical consult with your MD. These include bone density issues, failure to assimilate many minerals (contributing to many chronic health conditions), and digestive disturbances further down the gut, to name just a few.
Most people are actually dealing with a lack of stomach acid when then are suffering with heartburn. Maintaining acidity in the stomach is essential to maintain the health of this organ and a critical part of digestion and nutrient assimilation!
So…………….back to the lower esophageal sphincter…………why is that thing allowing the stomach acid to leak past it?
We need to look at: identifying irritating foods, stress patterns, liver and gallbladder function, and nutrient status – all in the spirit of restoring healthy digestion – without interfering with the essential aspect of maintaining a healthy, acidic environment in the stomach.
If you or someone you know is dealing with this issue, I encourage you to consider a more enlightened approach to getting your digestive health back on track!