But you can “cure” it yourself in many cases. Naturally. Without Drugs. I did.
First, let’s define “cure”. I define it as lack of symptoms without having to use drugs to mask symptoms; you might always have to follow the lifestyle listed in the related post ‘Natural Cures for Acid Reflux‘.
Why bother curing it? Why not just take a pill for the rest of your life? First of all, it just makes common sense. Your stomach is designed to be an acidic environment. It turns a big steak into meat soup before it hits the rest of your digestive system. Just what do you think happens if it’s not allowed to do its job? You’re not absorbing nutrients for one thing. And you’re depriving your immune system of one of its major weapons for another (stomach acid doesn’t just liquify your food, it kills germs!).
Also, indigestion and heartburn is your body speaking to you, shouting to you even. STOP THAT! By taking drugs that only mask the symptoms, you’re only turning down the volume so you can ignore it and continue to do your body damage. It’s like walking around on a sprained ankle while taking Vicoden. Just because it doesn’t hurt any more doesn’t mean you should be doing it!
Then there’s the side effects of the drugs used to stop the production of stomach acid, or to counteract it. Not just nuisance side-effects like diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids and kidney stones. I’m talking serious, systemic changes to your body like osteoporosis and even cancer. You simply can’t go messing around with one of your body’s main organs and expect there not to be consequences. The studies are just starting to appear but Dr. Jonathan Wright and others foretold of these risks years ago:
The Canadian Medical Association Journal published in August 2008 that PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors, generic name: omeprazole brand names: Prilosec) may reduce calcium absorption, thus causing early onset osteoporosis and bone fracture among patients, especially those taking PPIs for five to seven years or longer. A similar study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (December 2006), also found that long-term, high-dose consumption of PPIs contributed to hip fractures among patients.
Check out the other side effects of Prilosec. Take note of those followed by “some fatal” (here are some highlights):
- Pancreatitis (some fatal)
- Liver disease including hepatic failure (some fatal)
- liver necrosis (some fatal)
- Severe generalized skin reactions including toxic epidermal necrolysis (some fatal) [p.s. that means your skin falls off].
Even if your reaction isn’t something exotic like your skin falling off proton-pump inhibitors like Prilosec slows down the absorption of vitamin B12 which in turn causes a host of problems (heart disease, depression, fatigue, acceleration of the effects of other diseases which you may have like diabetes or arteriosclerosis).
And if you know someone who takes Prilosec OTC ask them how long they’ve been taking it. For some people it’s years. Not on and off for years. Daily. For Years. Even the Prilosec website states it’s designed to be a limited treatment (emphasis mine):
How long can I take Prilosec OTC?
Prilosec OTC is a 14-day regimen that is indicated for three courses per year. While it is safe to treat frequent heartburn regularly with Prilosec OTC, it is strong enough to mask more serious conditions. If you want to take more than the three indicated courses, first consult your doctor.
Even those over-the-counter remedies you might think are harmless are not! Tagamet (Zantac, Pepcid, or other H2 blockers) not only prevent your stomach from achieving its natural environment (not a small issue, read the books recommended below for more info), it interferes with your body’s ability to detoxify the toxins we ingest every day.
So acid isn’t the problem, it’s supposed to be in your stomach (in fact, your stomach might not be producing enough). Where it’s not supposed to be is in your esophagus. So the “cure” for acid reflux lies not in addressing the acid, but in the reflux. The root of the problem is the connection between your stomach and your esophagus, your LES (lower esophageal sphincter). If your LES isn’t doing its job acid escapes and that’s when problems arise.
As with many health problems it keeps coming back around to this…diet, exercise and common sense.
Suggested reading (get informed!):
- Why Stomach Acid is Good for You Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux and GERD by Jonathan Wright, M.D. and Lane Lenard, Ph.D. This is the definitive guide on why your stomach needs to do what nature designed it to do and why messing with it is a bad idea. Dr. Wright found many of his patients with acid reflux, especially those over 50, actually have too little stomach acid and should supplement with hydrochloric acid. How many acid reflux sufferers are taking drugs to suppress their stomach acid when they should be doing the opposite?!
- No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days–Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders by Sherry Rogers, M.D. A wealth of information on the dangers of the typical pharmaceuticaltreatments for Acid Reflux, and the natural ways to rid yourself of many GI issues like acid reflux, candida (is your acid reflux really a candida problem??), ulcers, and more. Great information for how to get to the root cause of what’s ailing you and how to come back to health naturally.
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