Acid reflux, often referred to as heartburn and known in the medical establishment as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a plague on our health in modern times that many people accept as a painful part of life.
It’s true that reflux is incredibly common. 1 in 2 – half – of Americans suffer from GERD and it increases in likelihood as we age.
But just because it’s common does not mean we have to live with it.
Today I want to share a case study of what one fellow reflux sufferer experienced, why his story is indicative of so many other people’s experiences with over the counter reflux drugs, and what changed for him.
Here’s what Mark B. who left a product review on our website, said in his own words…
“I call this regimen a miracle for a few reasons... let me explain, I’ve had acid reflux for as long as I can remember. In high school I suffered from it, in college I had it and now I’m 40 and for the past 20 plus years I’ve had some form of antacid in my pocket anywhere I went. I would take a Zantac daily as a form of survival.
“I finally saw a gastroenterologist to make sure I didn’t have an ulcer or something. I had my endoscopy and it showed nothing other than an enlarged opening of my stomach sphincter. The advice was you must have a surgery to fix this lifelong issue or I would never get better.
“A better diet was suggested to help it and tried a few meds that I could only use for 2 weeks otherwise could be harmful. Of course nothing changed from a new diet only and back on Zantac I went.
“Randomly I was at a dinner few months later and noticed my friend take a pill before eating so I asked what it was and why. He told me he uses an enzyme before every meal and follows Dr. Gioffre’s regimen of greens / enzymes/ probiotics and minerals daily for the past 2 years. He also had suffered as I had and said with his guidance and protocols he was cured!
“Granted I was skeptical but at this point I would try anything to avoid surgery or continue taking these harmful antacids...
“I called Dr. Gioffre. Explained my situation. He put me on the customized regimen that fit my situation and I’ve been following it now for 5 weeks.
“I started feeling better and for the past 4 and a half weeks I have had ZERO symptoms of reflux/heartburn/burping/burning discomfort. I have not taken a single antacid because I have not needed one. It’s a miracle to me because never have I ever felt this good before or after eating ever!
“I’m symptom free and finally feel like I always wished I felt without taking a pharmaceutical to get me there! So yes it’s a miracle to me that I randomly saw my friend taking an enzyme to put me on this path to health! I recommend anyone who’s feeling this way to get started right now! You’re welcome!”
I want to thank Mark B. for sharing his struggle and what worked for him after years of pain and frustration. I also want to acknowledge him, because he put the work in, and in doing so, the results followed.
And if you suffer from the same problem, keep reading to find out why his story is not unique.
Here’s Why Drugs Didn’t Work for Him – And So Many Other People
The standard treatment for acid reflux is a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prevacid, Zantac, and Prilosec. And by common, I mean REALLY COMMON. Mark B. mentioned Zantac, and he is not alone.
Hundreds of millions of Americans take PPI’s each year and this class of drugs is a multi-billion dollar industry. Yes, that’s billion with a B!
However, PPI’s not only don't work, they make the problem even worse! They are very good at treating the symptom, as Mark B. experienced, but as soon as patients go a day or even a meal without them, their symptoms are that much worse.
Here’s why… Most of us think that reflux is caused by TOO MUCH acid in your stomach. It’s easy to assume that’s the case because acid creeps up the esophagus. You can literally feel it.
On the contrary, reflux is actually caused by TOO LITTLE acid in the stomach. Reflux occurs when a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes instead of staying firmly closed.
When acid levels are too low, the LES will not close. This allows acid to flow back up into the esophagus. This phenomenon is known as a hiatal hernia, and that’s what Mark B. was referring to when a doctor suggested surgery.
So drugs like Zantac inhibit acid production in the stomach, and make you feel better temporarily in the process. But what that means for the long-term is less acid in the stomach means more acid creeping up into the esophagus.
Now you might be thinking… Dr. D, you always say acid is bad, so why are you saying more acid in the stomach is a good thing?
Fair question. And yes, acid is bad. It’s burn a hole through a jet engine bad! Likewise, foods that are naturally acid-forming in your body like those in the SAD Standard American Diet are bad.
However, throughout your body, there are some acidic substances that are good and supposed to be that way. Stomach acid is one of those. And with less stomach acid to break down your food and kill off the bad bacteria in your digestive tract, plus a malfunctioning LES valve, you’re on an endless cycle of needing PPI’s to digest your food, just like Mark B. was.
Long story short: you’re only treating the symptoms. Meanwhile, you’re setting up a viscous cycle of imbalance in your stomach and the root cause is only getting worse.
Not only that, but you’re also setting yourself up for these potential side effects of PPI’s:
- Increased risk of bone fractures
- Increased risk of serious infections like pneumonia
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as iron and vitamin B2
- Addiction and rebound symptoms
All of that said, it’s important that you don’t stop taking PPI drugs cold turkey. If you did, you would experience severe withdrawal symptoms as soon as your stomach began generating more acid. Talk to your doctor about a gradual withdrawal in coordination with the tips below.
Here’s What Actually Works
I’ll give you a short rundown of the same regimen that I gave Mark B. and countless other reflux sufferers that finally ended their struggle with GERD for good.
- Eliminate high-acid food triggers – Caffeine and alcohol are two of the biggest sources of reflux symptoms, and not so coincidentally, they are also highly acidic. Because caffeine is as addictive as recreational drugs, cut back on it slowly to allow your body to ease off without the side effects.
Eating lots of processed foods and sugars also exacerbates reflux symptoms because it throws off the bacterial balance in your stomach and intestine. Phase out these acid-forming foods from your diet in favor of lots of greens and vegetables.
- Increase your body’s natural production of stomach acid – Since reflux is usually a problem of too little stomach acid, you want to encourage your body to make sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid).
You can easily increase the acid content of your stomach by drinking one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water.
A good, healthy alkaline sea salt will provide your body with the chloride it needs to produce hydrochloric acid, in addition to the beneficial minerals. I recommend you use one of my 3 favorites: Himalayan, Celtic Grey, or Redmond Real Salt.
Most importantly, take a good alkaline mineral supplement in a powder form like Alkamind Daily Minerals. Minerals will increase the pH of your stomach, and because your stomach functions optimally within a pH of 1.5 to 3, it will reactively increase its production of HCL to lower its pH and make the stomach more acidic. (This, by the way, is the same chain reaction the blood goes through when there’s an overload of acid and it will do anything, including rob bones, saliva, and urine to stay at a pH of 7.4.)
So in essence, Daily Minerals will:
- Increase you stomach acid production
- Help kill off any bad bacteria
- Improve the function of the valve between your stomach and the esophagus
- Produce a byproduct when combined with stomach acid of sodium bicarbonate (aka. baking soda) that will go into your tissues and blood and make you more ALKALINE!
- Supplement with probiotics – Because reflux stems in part from an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, add in a good probiotic supplement. Always buy the refrigerated brands – they are higher quality and refrigeration keeps the optimal number of bacteria alive so they can get into your stomach and fight the bad bacteria.
- Increase your vitamin D levels – Most likely, part of your history of reflux stems from an infectious component. For this reason, it’s essential you increase your vitamin D intake in order to produce antimicrobial peptides that will help your body eradicate infections you might not even know about. Get plenty of sunshine, and you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement, but remember to also increase your vitamin K2 intake so your body can properly put it to use.
- Make sure you get B vitamins – Folate, also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid and other B vitamins have been shown in clinical studies to prevent acid reflux, just as deficiency of vitamins B2 and B6 are linked to an increased risk for acid reflux. Make sure to eat B9 rich foods like asparagus, spinach, okra, and beans.
All of those remedies will help prevent acid reflux, but when you’re in the midst of an attack of reflux, it’s hard to resist taking a simple pill to stop the symptoms. However, remember that the symptoms are all you’re stopping – the acid reflux is going to continue to wreak havoc on you in the future. It will only get worse.
So I’ve got a few great alternatives to help you when reflux strikes:
- Aloe vera juice – The aloe plant naturally helps reduce inflammation, so many people find it helps with the symptoms of acid reflux. Drink a half cup of aloe vera juice before meals.
- Ginger – Ginger has been found to have a gastro-protective effect by blocking acid, preventing the formation of stomach ulcers, and suppressing the bad bacteria in the stomach. Grate fresh ginger root into your food or hot water.
- Chamomile tea – If you find reflux strikes as soon as you lie down in bed, drink a cup of chamomile tea, which can help soothe stomach inflammation.
- Sodium bicarbonate – As I mentioned earlier, take a good mineral supplement that has sodium bicarbonate in it. It not only solves the underlying CAUSE of reflux but when reflux is happening, it’s a powerful treatment to calm the burning pain associated with reflux, because it neutralizes stomach acid. So if you’re in a lot of pain from reflux, take the Daily Minerals 2 to 3 times daily, OR try taking one-half to one full teaspoon of baking soda diluted in a glass of water. However, you don’t want to consume baking soda daily to neutralize stomach acid. It’s not a long-term solution.
This regimen for eliminating the root cause and symptoms of acid reflux is a condensed version of the chapter on it in my book. I go into a lot more detail and give you an easy at-home test to find out if you have low stomach-acid production, plus I tell you more about how to replace high-acid trigger foods with the alkaline foods your body craves.
Get your copy of my best-selling book, Get Off Your Acid: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight Inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health and Energy, for tones of recipes, tips, and ideas to take you from sluggish and in pain to healthy, energetic, and slim.
GET OFF YOUR ACID!