Happy Halloween, and today I want to tell you a truly terrifying story. One that I hope you and your family never has to endure. If you or anyone you know suffers from even mild acid reflux, please share this with them.
The story starts at this very same time of year a few years back, as I was training for the New York City Marathon. After a few urgent missed calls and texts (see below) from my brother, I paused my run and called him back. I knew it was about my father.
My brother told me that there had been an accident. My parents were driving in the HOV lane of a highway, going 70 mph, when my mom noticed their car was veering off the road toward the concrete divider. She looked over to see my father passed out at the steering wheel. His head was against the window, his foot still on the accelerator.
Her instincts took over, and she quickly leaned down and tried to pull his leg off the gas pedal, but couldn’t. The car drove up onto the concrete divider, then back down. As the car began to ride back up the divider for a second time, she pulled the keys out of the ignition.
Miraculously, the car came to a slow, grinding halt. She looked over at my dad, who looked lifeless.
I will never forget hearing this story from my mom a little later that day. She thought Dad had had a heart attack or stroke. I could not imagine what that moment must have been like for her, thinking he was gone.
He was unconscious for 2 minutes, which seemed like an eternity, but then he came to, started sweating profusely, and then passed out again. He woke again and over a few minutes gained full consciousness by the time the ambulance arrived. They got him to the hospital and stabilized him as we all reeled from the news.
Looking back on this story now, the horrific experience my mom and dad had endured turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
It led to a relatively early diagnosis of esophageal cancer. Most esophageal cancers are not discovered until a very late stage, when the patient cannot swallow or eat anymore.
By then, the cancer is much more advanced, harder to treat, and far more likely to have spread into the lymph and other parts of the body.
Because of the accident, as terrifying as it was, the cancer had been caught early. It became apparent that the cancer inside my dad’s body was localized and had not metastasized or spread. With that knowledge, we all experienced a palpable relief. Though the road ahead still looked daunting, the prognosis gave us hope.
[This story is an excerpt from my bestselling book, Get Off Your Acid: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight Inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health and Energy. Get your copy today to read the full story.]
The Root Cause of Esophageal Cancer
An amazing thing happened during that trying time of diagnosis and treatment of my father’s cancer. No one could believe it when we learned that the root cause of the condition – verbatim from the doctor’s mouth – was “too much acid!”
When he said it, my jaw dropped, and my family, packed into that doctor’s office exam room, looked directly at me. I was wearing a black shirt that proclaimed in bold lettering, “GET OFF YOUR ACID.”
What we didn’t know then was that my father had suffered in silence with acid reflux for years if not decades. We soon learned that according to the American Cancer Society, the #1 risk factor for esophageal cancer is acid reflux.
As the acid perpetually invaded his esophagus, inflammation soon turned into ulceration and sclerosis or hardening. A bleeding ulcer is what made him pass out in the driver’s seat as he drove on the highway.
All of that ulceration and sclerosis made the tissue diseased, which ultimately resulted in esophageal cancer and robbed us of my father a couple of years ago.
This process – from simple acid reflux to cancer – is what I want to outline for you today, so you can prevent this nightmare from happening to you or someone you love.
Stage 1: You feel tired and sluggish.
If you feel sluggish on the outside, you should see what’s going on inside.
The first 2 stages of acidosis – energy loss and food sensitivities – are easy to miss. Who hasn’t felt one of those and dismissed it as an off day or lack of sleep? This is attributable to the “law of familiarity,” or the idea that, once a condition has been present long enough, you start to think it’s normal.
Those are common side effects, but they aren’t normal and they’re often overlooked. So if you have low energy, it may be the first warning sign there is too much acid in your system.
Before you start having any big symptoms, the digestive tract backs up with acids from foods and drinks that are acid-forming and toxins in the environment, as well as stress and lack of aerobic exercise that helps get everything moving.
At the same time, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from all of the alkaline foods you’re eating decreases, so you’ve got less good stuff and more bad stuff building up.
Stage 2: Food sensitivities and leaky gut start to develop.
This might be the first sign you really start to notice, because foods you once loved don’t feel so good when you eat them anymore. Foods that often are initial triggers include:
- Wheat or gluten
- Dairy products
- Carbonated drinks
- Fried foods
On the other hand, it’s also possible NOT to notice these symptoms, which is what happens when people have trouble digesting so many of the foods that they eat, they’re having a bad reaction meal after meal, all day, every day. When that happens, patients I see have moved right along to the next stage without even realizing it.
The acids have become so backed up, and the system is so overloaded, you’re starting to feel chronically bad. It’s hard to ignore the symptoms in this stage because they can be quite painful and uncomfortable. The pain is your body’s way of yelling, “HELP ME,” and they typically get worse as the day moves on.
If you suffer from acid reflux regularly, you’re in Stage 2. And if you think over the counter medications like Zantac, Tums, and Prilosec are going to fix it, they’re only going to make symptoms worse. [Find out why.]
Stage 3: Inflammation occurs in the gut and other parts of the body.
At this point, there’s a bad cycle happening throughout the digestive track.
- Acidic foods and drinks are consumed, causing digestion to back up.
- Acids and toxins are seeping out of the digestive track into you blood and other parts of the body that aren’t equipped to fight them off, so they build up in your connective tissues (muscles, joints, and organs).
- Foods you’re sensitive to are consumed, causing inflammation throughout the gut.
- The inflammation causes more back up in the digestive process.
- More acids and toxins build up, both in the digestive track and elsewhere in the body.
It’s hard to ignore the symptoms of inflammation in this stage because they can be quite painful and uncomfortable. I often see patients who come to me at this point, desperate for a solution.
It’s this stage that makes exercise so important because the toxins and acids that are building up throughout the body need to get flushed out somehow, and lymphatic movement is the only option. It is the most important system that takes the toxins and acids from your tissues back to the blood, then shuttled out of your body.
Try my favorite acid crushing exercise, the rebounder, or mini trampoline. Other forms of lymphatic drainage are dry skin brushing, the Chi machine, whole body vibration, and lymphatic massage.
Stage 4: Ulcers develop.
This is where things start to get scary. Ulcers might not seem like a big deal. After all, they are common, right?
And most medical doctors still point to stress, eating trigger foods like caffeine and citrus, and use of anti-inflammatory medications like Advil and Tylenol as the big culprits.
But the truth is much more complicated than that, and unfortunately, much more concerning.
In my father’s case, as the inflammation did its damage and the cause was never addressed, the acid began to ulcerate his stomach and esophagus, so much so that it caused him to bleed internally, which is what caused him to pass out at the steering wheel. The ulcer was followed by sclerosis—the hardening of the wall of the esophagus (this can also happen in the heart, the brain, the kidneys, etc).
As a response to a barrage of acid, some types of tissues harden, becoming leather-like. If you’ve ever heard of hardening of the arteries, this is what’s causing that. Other types of tissue form ulcerations because they aren’t protected by the delicate microbiome that’s been destroyed from damage.
So when ulcers occur, they are not the only problem. It’s a symptom of a much larger problem that’s been going on for some time.
Symptoms of ulcers include:
- Pain or burning in the abdomen, especially after eating
- Nausea or vomiting, possibly with blood in the vomit
- Dark stools (indicating digested blood from the upper digestive tract)
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
If not treated holistically (a.k.a. just treating the symptoms of ulcers won’t address the real problem), the damage continues, leading to stage 5.
Stage 5: Organs and tissues degenerate.
If tissue degenerates enough and in certain ways on a cellular level, cancer will form.
Along the digestive track, it usually develops in the form of esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, or colon cancer. But because acid and toxins are building up around the body, various types of cancer can be traced back to the same root causes – inflammation and acid.
Yes, this is scary stuff. But I don’t share this to scare you. I share it because there’s a real solution that works to not only alleviate symptoms like acid reflux but also prevent long-term damage.
Countless patients in my wellness clinic have successfully said goodbye to their acid reflux and other symptoms through a combination of abstaining from trigger foods (although not the ones you think) and eating foods that heal the stomach and esophagus.
Read more about my acid reflux protocol in these posts:
- Case study: What one 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.
- The 10 Worst Foods that Make Acid Reflux More Severe – Plus What to Do Instead
- The 15 Surprising Foods that Help Acid Reflux (#2 Will Shock You)
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 with a low pH of 1.5 to 3, it will reactively increase its production of stomach acids to lower the pH and make the stomach function properly.
So in essence, Alkamind Daily Minerals will:
- Increase you stomach acid production, which will actually relieve reflux symptoms
- 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 (a.k.a. baking soda) that will go into your tissues and blood and make you more ALKALINE!
GET OFF YOUR ACID!