Heartburn Specialist Ludington MI
Mount Pleasant, MI
Broadway Health Services
Saint Joseph, MI
Medical School: Univ Of Wi Med Sch, Madison Wi 53706
Graduation Year: 1989
Hospital: Lakeland Med Ctr -St Joseph, Saint Joseph, Mi
Group Practice: Great Lakes Gastroenterology
Graduation Year: 2007
Medical School: Seth G S Med Coll, Univ Of Bombay, Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Graduation Year: 1982
Farmington Hills, MI
Gastroenterology, Internal Medicine
Grand Rapids, MI
Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology
Medical School: In Univ Sch Of Med, Indianapolis In 4620
Graduation Year: 1964
Medical School: Umdnj-Robt W Johnson Med Sch, New Brunswick Nj 08901
Graduation Year: 1988
Traverse City, MI
Royal Oak, MI
Cool the Fires of Heartburn
Just about everyone experiences heartburn at some point in their lives, after a stop at the Rib Shack, say, or too many mochas. For most folks it’s a passing problem. But roughly 60 million Americans suffer that burning sensation in their esophagus once a month, and some 15 million experience heartburn every day. They suffer from GERD—gastroesophageal reflux disorder. Along with heartburn, they may also face other side effects of the disorder, including chronic respiratory infections, a dry, hacking cough, sour breath, impaired sleep, nutrient deficiencies—and eight times the risk of cancer of the esophagus.
The immediate cause, the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus, leads many sufferers to reach for the Tums—a safe, natural, alkaline remedy that neutralizes the acid and eases the discomfort, according to John Neustadt, ND, medical director of Montana Integrative Medicine in Bozeman. But Tums and other antacids don’t address the root problems behind GERD.
Surprisingly, “It’s usually too little stomach acid production and not too much that’s the problem,” he says. Two reasons: The acid breaks down food, preventing indigestion; and the acid signals the lower esophageal sphincter to close, blocking backflow. GERD medications exacerbate the problem by further suppressing acid production. Instead of taking meds, work with your doctor to determine the cause behind your low acid production (such as allergies, nutrient deficiencies, and autoimmune diseases). Complement that with a few dietary changes: Avoid mint, caffeine, and nicotine (which weaken the esophageal sphincter); eat smaller, more frequent meals; chew your food well; don’t eat on the run or while stressed; and forgo food three hours before bedtime. Meanwhile, here’s a handful of remedies that’ll take the heat off your after-dinner hours.
1. Pantry potions. To counter low stomach acid production, Neustadt suggests taking a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with meals. Unlike hydrochloric acid capsules, “It won’t really be a problem in terms of burning the stomach,” he says. An excellent way to decrease the burning from acid reflux, according to Neustadt, is to take one or two Emergen-C vitamin and mineral packets. These contain minerals that make the stomach more alkaline. Or, he says, drink a concoction of 1 to 2 teaspoons of plain old baking soda in a cup of water.
2. Healing herbs. Neustadt calls deglycyrrhizinated licorice “one of the most useful things I’ve seen over the counter.” It coats and soothes the esophagus—and it fights inflammation. He recommends people simply take it as directed on the container. He also recommends brewing slippery elm bark tea for similar reasons. Drinking a half cup of liquid aloe vera twice a day between meals does the trick as well (though it can cause diarrhea and is contraindicated during pregnancy).
Author: James Keough
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