The Great Heartburn Myth BUSTED!
Thanks for all the great questions readers have sent in over the past few days. My article on acid reflux and heartburn got a lot of response, so today I’ll tackle a common question.
Remember, you can send me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: I read your article about the risks of heartburn drugs the other day. I have to tell you — I’ve tried just about all of them, and nothing seems to work. Is there anything else I can do for acid reflux?
— Pete F.
Dr. G.: My patients are always a bit surprised when I drop this little bomb: Acid reflux is rarely caused by excess stomach acid.
That’s right. The premise that multiple drug companies have used to sell BILLIONS of dollars’ worth of drugs is a BIG. FAT. LIE.
To understand why, we have to understand the root cause of acid reflux.
Remember, stomach acid is your friend—but only when it stays in your stomach. If it leaves the boundaries of your stomach, it quickly turns into the enemy.
That’s because while the lining of the stomach was built to withstand the harsh acid environment, your esophageal lining is much more delicate. When acid travels from your stomach up into your esophagus, it can cause a sharp pain or burning sensation severe enough to resemble a heart attack.
But the problem isn’t the acid itself; the problem is that the acid is in the wrong place.
There’s a circular muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter that joins your esophagus and stomach. When you’re eating, this valve opens up in order to allow food to travel to the stomach. At all other times, it should be shut tight.
If that flap stays open, acid flows in the wrong direction, and that’s where your problems begin. When the lower esophageal sphincter remains open, it allows oxygen into the stomach and plays havoc with our gut flora, which is essential for good health.
Despite the pervasive myth about excess stomach acid causing acid reflux, the REAL problem is a loose sphincter.
So what causes a loose sphincter?
Glad you asked.
In many cases, the answer is simple as a deficiency in the mineral magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency is rampant in America, with some estimates indicating that 90% of Americans are deficient. I can verify from personal experience that I’ve never tested a single patient who had adequate levels of this important mineral.
Because magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, this deficiency represents a serious health problem that impacts some of the most critical aspects of our health, including cardiovascular health, metabolism, and immune function.
But how it relates to acid reflux has to do with its role in maintaining healthy muscles. A magnesium deficiency can cause some or all of your muscles to be too tight or to spasm—including your lower esophageal sphincter.
Making matters worse, proton pump inhibitors are known for causing magnesium deficiency, which means they’re exacerbating one of the underlying causes of the condition.
I’ve given you lots of bad news about acid-suppressing drugs over the past few days. Here’s the good news: In most cases, you can fix acid reflux without popping a single PPI—and at a fraction of the cost. Here’s how:
4 steps to treating heartburn without drugs:
- Chew your food! The more you chew, the less work your stomach has to do. Sound too simple to be true? Try it for one week and you’ll be shocked at the difference.
- Drink less with meals. Hydrating during meals dilutes your stomach acid, making it less potent. As a result, undigested food can stick around and start fermenting, causing gas to build up and push the lower esophageal sphincter open.
- Avoid problem foods. Some foods are more likely to contribute to acid reflux: spicy foods, citrus, coffee, soda, fried foods, and refined starches – in other words, many of the foods you should be avoiding anyway!
- Supplement with magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is one of the root causes of acid reflux. Be sure to avoid magnesium oxide, a common ingredient in many magnesium supplements. Instead, get a chelated magnesium like magnesium glycinate in a dosage of 200-800 mg per day. You’ll know if it is too much for your system if you get loose stools.
To a brighter day,
Dr. Richard Gerhauser, M.D.
Written By Dr. Richard Gerhauser, M.D.
For years he’s been the trusted doctor for celebrities, world-class athletes, and countless seniors looking to reclaim their health.
And now…for the first time ever… he’s making his medical breakthroughs available to readers all across America.
Dr. Richard Gerhauser, M.D. is one of the most pioneering and innovative minds in medicine today – and he delivers cutting-edge cures each month through his Natural Health Response newsletter.
Natural Health Response readers get full access to Dr. Gerhauser’s protocols for chronic pain… heart disease… diabetes… Alzheimer’s… and even cancer. These are the very same treatments Dr. Gerhauser recommends to his own patients at his practice in Tucson, Arizona.
In addition to being a board-certified medical doctor, Dr. Gerhauser has earned two master’s degrees and has served as a clinical professor at the University of Arizona.
And as a physician at the world-famous Canyon Ranch, Dr. Gerhauser treated celebrities from around the world who paid dearly for the type of next-generation health information he provides Natural Health Response readers each month.
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