by Sara Piccola |
An estimated 20 percent of Americans experience heartburn/GERD at least once a week and unfortunately, many people buy over the counter medications. According to the Nielsen Consumer Panel, one in two households in the United States use antacids. On average, each household spends $11.75 a year on these products. If there’s over 300 million people in the United States, even if you divide half of that by $11.75, that is more than $1.7 billion a year being spent on antacids. A simple diet change can save you money, time and pain.
GERD is a condition where the liquid contents of the stomach are regurgitated (or refluxed) back into the esophagus, which can damage or inflame the lining of the esophagus. Frequent heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Refluxed acid is best treated naturally through diet change and simple life-style changes.
The first step is smaller and fewer meals. It is easier to digest a smaller sized meal, so it is more likely that a smaller meal will have left the stomach by nighttime. Some foods that should be avoided in GERD patients are, chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, caffeinated drink and fatty foods. All of these reduce the pressure in the sphincter promoting reflux.
If you experience GERD at nighttime try sleeping with your upper body elevated. When we lie down the effect of gravity is removed and the reflux is able to move up into the esophagus. It has also been said that GERD is worse when a patient lies on their right side versus their left.
If you are affected by GERD you do not have to rely on antacids to reduce the symptoms. Some natural herb extracts have proven effective in calming GERD symptoms and repairing the inflamed tissue. These extracts include slippery elm, deglycerinated licorice and quercetin, and supplementing with glutamine. There are some products on the market that contain all of these extracts, however, individually they all have their benefits.
Slipper elm contains mucilage. When mixed with water, mucilage becomes a gel that coats and sooths the intestines, throat and mouth. It is believed that slippery elm contains antioxidants that aid in healing inflammatory bowel conditions. The recommended dosage of slipper elm is 800-1,000 mg three times a day with a full glass of water for capsules, for tea add 2 tablespoons of powdered bark three times per day. Slippery elm is sometimes referred to as red elm, sweet elm, Ulmus fulva or Ulmas rubra.
This extract is made from licorice in which the glycyrrhizin has been removed. It is also referred to as licorice root. Licorice root has been used to cure ulcers, bronchitis and sore throats. The typical dose of Deglycerinated Licorice is 400 to 800 mg 15 to 20 minutes before meals or between meals. The chewable tablets are recommended over capsules.
Quercetin is one of the most common bioflavonoids and is found in the coloring of the skin of apples and red onion alongside most fruits and vegetables. Sold as a dietary supplement, quercetin is a powerful antioxidant, a natural anti-histamine and natural anti-inflammatory. There is no standard recommendation for the dosage of quercetin, general supplementation for adults is 100-250 mg three times per day.
Glutamine is an amino acid found in foods high in protein. Glutamine is used by athletes to relieve muscle cramps, pains and serves as an antioxidant. It has the ability to heal mucous membranes including the lining of the esophagus that is damaged from GERD and heartburn. For most people the recommended Glutamine dosage is between 2-15 grams daily, however, the proper dosage depends on body weight, activity level, lifestyle stress, overall health and diet.
Patients commonly accept GERD for what it is; however, there are a wide variety of natural options for calming the symptoms of GERD and heartburn.
Summer is here, and with it comes summer parties and events filled with laughter, fun and an abundance of food. From fried foods to barbequing summertime is a time for friends and feasts, but the results can be painful heartburn and indigestion. Food is to be enjoyed. Enjoy smaller meals, chew your food slowly and avoid foods that aggravate your digestive process
*These are general dosages found at www.umm.edu, en.allexperts.com, www.vitamins-supplements.org, mental-health.emedtv.com. This is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Please consult a health care practitioner for further clarification.