3 Myths about Acid Reflux that Can Ruin Your Digestion

Myth #1

Heartburn is caused by TOO MUCH stomach acid. This is false.

It may feel like you have more stomach acid than before but the real issue may be that the protective lining inside your stomach has been damaged.  Coffee, alcohol, stress and medications can all disrupt the this protective lining. The result is  it can no longer prevent your stomach acid from coming in contact with some of your stomach cells.

Before we talk more about Acid Reflux, let me explain what Acid Reflux is not.

Acid Reflux is NOT:

  • caused by “too much” stomach acid (you actually make less as you age)
  • caused by bacteria called H.Pylori (this is an opportunistic infection, meaning is happens after there is already damage)
  • inevitable as you age
  • something you have to put up with
  • something you have to take medication for (it is possible to heal the underlying cause)

So, what IS Acid Reflux?

It is caused by stomach acid touching things inside the body it should not be touching like your actual stomach or esophagus.

Why does this happen? Typically one of two reasons:

  1. There is a disruption in the protective coating of your stomach.
  2. You have abdominal pressure that is forcing the stomach acid up into the esophagus. (this can happen from being overweight, pregnancy or from bloating.)

Myth #2

Feeling any kind of pain after eating is heartburn and should be treated the same.

You may be used to reaching for the Tums, or Pepecid or other medication when you have an upset stomach. But there is a different cause behind burning pain, or bloating or nausea.

Other reasons for pain after eating could be gallbladder problems, problems with your pancreas, food allergies or indigestion from not having enough digestive enzymes.

Myth #3

Using acid-blockers or baking soda relieves the pain so it must be fixing the problem.

While acid blockers may stop the pain, they also stop the important function that acid serves in helping you break down food. Interfering with digestion sets you up for nutritional deficiencies, especially of minerals, which really need an acid environment to be absorbed.

Those very deficiencies make it harder for your body to create the enzymes it needs – contributing to the very problem you are trying to treat.

How to Heal Heartburn?

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, bestselling author and recently appointed Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Functional Medicine Center, many digestive issues respond very well to a “systems” approach.

Rather than focusing on treating a diagnosis, Functional Medicine looks for the underlying cause and focuses on specific support to improve the organ systems. This can include keeping a Diet Log, checking for food allergies (looking for IgG antibodies), evaluating function of the gallbladder and pancreas and looking for intestinal issues like Leaky Gut or dysbiosis.

In my practice in Los Altos I use a Functional Medicine approach to help people with with acid reflux symptoms and a variety of other digestive symptoms.

Click the button below to take the Nutritional Profile Quiz to learn more about what may be the underlying cause of your digestive symptoms. You’ll get your results immediately.

 

 

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1 Comment

  • Trudy Lee Wible

    Reply Reply April 29, 2015

    I so wish she was in Maryland, I would love to see her and what knowledge she holds to help people who need it. I am still hoping to have her get me on the correct track one day soon. I am doing better but need to get there 100 percent.

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