The Real Truth Behind Heartburn!
If you watch any amount of TV these days you have, know doubt, experienced the bombardment of drug commercials. After many years of the drug companies promoting their latest products I still see drugs for heartburn advertised as frequently as ever. As a primary healthcare practitioner and wellness doctor who’s approach is “Whole Body Wellness”, when faced with a patient’s health challenge, I always have to ask, “ what is the root cause of this patient’s symptoms?” In the case of heartburn it’s not from a lack of antacids.
Let me explain. The stomach is normally supposed to be very acidic. Hydrochloric acid is produced in the stomach to break down protein and minerals. That’s the good acid. What happens with many of us is the chemistry in the stomach changes as the result of lifestyle choices or environmental factors. Here are some examples:
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates; ie; white sugar/soft drinks.
- Too much caffeine.
- Too much packaged and processed foods.
- Too much alcohol.
- Stress and/or emotional trauma.
- History of closed head injury or concussion.
- Spinal injuries especially to the neck and/or mid back.
- Improper food combinations.
These are some of the most common factors affecting, directly or indirectly, the chemistry in the stomach leading to a less acidic and more alkaline environment in the stomach. If you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid, (the good acid), in the stomach the food you eat cannot be digested properly. The undigested food actually begins to rot in the stomach. This rotting process causes a production of lactic and pyruvic acids, (the bad acids), to be produced which can lead to conditions such as reflux esophagitis, heartburn or GERD hiatal hernia, gastric ulcers and eventually lower bowel problems such as colitis, IBS and Diverticulitis. Most all- lower bowel inflammatory conditions occur secondary to upper digestive dysfunction. That being primarily stomach and gallbladder malfunction.
Patients with long standing digestive dysfunction will often struggle with weight gain, low energy or severe fatigue, joint pain or symptoms of arthritis and mineral deficiency just to name a few.
The approach taken with my patients, aside from coaching them on proper food choices, is to provide hydrochloric acid contained in a product called Zypan from Standard Process or Digest Forte from Medi Herb which also helps promote healthy digestion without using hydrochloric acid. In more mild cases some patients will respond well with 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water taken just before each meal. In more extreme cases a careful evaluation is recommended to determine the best approach.
It is important to remember we don’t treat heartburn. We do help support normal digestive function through lifestyle change, nervous system restoration through specific chiropractic adjustments and nutritional recommendations to give the body the proper nutrients necessary for normal biological function.