Here is Part 2 of my blog post series ‘How to Bust the Bloat and Reduce Acid Reflux’. If you haven’t read Part 1, please be sure to check it out before reading this post!
More Thoughts on The Cause of Acid Reflux
As I mentioned in the previous article, one cause of acid reflux could be when your LES (lower esophageal valve) isn’t working properly and results in stomach acid reflux back up into your esophagus.
What causes your LES not to close properly? In recent scientific literature, it is believed that stomach bloating causes intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) which results in stomach acid being pushed through your LES and into your esophagus.
It is natural to then ask, what causes IAP? According to microbiologist Dr. Norm Robillard in his book ‘Heartburn Cured’, he believes that IAP is the result of malabsorption of carbohydrates, leading to bacterial overgrowth in your gut.
Criss Kresser takes it a step further by stating that both bacterial overgrowth and the malabsorption of carbohydrates all comes back to….you guessed it…LOW STOMACH ACID.
Yea….Stomach acid is obviously pretty important.
Signs you Have Low Stomach Acid
Although I already discussed many of these symptoms, here is a list summarizing the most common symptoms of low stomach acid:
- Acid Reflux/GERD
- Belching and flatulence after meals
- Diarrhea, constipation, or an alternating of both
- Nutrient deficiencies
So….what Drugs Should I Take? If any?
Most drugs for acid reflux and heartburn are not the best idea for your health. In fact, many of them could be very dangerous for health taken long term.
First, they suppress the production of stomach acid which we now know is NOT going to help solve the problem of acid reflux/GERD or heartburn.Second, they often lead to very serious health issues if taken long term.
One of the most common drugs prescribed for acid reflux and heartburn are PPI (Proton Pump Inhibiters). Because they work well to relieve your symptoms it’s easy to develop a tolerance and dependence on them.
PPI’s can be very dangerous, however, with very serious side effects such as chronic kidney disease, pneumonia, osteoporosis, hip fractures, dementia, heart attacks, and bone loss.
It is advisable to NEVER stop taking PPI cold turkey as you could experience severe rebound of your symptoms or be in a worse place than you were before. Be sure to consult a Holistic/Functional Medicine Practitioner before making any radical changes.
Ask them about slowly decreasing your dose until you reach the lowest dose possible and then substituting with an over-the-counter H2 blocker (such as Tagamet, Cimetidine, Zantac, or Ranitidine). The end goal would be to gradually wean yourself off of the H2 blocker over the next several weeks.
Ways to Test for Low Stomach Acid
Although you probably already know that you have low stomach acid if you do suffer from any of the symptoms listed above. However, if you would like to test just to be sure, here are two easy ways to test at home:
Test 1: First thing in the morning, before eating of drinking anything, mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of cold water. Drink the baking soda water and test how long it takes to belch. It is recommended you test for up to 5 minutes. Normally you will belch within 2 to 3 minutes if your stomach acid is normal. However, if you haven’t belched within that time, you probably don’t produce an adequate amount of hydrochloric (stomach) acid.
Test 2: Take normal recommended dose of Betaine HCL (Hydrochloric Acid) immediately after a meal. A normal response when taking Betaine HCL is you will have a slight feeling of warmth in your stomach. If you didn’t feel anything, this is a sign that your stomach is not producing enough stomach acid.