Many people nowadays are suffering from heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While many take antiacid drugs, the truth is that heartburns are caused by low stomach acid. The reason people suffer from heartburn is a dysfunction of a valve called lower esophageal valve (LES) that allows food particles to easily pass into the stomach. When LES malfunctions, stomach acid tends to go up the esophagus damaging its lining. So, the reality is that the amount of acid in the body has nothing to do with developing heartburn; rather it is the malfunctioning of LES that causes whatever acid in the stomach to damage the esophagus.
If this disease is not treated, patients become at high risk of stomach cancer, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder disease and many others. When patients take antiacid drugs, they are just making the matters worse. By lowering the stomach acid level, the body tends to become more susceptible to bacterial overgrowth and infections, since bacteria tend to strive in a high pH environment. In a nutshell, the equation of heartburn is as follows:
Low stomach acid + maldigested carbohydrates = Reflux and GERD.
The solution to this problem is:
1. Reduction of carbohydrates consumption
2. Increasing the amount of probiotics in the diet: kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and so on
3. Including papaya and similar enzymes to aid in carbohydrates digestion
4. Incorporating bitter herbs that stimulate digestion: ginger, caraway, dandelion, fennel, hops, milk thistle and peppermint.
5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.