Please note: I am not a doctor, nor am I a medical professional. All of the information contained within this article is from either personal experience, situations I’ve personally seen or information I’ve thoroughly researched for other means from reputable sources. In any case, seek the assistance of a medical professional. If you’re having a medical emergency, go to the hospital or call an ambulance immediately.
It was last year that I started having some issues that came on slowly initially, but picked up very quickly overall. Such issues included sporadic shortness of breath, chest pains and heart palpitations. I used to be an avid coffee drinker and caffeine junkie, taking pre-workout supplements for the gym to get through my workout. I guess it caught up with me in time, and an emergency room visit ensued.
After the hospital, no one could figure out was wrong with me. Another emergency room visit and nothing still could be said. My heart? Fine. A myriad of tests were conducted. It was just as scary not knowing what the cause was of such pains as the pains and other symptoms themselves.
Finally, after having enough from doctors running EKG after EKG and checking my heart rate and blood pressure, I took it to myself to figure out what was wrong with me. I was in good shape overall, and all of my tests came back good from the Cardiologist. There it was — Acid Reflux.
Many people don’t know what acid reflux is capable of, nor do they know that there are more reasons that provoke acid reflux than just eating something that doesn’t agree with you. If your acid reflux is constant, seek help from a Gastroenterologist, whom will probably run an endoscopy and prescribe medication. However, at least in my case, medication isn’t always the best remedy overall. I had unusual side effects such as headaches and joint pains — issues I’ve never had prior to this whole incident.
That’s when I learned about the natural supplements and methods that could be used to help combat acid reflux, although I still must suggest that any person with any medical issue seek the advice of a true medical professional, even if the method may be natural.
Below is a few different supplements that can aid in the digestion process.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It sounds disgusting — and the taste by itself truly is — in general, but Apple Cider Vinegar is an age old remedy for a myriad of issues. While not many studies have been done overall, there are many people praising the power of Apple Cider Vinegar and the healing properties it contains. Some people express praise stating that it helped them lower their blood pressure, while others tout that it has helped them boost their immune system. However, as it pertains to acid reflux, Apple Cider Vinegar has been very helpful overall.
I read an article that a doctor wrote about acid reflux, and afterwards it kind of made sense. I’m not a specialist in any way, so I assumed — as many others do as well — that acid reflux was due to too MUCH acid in the stomach shooting upwards into the esophagus. According to this article, sometimes this may, in fact, be wrong. Rather, this article stated that there are two other popular reasons that people get acid reflux:
1.) There’s too little stomach acid, so your body cannot properly digest the contents within, sending them upwards from time to time; and
2.) The pH balance of your stomach acid is off, so it doesn’t work efficiently.
After hearing this, I stopped taking my Famotidine, as I was still having side effects, but I was trying to “cope” with them. One night I had very bad reflux again. I felt terrible, and my chest hurt and I had a headache. This was my first time giving it a shot, but ~$5.00 at the local drug store for a bottle of this stuff is worth a shot, right? I followed some directions by putting some of the Apple Cider Vinegar into a cup with some water. Despite the horrific taste, I downed it. A few minutes later my belly made some funky noises, but all of a sudden my reflux was eliminated… and it stayed away for days on end.
I suggest Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, as it is a well known company that contains the “Mother,” which can be very important. There are also Apple Cider Vinegar tablets that can be found online that, for me, seem to work pretty well. You can find these tablets at websites such as Puritan.com.
Warning: Apple Cider Vinegar is very acidic, but it works in some instances by helping balance the pH level of your stomach acid. However, due to the high acid content, it is recommended that you mix the Apple Cider Vinegar with water, a sprinkle of baking soda, and even some honey (for taste). Search online for other methods that may be easier to take.
Acidophilus Complex and other Probiotics
This complex can be very helpful to others when it comes to digestive health. These dietary supplements contain live probiotic cultures that help aid in digestion. While these probiotics can be purchased in the form if supplements alone, there are foods that are naturally high in these probiotics. These foods include yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and much more. Sometimes it tout the amount of live and/or active cultures are contained within the product, as this portion of the industry has exploded with people seeking better digestive health, especially with the fast-paced, poor diet of many Americans on the go in this day in age.
These enzymes are a helpful way for people with digestion issues to consume their meals with more confidence, especially if the food they are about to eat is known for causing acid reflux. These digestive enzymes can be purchased at stores or online.
Many of the digestive enzyme are complexes containing ingredients that are well known in aiding digestion, such as papaya, peppermint oil extract and much more.
Some people and other professionals state that the use of digestive enzymes over time can make your body dependent on them, so be sure to speak with a medical professional to figure out a plan for your digestive needs.
These digestive enzymes are generally taken before or after the meal to aid in the process of digestion, allowing your body to properly break down food, subsequently cutting down on acid reflux.
Below are a couple of natural methods that can help aid in digestion and minimize or eliminate acid reflux.
Chiropractics – The Rolling Technique
A method that can be done by some chiropractors can help reduce acid reflux caused by hiatal hernias, which is when a portion of the upper stomach slips up through the diaphragm hiatus and into the esophagus. Due to this, the sphincter at the top of the stomach cannot function properly in some instances, causing the contents of the stomach to come up.
Call ahead to ensure that the Chiropractor can properly do this technique. It isn’t difficult, and they will sometimes teach you how to do it at home whenever in need.
Basically the Chiropractor will have you lay on your back. After using strategic breathing and feeling around the the protruding portion of the upper stomach, the Chiropractor will use their fingers to roll it downwards. Sometimes, as the patient, you’ll feel the hernia being rolled downward. It has never hurt me in any way. Some people get immediate relief.
Hiatal hernias and Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease are generally found together, but it is unknown if one causes the other.
I had been a longtime skeptic of acupuncture in general, until I went myself. I went for muscular pains about a month and a half ago, but I also brought up the fact that I had some digestion issues prior and I was wondering if acupuncture had anything to offer, which it does. Some people will call acupuncture foolish and a placebo, but I’ve felt some difference from the acupuncture sessions that I’ve been to.
There are spots on the body, according to the teachings of acupuncture, that help reintroduce energy to the digestive system. After about 20 minutes of laying on the table, stuck full of needles, I could feel my belly getting softer. To top it off, the relaxation portion of acupuncture is, in my mind, unbeatable.
Call ahead to ensure that the acupuncturist can, in fact, help you in this facet of ailments.
While some ways to alleviate or treat acid reflux and ensuring that digestion is running adequately seem obvious, sometimes people just need a reminder in these aspects. In these times where our minds are running a mile a minute, it is easy to forget about such measures or prolong them.
Optimize Your Nutrition — Have a Clean Diet
I’ve seen instances where people are obese, eat processed food and large, sugary, carbonated beverages. Now, I am also not a nutritionist by any means, but I do have some education in the field of nutrition through my Certified Fitness Trainer course through the International Sports Science Association.
If you suffer from reflux, try and pinpoint foods that act as triggers for your acid reflux. For example, while someone may get acid reflux from drinking foods with high acid content, another person may not; however that other person may have another trigger that sets off their acid reflux. Everyone is different, which falls under the Principle of Individual Differences in a way. Just like medication reacts with one person one way, it doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on another person.
Overall, avoid these food triggers. Some of these foods and beverages, such as coffee, can have an adverse effect on the digestive system, subsequently causing damage over time to the digestive system. Rather than drinking coffee, especially if it gives you acid reflux, try a Vitamin B Complex or certain teas.
Eat clean foods, especially vegetables. Fruits also have many nutritional properties, but aware that some also contain levels of acidity that can cause adverse effects. Do your best to get healthy fats, such as Omega 3’s, from seafood and nuts. Protein can also be found in an array of sources that generally don’t provoke acid reflux.
Seek Appointments and Check-Ups with Medical Professionals
As I said earlier, I am not a medical professional by any means. All of the remedies listed above I’ve used in certain instances at some time or another for my acid reflux. Pharmaceuticals, in specific cases, may be needed, especially when there is damage to the lining of the esophagus and/or stomach. A specialist who is trained in collecting personal medical information and data and choosing the right course of action should be the one to help you with your medical issues.
It is best to be proactive by eating well and avoiding foods that provoke acid reflux; it is also important to get check-ups done to ensure that the treatment that you follow is working adequately and properly. If you believe that the doctor that you’re seeing is not listening to your feedback and how you feel, I highly suggest seeking a new doctor who will utilize your feedback and your state of health to gauge the best course of treatment or remedy for you. Not all doctors just use prescription pads as their primarily piece of equipment to fight against your ailments — other doctors will utilize nutrition and more natural remedies to fix your situation in a more natural manner. Personally, I’ve experienced minimal side effects from the dietary supplements that I’ve taken, especially in comparison to the pharmaceuticals that made my elbow joints hurt and gave me headaches — such feelings that I had never had before.