How to Fix Heartburn Naturally
Heartburn, it’s something that millions upon millions of Americans deal with.
For almost all of them, their discomfort has everything to do with what they eat.
So, if I were to give you some blanket advice on heartburn, I’d start with an elimination diet and then find out what triggers your heartburn.
But that’s not what most people want to hear. Most people fully know what causes their heartburn and don’t want to change their diet even though their meals cause pain.
So, with that being true, I wanted to help those of you who deal with heartburn on occasion because of diet. In some cases, this may work for people who can’t solve their problems related to heartburn, even after modifying their diet.
The other thing I will show you is why the common remedies, specifically the over-the-counter remedies, aren’t doing you any favors and may also make matters worse.
So let’s get into it.
Why Antacids Aren’t Your Friend
If you watch television, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a commercial or two that tells you that such a drug may help you fight off heartburn.
Sadly, I don’t think those commercials give you a full picture of how these drugs work and how they might be a source of ever-worsening heartburn.
There are a few problems with these drugs, as I’ll explain.
1 – They Create Acid Rebound:
One of the unintended consequences of heartburn drugs, especially proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), is that though they may work to suppress stomach acid production, acid production tends to boost when you stop taking them. This is called “acid rebound,” which creates worse heartburn, sending you back to the bottle and continuing the cycle.
2 – They May Lead to Nutritional Deficiencies:
Another not-so-positive outcome of long-term use of heartburn medications is they can interfere with the absorption of crucial nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12.
The downstream effects of these deficiencies are myriad but could include weakened bones, muscle dysfunction, and anemia.
3 – They May Lead to Lowered Immune Function:
Stomach acid is necessary for proper digestion and full immune support, so reducing stomach acid might make some people more vulnerable to certain infections, particularly those caused by bacteria like Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and foodborne pathogens.
Because the stomach becomes a non-acidic environment, these microbes can thrive and make you sick.
4 – There May Be Long-Term Health Concerns:
Emerging research has raised concerns regarding the prolonged use of heartburn medications and their potential links to chronic kidney disease, dementia, and increased fracture risk.
Remember, your body wasn’t meant to ingest these drugs all day, every day, so taking them for too long may actually be problematic.
Five Natural Alternatives for Heartburn Relief
Foods are generally the problem behind heartburn, so, as I mentioned, eliminating the foods that trigger it is the first step.
But what if the problem persists, or what if you know you’re going to eat food that causes acid to make it out of your stomach?
Food can come to the rescue!
1 – Ginger:
Ginger is one of my favorite foods for helping boost health and relieve an upset stomach.
It’s been known to have many positive effects on digestive health, and studies show that it can alleviate heartburn by reducing inflammation and enhancing digestion. A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in 2017 demonstrated ginger’s efficacy in reducing heartburn symptoms.
2 – Apple Cider Vinegar:
Some individuals relieve heartburn by consuming a tablespoon of diluted apple cider vinegar. It is believed to help balance stomach acid levels, although this remedy may not be universally effective.
3 – Aloe Vera Juice:
Aloe vera is well known to help with skin health and soothe inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help control acid, soothe an irritated esophagus, and relieve heartburn symptoms.
A small study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2015 found that aloe vera juice reduced heartburn symptoms in participants.
4 – Slippery Elm:
Slippery elm, derived from a North American tree, contains mucilage, which coats the esophagus and eases heartburn symptoms. It is available in various forms, including teas or capsules.
An Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics study indicated that slippery elm, along with a few other plant-based treatments, are good at quelling inflammation that can cause heartburn.
5 – Chamomile Tea:
So not only is chamomile tea great for sleep, but it also displays some anti-inflammatory activity that can help work with its native calming properties to soothe the digestive tract and reduce heartburn symptoms.
A study published in 2006 demonstrated that chamomile extract inhibited acid reflux.
6 – Digestive Enzymes:
Digestive enzymes can potentially help with heartburn, although their effectiveness can vary from person to person. They work by introducing enzymes needed for normal digestion in the stomach and could reduce the likelihood of excessive stomach acid production.
Next Time You Have Heartburn
I don’t think heartburn is something you should have to deal with, especially if you adjust your diet to produce less stomach acid.
On top of that, if you end up having heartburn, I hope you see antacids and heartburn medications can produce side effects and possibly even long-term health risks.
So that’s why natural alternatives like ginger, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, slippery elm, and chamomile offer promising relief avenues without conventional medications’ potential drawbacks.
However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before attempting any new remedy, especially if underlying health conditions or concurrent medication use is a concern. With a holistic approach, individuals can explore these natural options for effective, long-term heartburn relief while minimizing potential adverse effects.