Commercials for pharmaceuticals that claim to alleviate these conditions tell us that we’re feeling the results of eating spicy or acidic foods and that this excessive acid has to be eliminated before we’ll feel better, but is that really what’s going on?
I’d like to think that I’m a fairly healthy eater, limiting processed foods and doing my best to focus on vegetables, protein and healthy fats. So when I started to experience a weird feeling in my esophagus that literally kept me from sleeping at night, I was immediately worried.
I headed to see my primary care physician, telling him all about the weird “lump in my throat” feeling when I swallowed, the urge to burp even though I didn’t need to, and most importantly, the shortness of breath I was feeling at night.
He said that in someone of my age and level of fitness, these symptoms pointed to excessive stomach acid that was making its way above my diaphragm. His recommended treatment? Using an over-the-counter medication like Prilosec or Zantac to manage it.
I was astonished. Always skeptical of medications meant to deal with symptoms instead of root causes, I decided to do a little investigating before heading to the pharmacy. And boy am I glad I did.
Understanding The Real Cause Of Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is not caused by too much acid in your stomach—it’s usually a problem with too little acid, reports Dr. Mercola, pointing to research that shows a decreased level of stomach acid creates the perfect environment for Helicobacter pylori. This bacteria has been shown to cause chronic low-level inflammation of your stomach lining, and is responsible, or at least a major factor, for producing many of the symptoms of acid reflux.
The Vicious Cycle Of Antacid Treatments
Not understanding that heartburn is caused by a lack, not glut, of stomach acid, we typically take medications that promise to suppress our stomach acid further. This kickstarts a vicious cycle that ultimately increases our pain instead of easing it, however.
“When the stomach is lacking in acid, it must churn violently to make the best use of its limited acid. This in-turn causes pressure and back flows of the existing acid. The combination of the back-flows into the esophagus and the stomach’s cramping action is what causes pain,” explains Thomas Corriher for HealthWyze.org.
Suppressing the stomach’s natural acid production also makes it even harder for the body to fight off any helicobacter that might be lurking in the digestive system, increasing your acid reflux symptoms instead of eliminating them.
Likewise, “when our stomach is producing adequate acid, then the valve at the top of the stomach is signaled to close tightly, preventing the acidic contents from leaking into the esophagus. This heartburn remedy helps signal the stomach to close this valve,” explained EmpoweredSustenance.com.
The Cheap, Easy Way To Get Heartburn Relief
Whether it was a natural lack of acid or an overgrowth of bacteria, it appeared to me that the answer for my heartburn was actually to give my body more acid instead of less. But how? The answer was already sitting in my kitchen cabinet.
Multiple different sources instructed me to add a couple tablespoons of raw, unfiltered, organic Apple Cider Vinegar to about eight ounces of filtered water and chug it down.
It smelled like I was drinking salad dressing, but I decided to give it a try…within minutes, my heartburn was noticeably less severe. I took a dose of this tonic once a day, typically in the evening when my symptoms were the worst, for around three days. And you know what? My heartburn totally disappeared.
Now, I take this vinegar mixture any time I feel the slightest twinge of heartburn or indigestion and it always helps!