We are normally told that Acid reflux/GERD occurs due to high stomach acid. However, the opposite is actually true. Acid reflux is a result of low stomach acid.
Gastritis is largely due to poor mucin production inside the stomach & now , H.pylori can become pathobiont.
GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a condition in which stomach acid and other contents of the stomach flow back up into the Oesophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach). This can cause heartburn, chest pain, and other symptoms. GERD is a common condition, affecting about 20% of the population.
Your stomach acid is responsible for a lot more than you might think. It helps in killing any opportunistic pathogens, digesting food, and in the all-round maintenance of our health overall.
When your stomach acid is reduced, it can lead to several different health problems such as malabsorption of carbs, bacterial overgrowth, increased abdominal pressure and GERD. Instead of trying to figure out why the acid isn’t staying put in your stomach, current medical practice focuses on symptom management by prescribing acid-lowering drugs.
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Most Common Causes Of Acid Reflux or Acidity-
There are a number of different things that can contribute to GERD. This includes certain foods and drinks, obesity, pregnancy, and certain medications. In some cases, it may be due to a condition called a hiatal hernia.
Treating GERD usually involves making simple lifestyle changes such as; avoiding trigger foods (foods that cause GERD) and drinks, losing weight (if necessary), and avoiding lying down immediately after eating. Medications can also be used to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach or to help the muscle between the stomach and The Oesophagus work better. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Some of the common causes of Acid Reflux are-
- Fried and spicy foods, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, smoking.
- Eating just before bed
- Eating after feeling full can make food reflux.
- Having a large belly and being overweight can cause reflux by pushing your stomach up.
- Constant stress damages the nerves in your stomach, making it impossible for food to be properly digested..
- Magnesium helps to relax the sphincter at the base of the stomach, which allows food to pass through. The price of food rises when you don’t have enough magnesium.
- Food allergies, including those to dairy, soy and gluten.
- You could get bad bacteria or yeast in your stomach if you’ve taken a lot of antibiotics or hormones, consumed a lot of sugar, a lot of processed food. Reflux results from fermentation brought on by this.
- Reflux can also be connected to the bacteria H. Pylori, which affects a large portion of our population.
Why Are Acid Blockers Bad?
Imagine your stomach is like a factory. To function properly, the factory needs acid to digest food and absorb nutrients. Stomach acid is important for digesting food and absorbing nutrients. Reducing stomach acid can lead to deficiencies in minerals and vitamins particularly Vit B12 . Over time, this could subsequently cause neuropathy, memory problems, digestive issues, osteoporosis, and more.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is another possible side effect of taking acid blockers. SIBO can inhibit nutrient absorption and damage the bowel lining, causing a leaky gut and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
How To Treat Acidity?
- While recovering from Acidity, avoid consuming foods like sugar, milk, meat and all processed foods.
- Dairy and gluten are the two most typical food allergies. Therefore, they should be avoided.
- For a few weeks, you should also avoid the acid reflux triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, and smoking.
- Change your way of life to prevent acid reflux. Maintain a three-hour window between dinner and bedtime. Give the food your body time to digest.
- Deep breathing exercises can help you feel less stressed.
- Stay away from drinking water while eating. It dilutes stomach acid even more, and impairs your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
- The most important thing to do is to increase your stomach acid levels. This will help to kill off the excess bacteria in your stomach and prevent them from thriving. You can do this by taking apple cider vinegar post-meal, except if you have Gastric Ulcers, in which case it can worsen the symptoms
- Treat your bacterial overgrowth. Low stomach acid lets bacteria live in the stomach, compete for nutrients, and generate excess gas in the small intestine.
- In addition, supplements like liquorice, probiotics, digestive enzymes, magnesium, zinc carnosine, and HCI with pepsin can be helpful. Consult your doctor to see if any of these might be right for you.
If you’re struggling with bacterial overgrowth, know that you’re not alone. Many people suffer from this issue. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to treat it. Depending on the underlying causes of your overgrowth, you may need to take several steps to get things under control.
Source credit for this blog: Dr Ruhi Agarwal, FM Clinic