Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease is an uncomfortable long-term disease that causes the content of your stomach to move up to your esophagus resulting in heartburn. When you visit your doctor, they will most likely prescribe a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) such as Prilosec, Nexium, or Protonix.
The Cause of Acid Reflux
There are many reasons individuals may suffer from acid reflux including a hiatal hernia. This stomach abnormality occurs when the upper stomach and LES move above the diaphragm. The diaphragm keeps acid in your stomach, but people who suffer from an hiatal hernia experience acid moving up to their esophagus causing heartburn.
Other common risk factors for this disease including:
- Overeating or lying down immediately after a meal
- Being obese or overweight
- Eating close to bedtime
- Drinking beverages like alcohol, coffee, tea, or carbonated drinks
- Taking pills like ibuprofen, aspirin, blood pressure medications, or muscle relaxers
What a PPI does is it neutralizes stomach acid to relieve your body from heartburn. While this is the more commonly sought method of relieving acid reflux, there is actually a better solution available to you. There is the traditional method and the natural method. Allow us to explain.
The Traditional Method
The common way to treat acid reflux is by using a prescribed PPI like the ones mentioned above. Surprisingly, while heartburn medication relieves the symptoms of acid reflux temporarily, it also harms your health in a few ways.
The first reason PPI can actually worsen acid reflux is due to SIBO. This is harmful bacteria that colonizes the small intestines by outnumbering the good bacteria within your body. PPIs increase your risk of developing SIBO leading to common symptoms of gas and bloating.
Additionally, it’s important to understand that the traditional method of treating reflux will not stop this problem completely but reduce the symptoms. Over time, PPI intake can damage your esophagus by creating inflammation resulting in your condition to become worse over time.
Another way that PPIs harm your health is it slows down your digestive system. Slower digestion is involved with acid reflux because when the acidity in your body decreases, your digestion becomes slower. In order for digestive enzymes to work and become active, they need to be at a certain pH and PPIs prohibit them from doing so.
Finally, we’d like to include that there is a reduced absorption of minerals and vitamins when taking this medication since stomach acid is so important for the absorption of nutrients. Nutrients vulnerable to low acidity include:
- Vitamin B12
So Why Are Proton Pump Inhibitors So Popular?
You may be asking yourself why PPIs are often prescribed by medical professionals if they are not a long-term therapy. Not only this but taking this type of medicine can increase acid reflux in the long run.
The answer to their popularity is they are part of a billion-dollar business. The first PPI to come out in the market was Omeprazole and it was immediately a hit among consumers. Consequently, when the patent ran out for the drug, generic tablets being brought forward began to threaten profits.
You can recognize PPIs by their suffix – prazole. Well-known brand names include:
- Omeprazole – Prilosec
- Lansoprazole – Prevacid
- Pantoprazole – Protonix
- Rabeprazole – Pariet
- Esomeprazole – Nexium
The Natural Way
Surprisingly, there are better solutions to acid reflux than heartburn medications for they can do more harm than good to your body. They increase pH levels, absorb vitamins and minerals leading to other health issues. So, what is the best solution for acid reflux? The answer lies in diet and ridding your body of anti-acids.
Diet is one of the key solutions to acid reflux and is much more effective than heartburn medication. Developing a well-functioning digestive system is one of the best ways of treating this disease and you can do so by maintaining a healthy diet.
Additionally, if you have already begun to intake PPI’s and realized they are not the right solution for you, you need to slowly come off of the medication. Doing it abruptly will result in a rebound effect increasing acid production and worsening acid reflux symptoms.
It’s also advised to learn more about this disease and its solutions. Reliable sites like Refluxgate can really help answer questions and clarify any concerns you may have about this condition.