Got Acid Reflux?
-Dr. Jonathan Arkin
Acid reflux is a disorder that affects millions of Americans every year, and unfortunately the common treatments for it are horribly ineffective. Acid reflux, commonly called GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is when we have a backsplash of acidic material from the stomach into the Esophagus. Not only is this a horrible, sometimes nightly occurrence for people. It is also associated with some nasty co-morbidities such as stricture and/or cancer of the esophagus.
Our bodies are hyper intelligent and there is a valve at the bottom of our esophagus which keeps us from experiencing heartburn under normal levels. Therefore, we can do a handstand and not have all the food we just ate pour out of our mouths (sorry for the imagery). Now this valve is normally shut but will become relaxed when we swallow, the passage of food into our digestive tract activate another reflex which will then re-tighten the valve at the bottom of the esophagus.
Normally our lower esophagus has a reflex that keeps it tightly shut at rest, this protects us from acid splashing up and causing that terrible “heartburn feeling”. However, when we have low levels of stomach acid the reflex does not activate, and we will have a relatively “open” valve. Now we experience the horror of heartburn.
Modern medicine typically will give antacids in order to be the first line of defense for heartburn. Unfortunately this is a terrible way to combat acid reflux, and will only provide temporary relief. This is because we are only making the problem worse. We have low stomach acid, so we get heartburn, so we lower our stomach acid, this leads to even more heartburn and so on and so forth.
Having low stomach acid will lead to not only this acid reflux, but also to many other problems such as;
- poor digestion (we need the stomach acid to break our food down, so we can absorb it),
- poor immune function (there is a high relationship to both gastric tumors and pneumonia),
- even bone fractures! (because we cannot absorb the food, we cannot digest giving us nutritional deficiencies leading to weak bones).
A much better approach to Acid reflux is to increase your stomach acid! This can be done by supplementation, by dietary improvements, by exercise, and our personal favorite…..by improving brain function! We sometimes prescribe a stomach acid (HCL) supplement, to begin the process of increasing your stomach acid, while we work on your brain health. We can also do exercises for your Vagus nerve which will increase the amount of HCL in the stomach and will also increase the rate at which your gastric tract contract’s! This is a one, two, knockout punch to eliminate heart burn and dramatically improve digestion!
Look out for another article on the many other benefits of having you Vagus nerve function better.
P.S. Here is a previous post on breathing and exercise’s you can do to help with GERD
P.S.S a few additional resources for you to learn about Acid Reflux😊