I was vegetarian when I first started suffering from acid reflux. Apple cider vinegar, ginger chews and almonds would offer temporary relief from heartburns. The medication prescribed by doctors, a proton pump inhibitor, did not seem to make a difference. I started avoiding the foods that would trigger heartburns, which did help. But identifying these foods was far from obvious. Mine did not fit the usual list. Spicy, and fatty foods did not bother me. Some acidic foods did and others not.
But even when I did not have heartburns, I could not lay down to sleep because I would feel the burn come up to my throat, nose, ears and gums. My doctor diagnosed me with a loose lower esophagal sphincter (LES). This meant that the sphincter at the entrance to the stomach could no longer completely close up, which explains the backflow of stomach acid when laying down. Like many, I refused to take medication which lowered the level of acid in the stomach instead of addressing the real problem: the loose LES.
In the end, what really worked for me was probiotics and a dietary change. I tried the candida diet and later the Paleo diet, which have many similarities. The purpose of the candida diet is to eliminate the bad bacteria from one's body, especially from the stomach, by cutting out the foods that feed them and by promoting the growth the good bacteria. The philosphical premise of the Paleo diet is that, to be healthy, a person should eat a diet resembling what man ate before the advent of agriculture. This means primarily meat/fish/poultry and vegetables, with a few fruits and nuts. Of the fruits, one should only eat berries and avoid fruits that have been bred throughout time to be high in sugar. In addition to sugar, the main other thing to avoid is grains, since these are a product of agriculture, and were therefore not meant to be eaten (according to proponents of the diet). But the candida diet, sugar and carbs (most of which come from grains) are exactly the foods that feed the bad bacteria in the gut. The other similarity between the 2 diets I noticed is that both tended to eliminate chronic conditions of various sorts. Many followers of the Paleo diet have declared having fewer health issues and just feeling better overall.
After a month of taking probiotics and avoiding sugar and grains/carbs, I noticed I could lay down to sleep again. My tolerance for what used to be my trigger foods seemed to have increased as well. I am hoping to slowly phase out the probiotics, and just continue to eat well.
Side thought on the vegetarian versus meat-based diet: I was vegetarian primarily because I did not enjoy eating meat. However, I had IBS for as long as I could remember and the vegetarian diet did not do anything to alleviate the problem. I found it hard to incorporate what I thought was a healthy amount of veggies and ate large amounts of pasta and rice instead. But on a meat-based diet, I found that veggies, especially leafy greens, were much easier to include in meals. And I was using more spices too. I no longer suffer from IBS. And while I still do not always enjoy the taste of meat, I believe it to be the best source of protein. TVP-based fake meat products seem too processed. Soybeans has its own controversies (of which you can find discussions on the web). And the fact that beans make people fart is a sure sign that they are not easy to digest. Of course there are a lot of meat products that one should avoid. I always try to get the highest quality stuff I can find.
Finally, I would like to offer a list of resources that helped me find my way to better health:
* your doctor: only he can give you a proper diagnosis and let you know the true culprit in the matter.
* the web: this website and others like it were not only a source of information, for remedies to try, but also support
* books: there are numerous books that offer alternatives to medication. The one by Ms. Whittekin was particularly helpful and extensive in its coverage of solutions. I learned that marshmallow root and slippery elm will help heal the throat by coating it, and this was the book that initially introduced me to the candida diet. "Good calories, bad calories" is an important book that will reshape the way you think about food, especially regarding the latest opinions on what food is considered healthy and what is not.
* yourself: maintain a food and symptom diary, research your options and experiment. Good luck!
Barring there are no underlying conditions & there is 'typical' acid reflux then diet is essential. Poor food combining added to diminished enzymes & hydrochloric acid production causes food to rot. Enzymes & digestive acid production decline with age due to the constant eating of lifeless cooked foods. I am not recommending a raw food diet as all foods cannot be eaten raw. 1/4 to 1 tsp of air dried pink salt in a glass of water in the a.m. stimulates hydrochloric acid production. Enzymes may be taken before each major meal, not after, & followed by betaine hydrochloride after the meal. Dr. David Brownstein, M. D. wrote a small book on salt which is helpful for many ailments. Dr. Bob Marshall, PHd, CNC has a site that addresses these issues.
Hi Sheila; Yes, it is an "acid thing" to me too because I'm still trying to give it a figure. Whatever this thing is, It's been "Born Slippy" to my gripe. (possibility of a joke here). I'm still rummaging through my diet and supplements to find which acids trouble me at this time.
In Truth, these acids have nothing that's wrong about them, but I am not metabolizing them correctly for now. I cannot take aspirin or even White Willow Bark For now. (high in salicylic acid) Foods high in salicylates don't seem to be a problem.
Foods high in citric acid are troublesome now. I may have moderate amounts of naturally fermented foods. (lactic acid) Acetic acids are also troublesome now. Even Rose Hips tea caused a disturbance. (ascorbic acid and citric acid) I have trouble metabolizing sulfur. It is acidic, but moreover, the body conducts a very complex process with it in order to use it. (when I try to understand what all the liver does in this, I have to "roll out the fainting couch"). If sulfur isn't properly methylated, oxidized, etc., its unfinished business will be expressed to and from an unhappy colon.
What brought me to realize that my case was some "gross acidosis", was (I must admit this), 5 years of Hcl supplementation. I began it after a lifetime of digestive ills that peaked with a 3 month period of upper stomach pain, projectile vomiting, and dry heaves. (liver problems too) Scope showed no ulcer, no H. Pylori, but there was inflammation. After research, I began Hcl with Betaine (sounds like beet uh een). My results were great, and I could eat well. After a couple of years, I began to have negative symptoms that seemed unrelated to the Hcl. (no stomach pain). After 5 yrs., there was pain nearly everywhere but the stomach. I increased Hcl. Pain increased. Kidney pain increased exponentially. Ted's words, "acid kidney", came to mind.
I went for a scan. The results were; No stones, no obstructions in kidney, but a small liver lesion and a small hiatal hernia. I stopped Hcl. The pain began to subside. I now have somewhat low stomach acid, but I choose B-complex with an extra pinch of niacin to treat it. These are the acids that I may have.
The rewards for the practice of finding my troublesome acids are: no more kidney pain, minimized liver and stomach pain, much reduced bleeding, (purpura, gums), very few canker sores, (autoimmune), and very few shingles outbreaks, (herpes). I am now able to slowly reduce my meds. I have learned this practice from reading the brilliant posts here, and I am again grateful. Connie
About 10 years ago, I went to my doctor with complaints of heartburn. Refered to specialist. Scoped and diagnosed acid reflux. Presciption. I asked the doctor if I would be taking this the rest of my life, he said yes. I determined that I would not. After 3 months and 3 different precriptions that made me feel worse I quit taking them. Felt better right away, but still had heartburn sometimes. I now know in my case it is chocolate. Just a small amount can make me feel like i'm having a heart attack hours later. Experiment, don't let them put you on a lifetime of prescriptions that will make you sicker.
Bowling Green, Kentucky, Usa
Ballymena, Northern Ireland
For laryngopharyngeal acid reflux, I must stick to small meals, stop eating 3 1/2 hours before lying down and avoid all fats. How then can I maintain my weight? Is the fat in nuts or avocadoes OK? I have been eating sunflower seeds and cashews because I have them around the house and they are fattening. What are good fattening foods, and how far apart should meals be taken?
I want to share my recent experiance after useing prilosec OTC prescribed for acid reflux by my Dr. I recently had an endo scope and the Dr removed several polips from my stomach that he said was caused by long term use of prilosec OTC. I just went back for a follow up visit and he wants me to have another endo scope in six months because he is concerned about two of the polips he removed. He informed me that in order to get an accurate test for h pylori which can cause acid reflux a person must be off of any type of meds such as prilosec OTC for 6 weeks prior to the test. He said all of the meds for reflux treatment cause polips. With this being said I received some information in the mail from a farmer that said people must have the high acid content in the stomach and when we do not produce enough stomach acid the food in our stomach does not digest completely but it ferments and then backs up as reflux. This can cause malnutrition also. The farmer suggested eating fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, I bought Bubbies old world receipe from the health food store because it has no sugar vinegar or preservatives in it. I also bought a cow share so I can start drinking organic Raw Milk which contains enzymes and has cancer fighting abilities in it. I will get my first gallon of raw milk tomorrow. Because of processed foods and chemicals in our food it has harmed our stomachs and over all health. I am working on going on an all raw diet and juicing. A good juice for acid reflux is orgainc carrots, apples, potatoes. Also the keefer grain is something that is better than even yogurt. I will be making this with my raw milk. The butter fat in raw milk is very healthy, the body knows how to use it and benefit from it and one can actually loose weight from it, I know this goes contrary to what we are taught! I have been off of prilosec OTC for a few days and am doing well! I use a little malt vinager which helps when needed. Malt vinegar seems to work better for me than Heinz apple cider vinegar perhaps cider vinegar is best if it still has the mother in it. Eating light meals also helps. I hope my story helps someone else. God bless.
I am writing to tell you of a discovery I made when I stopped eating carbs for weight loss. As long as I kept off carbs, I had no, zero, nada acid reflux! So, I have come to the conclusion that for myself, carbs are the cause of my acid reflux. It is hard to avoid carbs without planning and it takes a week to clear the sugars from your muscles and liver...but soon you will not have cravings for carbs and I hope, no more acid reflux. Good luck!
To Rosetta from Rogers, Ark.
07/18/2008: Rosetta from Rogers, Arkansas writes: "Thankyou. My husband has tried prescription drugs for his acid reflux.Nothing seems to help. I am going to go and buy apple cider vinegar.Thankyou so much.I will let you know how it works.Your site is like a breath of fresh air.
Hi Rosetta, If you diligently work at eliminating all bleached flour from your husband's diet, you might find that you also eliminate his acid reflux problem that nothing helps. It works for me and I can tell you that unless breads and cereals state l00% whole grain, they aren't, and probably contain some bleached flour. You will also find that many products contain both bleached and unbleached flour. The above has been working for me for over 30 years now. I don't know what it is in the bleaching process that creates the problem, but since I can eat whole grains or unbleached products without getting the problem, I know that is where the problem is.
I am age 83. I suffered from canker sores continuously my whole life until 2 years ago when by accident I discovered that I had celiac disease, that is gluten intolerance. Since going on a gluten-free diet I have not had even one canker sore. NADA! Also the acid reflux that I had all my adult life has also almost completely gone away.
Port Washington, NY
Just a note on what has helped me with acid reflux. I was really suffering badly from this for several months, I tried a lot of different diets, and also ACV baking soda and bentonite clay. None of these helped me significantly. I came across an article from a natural health practitioner who stated that he was able to cure many of his clients from acid reflux by giving them a strict low carbohydrate diet to follow. I immediately went out and bought a couple of the low carb books and read them as fast as possible to learn how to do this type of diet. I started the next day, and I have not had any major problem since (3 years) -- I do occasionally still get some acid reflux if I eat too many starchy foods. If I follow a low carb diet reasonably strictly, I have minimal problems. Once you learn how, it is easy, and also keeping your insulin levels low helps with many other health conditions.
Acid Reflux: I was given a prescription for antacids from my doctor to deal with acid reflux. I was suffering from a persistnet cough, mainly in the morning and often throughout the day. I could tell it was not a flu-related cough. My naturopath friend advised me to stop drinking and eating at the same time. I tried it for a week and my cough stopped. I drink at least a half hour or more before or after a meal or even after something as small as a donut. I am very concious about separating the two processes. Try it, it works! It is all to do with the fact that the stomach can not digest food properly with liquid in it. As a result the acid builds up and causes reflux. Simple.
Meats stay in the digestive system for many days.To increase digestive acid take 1/4-1/2 tsp. "pink salt" with meals per day.Stay away from pasteurized dairy, & sugar.Eat more raw greens than cooked.Baking soda will work in emergency however the salt content is too much for frequent use. Try "Raw" unheated honey,2 tbsp.in 1 cup Perrier or other naturally carbonated water. Penta water is alkaline.Take "Megazymes" after meals for routine maint.Turmeric is very good for digestion,1/2-1 tsp.& promotes healthy flora.Great herbs are thistle leaves as a tea or calamus root, a small 1/4-1/2 dried root tucked between lip & gum works very well & is great for bad food from restaurants.Allow to disolve in mouth.
Doctor said I probably had acid reflux and prescribed the "purple pill". It made me sick and I never used it again. My husband suggested that I check my Ph balance. Low and behold I was on the acidic side. I then researched the internet and found foods that are acidic and avoided them. I also found out that we lose our good bacteria in our stomach due to the antibiotics we have taken over the years. To solve this problem I take acidophillis each day. I also take a few "Chorella" pills daily.(the green pills) As long as I avoid the "acid" foods, my body does well. There has to be a balance of acid/alkaline foods eaten daily. I am 65 years young and have advised my children that they had better watch their diets. I find that the majority of folks can't seem to part with their "SODA" or "COLA"(caffeine) each day. Beware, this is one of the major culprits of acid reflux. When you go into a restaurant always order water with lemon. This will help your stomach before you indulge.
I'm in my sixties and I started getting awful acid reflux a couple of weeks ago, along with belching which I had never had before. Sunday, 2/3/08, I decided to try a few things, not the least of which was to eliminate the 12oz. bottle of beer I was having every day. I also started eating smaller meals and including apple sauce and yogurt daily as my desserts. And also started concentrating on alkaline-producing foods. I'll never know what did it, altho I think it was eliminating the alcohol, but it is 4 days out (2/7) and I have had no acid reflex or belching since Sunday when I went 'clean. I am so very happy there is this internet with such a wealth of information which helped me Sunday morning to get a grip on this condition.
I don't use painkillers of any kind nor have I used antibiotics in many years yet I just developed acid reflux. In my case I've led a stressful life up until now. I believe that if you lead a stressful life, eat when you're stressed or very upset, it won't make a bit of difference how good your diet is, you simply contaminate the digestive process. do this often enough you establish the problem and become susceptible to many things, natural and unnatural. I currently subscribe to the ACV cure as well as a multi-herbal tea drink consisting of fenugreek, ginger, caraway seed, and slippery elm that I make up myself. Other than that I am attempting to stay away from coffee and anything like nuts that will irritate. I eat soft foods, mostly root vegetables (not potatoes). As someone who takes complete responsibility for the creation of my own good or bad health, I'm hopeful to cure the problem and be able to enjoy life again.