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Relieving GERD Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Naturally

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

In this article, I want to cover gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as reflux disease or GERD, is something I've touched on a lot in my past article and videos. However, if you've tried the usual home remedies and they haven't been working, this is the follow-up article on what you should do next. If that's you, you're in the right place. But first, let me break down what GERD is.

Here we will cover: -

  1. What is GERD?
  2. Traditional GERD treatments
  3. Relieving GERD Naturally
Woman holding chest due to esophagus reflux and esophageal pain | Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treatment

What is GERD?

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a situation where you have stomach acid coming up into your esophagus, which is called acid reflux. The esophagus is the tube that connects your throat—also known as the pharynx—to the stomach.

Now, keep in mind that stomach acid, under normal conditions, should never come up through your esophagus and cause esophageal pain. Your esophageal lining isn't made to withstand your stomach acid, which is why you experience heartburn. Heartburn is the sensation of stomach acid when it begins burning the lining of the esophagus.

Along with acid reflux, you can also have other secondary symptoms and effects of gastroesophageal reflux disease. This includes poor digestion, a sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. GERD can even promote esophageal cancer.

If you have GERD, your doctor may have done an endoscopy. An endoscopy is a test where they put a tube with a light and camera down your throat and into your esophagus to check for esophageal inflammation.

If you think you may have GERD or you have already been diagnosed, I have some fantastic home remedies for you to try. Before we get into that, let's talk about the potential problems with traditional GERD treatments.

Traditional GERD treatments

If you see a medical professional, you are likely to be told that you need to make "lifestyle changes." Of course, the term "lifestyle changes" is incredibly vague, and they won't go into specifics. This advice is not so helpful for most. After this advice, you may be given prescription medications. If that doesn't work, they could recommend surgery.

The problem is, most people don't specify the right foods you should eat if you have GERD. This is surprising considering the fact that GERD isn't directly a problem with the esophagus; it's a problem with the stomach acid. Reflux is a symptom of problems going on in the stomach—problems in the esophagus are only signs of a deeper problem.

One remedy that most people start with for GERD is an antacid or anti-acid reflux pill. This may be one of the most popular over-the-counter medications today. Essentially, what these do is they weaken your stomach's acid by making it more alkaline. This can bring temporary relief because the antacids lower the stomach acid's acidity when you have reflux, resulting in less pain in your esophagus.

However, you have to continue to take them, or the esophagus pain comes right back. This is why the antacid industry is a 9.5 billion dollar industry—those who start taking them are stuck taking them for esophagus pain relief.

There are numerous side effects of reflux medications. The most commonly used type of medication for reflux or GERD is called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Proton pump inhibitors produce a long-lasting acid-reducing effect. Unfortunately, these drugs have some very nasty side effects.

Proton pump inhibitors increase your risk of death by 25%, your risk of dementia by 44%, your risk of a heart attack by 20%, and your risk of stomach cancer by 50%. These numbers are totally INSANE, and yet patients are still being prescribed these medications for esophagus reflux.

Moreover, these medications can make matters far worse. Your stomach needs to be highly acidic for your digestion and immune system. Nutrients will go undigested without the help of strong stomach acid, leaving you with nutrient deficiencies, constipation, indigestion, bloating, and gas.

You also need strong stomach acid to fight off bad bacteria. Your gut contains an ecosystem of helpful bacteria. These bacteria are able to survive in stomach acid when it's at normal pH levels. Bad bacteria, however, are not. When your stomach's pH is more alkaline, bad bacteria can grow out of control and throw off your ecosystem in the long-term.

Don't forget that low stomach acidity is the problem in the first place. Remember how we talked about the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) earlier? For the LES to function correctly and keep stomach acid out of your esophagus, you need a highly acidic stomach. Antacids and PPIs ruin your stomach's pH and cause far more long-term problems.

Diagram of the esophagus and acid reflux | Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treatment


Relieving GERD Naturally

I have some easy remedies that may really make a difference if you have GERD or acid reflux. These home remedies can help restore your stomach's acidity and address the true problem. The best part is that you can try these things at home. Take a look.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar + Betaine Hydrochloride

Apple cider vinegar and betaine hydrochloride are the best things to start off with if you have a problem with acid reflux or GERD. These are natural stomach acidifiers. Once your stomach's pH is where it should be (between 1 and 3), then your lower esophageal sphincter may begin to function normally again.

You can have apple cider vinegar and betaine hydrochloride before your meals. These are easy to find in capsule form. At first, you may have to take 3-6 capsules to really increase your stomach's acidity. Over time, you may find that the esophageal pain and acid reflux has disappeared.

If you take these and you experience pain in your stomach, this could be a sign of a different condition altogether. Often this may be a problem with gastritis or an ulcer. In this case, stop taking them right away and ask your doctor for an endoscopy.

2. Probiotics

The next thing you want to consider is your lower intestinal bacteria. Friendly gut bacteria can help balance your stomach's acidity. They can also help take the stress off of other parts of the digestive system. If your microbiome is lacking the healthy bacteria you need, you can have numerous digestive problems, including reflux issues.

Probiotics are bacteria that you can ingest to help restore your body's healthy flora. A good probiotic may make a world of difference. One of the best types of probiotics for gastroesophageal reflux is effective microbes. See if that helps.

If probiotics make things worse, it could be that you have something called SIBO. SIBO stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. This is when you have far too much bacteria in your small intestine. In this case, it's best to stay away from most vegetables for a short amount of time.

3. Cabbage

One of the best vegetables for your digestive system is cabbage. It seems to have a soothing effect. Try having some cabbage—it can be any form, including boiled cabbage, coleslaw, or sauerkraut. This may help soothe reflux pain.

Try out these remedies for gastroesophageal reflux disease and see if they work for you.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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