It doesn’t seem possible, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It’s a day where we can all enjoy family time and delicious meals...but you may also experience the dreaded heartburn. You know that burning, painful feeling after eating? It isn’t just a Thanksgiving problem. In fact, 30% of people in the United States have heartburn more than once a week.
Heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are all different names for the burning feeling you get when the acid in your stomach is overflowing up into the esophagus. When this happens, you may reach for an antacid. A common misconception of heartburn is there is TOO much acid in your stomach and you need something to decrease it. However, if you regularly experience heartburn, you actually have LOW stomach acid. When you eat something and your brain detects that there isn’t enough in the stomach to digest the food, it turns the acid pumps on full power. Instead of just having a good amount to start with, you end up with a tidal wave of acid that overflows the stomach area and into the esophagus, causing pain, and sometimes even damage. Other signs of poor gut health are mental fog, headaches, allergies, eczema and other skin issues. Most autoimmune disorders can also be affected by gut health. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD are also all problems that are closely tied to gut health.
While it may help temporarily, long-term antacid use pulls calcium from your bones. My solution is to use a supplement that actually boosts your stomach acid. This helps your levels to stay consistent instead of having peaks and valleys. At the office, we offer a supplement called Metagest, that complements the natural production of digestive agents in the stomach.Along with adding Metagest to your diet, there several habits you can change to help control your acid reflux. The first is being aware of which foods are triggers. The following are the most common:
- Carbonated beverages (like soda)
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges or lemons
- Coffee or tea (regular or decaffeinated)
- Fatty or fried foods
- Foods containing tomato, such as spaghetti sauce, salsa, or pizza
- Garlic and onions
- Spicy foods, such as those containing chili or curry
Eating smaller meals will also help. You won’t over-stress the digestion process with smaller amounts of food. Sitting or standing right after you eat will help prevent acid reflux. When your stomach is full to the brim, the esophageal sphincter (the “close valve” between your esophagus and stomach) has pressure on it. When you lie down, this can increase the pressure to the point where some of the stomach acid leaks out, escaping into the esophagus.
Regularly taking aspirin or ibuprofen can cause damage your stomach, affecting its protective lining, which sets you up for heartburn. Other medications like muscle relaxers or certain blood pressure medications can cause the sphincter to relax, allowing the acid to leaks out.
So if you find yourself experiencing frequent heartburn, stop and evaluate what you can change. Do you need to make any dietary changes? Eat smaller meals or avoid snacking before bed? If you have already tried these modifications and are still experiencing acid reflux, then stop by the office today and pick up some Metagest. We want to help you on your wellness journey, even if seems unrelated to the spine!