Do Antacid Tablets Work?

Do Antacid Tablets Work?

Millions of people take antacid medications either over the counter or prescribed by their physician to quell what they believe to be is excess acid in their stomach contributing to their heartburn and acid reflux pain.  The numbers of people relying on these medications are rising every year.  Experts are concerned that there is daily overuse of these medications.  So, do antacid tablets work, why and how?

What are Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Antacids

Antacids are acid neutralizing products.  Conventional thought is that your stomach is producing too much stomach acidstomach acid and it needs to be neutralized. For the desired effect, they will do the job. Antacids come in tablets, liquid or chews. Some dissolve in water. Each of the below antacids has their own acid buffering ingredient.  It’s important to know the differences of the active ingredients to make sure you are taking something that won’t aggravate a health condition or cause one.

Examples of popular over the counter antacids are:

  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Rolaids
  • Tums
  • Amphojel
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Mylanta
  • Gaviscon

Brands, Ingredients, and Warnings:

  • Alka-Selzer – contains sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. It also contains aspirin. If you suffer from high blood pressure, this is not the acid neutralizer you need. If you are taking blood thinning medication you’ll want to avoid Alka Seltzer due to the aspirin. Children below the age of 18 should never take aspirin as it can bring on a serious condition called Reye’s Syndrome.
  • Tums, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids – contains calcium carbonate.  Because Tums contains calcium, someTums-americas-no-1-antacid doctors recommend taking Tums or these other brands as calcium supplements.  NEVER do this! Calcium can only be absorbed if it is accompanied by Vitamin D, K2, and magnesium. Tums does not contain either of these vitamins. Free circulating calcium is not healthy and can be damaging to organs and contribute to artery plaque. Calcium carbonate can also cause constipation.
  • Amphojel – This product contains Aluminum Hydroxide. Aluminum is a highly controversial mineral. If it’s not eliminated via the kidneys, it will store in the bones, liver, muscle, and brain.  Adverse health effects have been shown in studies on animals.  Aluminum is found in our environment and our food, but the biggest amounts consumed are in the form of antacids.  Experts believe the true dangers of long term aluminum containing antacid use is seen over a period of time. Most studies have not followed up to reveal these long term effects. Aluminum based antacids are also not as effective or strong as other antacids and are less potent.  They can cause constipation and calcium loss. If you suffer from kidney disease, do not take aluminum based antacids.
  • Gaviscon – If you’re looking to protect the esophagus, an antacid like Gaviscon contains a foaming agent, alginic acid, that blocks the stomach acid from entering it.

Proton Pump Inhibitors/H2 Blockers

Antacids neutralize the acid in your stomach, proton pump inhibitors reduce the amount of stomach acidnexium-prevacid-prilosec2 produced in the wall of the stomach. If you are suffering from ulcers in the stomach or esophagus, or if you suffer from GERD, your doctor may recommend Proton Pump inhibitors in order to heal the ulcers or reduce heartburn.  

Examples of H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors:

  • Nexium, Nexium IV, Nexium 24 hr.
  • Prevacid, Prevacid IV, Prevacid 24 hr.
  • Prilosec
  • Dexilent
  • Yosprala
  • Vimovo
  • Protonix
  • Zegerid

Proton Pumps are similar in action and there is no evidence to suggest that taking one over the other is more effective. However, they differ with how they are broken down by the liver and each may have their own and different drug interactions.  The effects of some may last longer than others too.

It’s important to take the lowest dose possible and for the shortest duration of time to avoid vitamin deficiencies and health problems.

Reducing stomach acid with proton pump inhibitor use is not good for future digestive health. Our bodies need strong stomach acid to digest our food and assimilate certain vitamins for proper absorption.  Use with caution and care and always under the supervision of your doctor.

A More Natural And Effective Approach

Using an antacid product or proton pump inhibitor product may be useful and in some cases necessary in the short term, but clearly, long term use can cause worse digestive issues.  It is always best to find the root cause of your stomach issues and heal them naturally.  For more natural heartburn remedies that are effective read here.

In conclusion,

Antacids are used to neutralize stomach acid for the occasional discomfort of heartburn. These products do what they are intended to do.  The ingredients in antacids can be dangerous for the young and contraindicated for others. For instance, any antacid with aspirin cannot be taken by those under the age of 18 or those on blood thinning medications.

Antacids that contain calcium should never be used as a supplement, although many are, due to the danger of free calcium in the bloodstream.

Antacids that contain aluminum are not well studied to be harmless to toxicity in the human body. If you suffer from kidney disease, these should be avoided.aluminum hydroxide

Antacids are different than Proton Pump Inhibitors. Proton Pump Inhibitors reduce stomach acid. Reducing stomach acid has long range health implications and should only be used for a very short duration of time.

Finding the root cause of your digestive issues is important. Future health problems are implicated in ignoring or masking heartburn, reflux, and other stomach issues. If you are serious about getting off the OTC antacid or Proton Pump Inhibitor train, sign up for this free webinar to get to the root of your problems and finally get the healing you need.

Please comment if you have any questions about this article.StomachProblems_300x250

14354940_1147966088611029_3013149574780621067_n(4) Linda is a Certified Functional Health Coach

 

 

Best Wedge Pillow for Acid Reflux

The Best Wedge Pillow For Acid Reflux

If you experience acid reflux at night, using a wedge pillow can help tremendously until you can identify the root cause of your acid reflux or GERD. Read on to find the best wedge pillow for acid reflux/GERD because not just any wedge pillow will do.

Possible Causes Of Acid Reflux/GERD

stomach pain

There are some common causes of acid reflux and some uncommon reasons too.  To understand a few the dynamics of what is happening you’ll want to know what the sphincter muscle is.

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a ring of muscles between the esophagus and stomach. The LES is usually tight and taut so the contents of your stomach stay out of the esophagus.  When you eat food or drink the sphincter muscles relax so the food and drink can pass through to the stomach.  The sphincter muscles tighten up again after all the food reaches the stomach.

People who suffer from reflux/GERD have sphincter muscles that are weak or too relaxed. When acid flows back into the esophagus, pain and burning is the result.

Typical Reasons

  • Pregnancy.  Pregnancy is a very common reason why you may be experiencing heartburn.  Not only is the fetus pressing on your digestive organs causing acid to back up into the esophagus, the hormones related to pregnancy relax the sphincter muscle.  
  • Obesity. Being obese also results in a more relaxed sphincter due to the pressure exerted on the stomach organs.
  • A Hiatal hernia.  This condition also causes pressure on the diaphragm and loosens the sphincter muscles.
  • Smoking.
  • Alcohol.
  • Many medications. Including Ibuprofen, aspirin, osteoporosis drugs, iron supplements, high blood pressure medications, anti-anxiety drugs and some antidepressants.
  • Tight garments. Tight fitting clothes put pressure on the abdomen.
  • Certain foods. These foods cause the esophageal sphincter to relax during their digestion. They include coffee, chocolate, fatty foods, whole milk, peppermint, and spearmint.man eating a hamburger
  • Too little stomach acid.  If your body is not producing enough stomach acid, you are not digesting your food.  The contents of the stomach which under normal circumstances will propel into the small intestine, now back up to the esophagus.

Using a wedge pillow is an inexpensive and effective way to help manage the condition and symptoms of heartburn until you can work on the root causes(s).

Why a Wedge Pillow?

Experts say that elevating the upper torso and head by 6 inches when going to bed is an effective way to keep the acid from backing up into the esophagus.  It takes gravity to keep acid out of the esophagus and keeping the upper part of your body elevated is a necessary thing to do.

An effective wedge pillow will gently raise the head by sloping the upper torso gently into an elevated position.  Some pillows are uncomfortable and raise the head too much, some too little. Some don’t elevate the torso or don’t start at the part of the body that will be effective in combating the acid from traveling up.

A wedge pillow has other benefits too.  It can help with snoring, asthma, colds, upper respiratory illnesses and allergies by keeping the airways more open.

You can sleep on your side comfortably with a wedge pillow too.

Things to look for in your Wedge Pillow

  • Should be at least 28 inches long to allow for a gentle climb.
  • Should have a removable cover so it can be washed.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • No latex or volatile organic compounds or flame retardants.
  • No mercury, lead or other heavy metals.
  • No formaldehyde, no ozone depleters, and no phthalates.

Recommendations


Medslant  medslant wedge certification

PROSmedslant

  • Medslant pillows are made in the USA.  Products that are made outside of the USA may be manufactured with volatile organic compounds and strong vapors that can make you sick.
  • Medslant wedges are one of the widest in the industry. Almost the half size of a queen bed so you can move around at night comfortably.
  • The Medslant pillow gradually inclines to 7 inches for a more comfortable sleeping position.
  • Dimensions provide the necessary height for GERD relief- 30-inches wide X 32 inches long x 7-inches high.
  • Weight: 4 pounds.
  • Memory foam is 1 inch thick.
  • An Amazon.com best seller

CONS

$$$$ Expensive  at $99.95


Miracle Wedge PillowMiracle wedge illustrationMiracle Wedge pillow memory foam

PROS

  • Miracle Wedge is made in the U.S.
  • 100% High-Density ECO Memory Foam
  • Dimensions are acceptable as being effective For GERD relief – 24″ long x 24″ wide x 7.5″ high
  • Includes a washable removable zippered cover pillow case.
  • Doesn’t shift during the night.  Good for side sleeping.
  • 3 ½ Star rating from Amazon

CONS

  • The memory foam can smell and has to be aired out before use.
  • Some complaints about the product losing its shape after a few uses.

$$$ Moderate price @ $67.97


Avana Bed Wedgeavana wedge pillow

PROS

  • Avana is made in the USA
  • Perfect for side sleepers.
  • Memory foam layer atop a base of firm polyurethane foam.  Provides comfort and support
  • Cover is both removable and machine washable
  • Product dimensions provide the necessary height for GERD relief – 35L x 24W x 8H
  • Height is more than other wedge pillows, so if you suffer from moderate to severe GERD, this may help better.

CONS

  • Some complain that it is too firm
  • Not as wide as the Medslant, which may be an issue if you move a lot in your sleep.

$$$$ Expensive @ 99.00 Amazon


Back Support SystemsWedge pillow for acid reflux

PROS

  • Back Support Systems is made in the USA and Eco-Friendly.
  • Ideal for back and side sleepers.
  • The one inch memory foam on top supports your weight comfortably.
  • Dimensions are suitable for GERD symptom relief –
  • 32 Inch width making it long enough to move around when sleeping.

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not many reviews on Amazon, but the product is quality.

$$$$ Expensive at $119.97 @ Amazon


In conclusion, GERD and reflux symptoms can be reduced at night with a wedge pillow specially designed for these health conditions.  If the slant of the pillow is too short or the height is not at least 7 inches, then you will not get the benefits of relief of symptoms.

My favorite is the Medslant.  The founder created the pillow for relief of her GERD symptoms and she designed a highly effective product.

I would love to hear how the pillow you choose works for you, please leave a comment below!

14354940_1147966088611029_3013149574780621067_n(4)Linda is a Certified Integrative and Functional Health Coach

 

 

Natural Heartburn Relief

Natural Heartburn Relief

Heartburn is one of the most common complaints people have. Heartburn is a feeling of burning in your chest. It’s a symptom of acid reflux or GERD.  Getting to the bottom of your reflux or GERD is essential, but in the meantime, I’ve outlined some natural heartburn relief methods you can incorporate today to start feeling better.

Masking heartburn with over the counter medicine or natural remedies will not solve the problem.  A good lifestyle plan needs to be put in place so you can recover from this digestive ailment.

Symptoms of Heartburnheartburn

Certain foods or drinks can trigger heartburn in people. Heartburn is a sensation of burning in the chest.  It’s due to stomach acid backing up in the esophagus. The esophagus is about 10 inches long. It’s a muscular organ that connects the throat to the stomach. It is also called the food pipe. A person experiences heartburn in the upper and central part of the chest just behind the breast bone.

Reasons For Heartburn

Most experts tell you to stay away from spicy dishes, fatty foods and fried foods when you are suffering from heartburn.  These foods may trigger heartburn, but HOW you eat is more important than WHAT you eat according to experts.  The evidence for avoiding certain foods to reduce heartburn is just not there.

  • Eating Too Close To Bedtime. Digesting food while in a reclining position or lying down is a pretty good way to ensure heartburn. The contents of your belly don’t have the benefit of the gravitational pull of standing or sitting while eating. Try not to eat 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.  If you have GERD, it’s even more important to follow this rule.
  • Snacking All Day Or Eating Too Much Food.  Some dietary theories tell us to eat mini meals all day long, however, this is a good way to get heartburn. Eating too frequently during the day should be avoided.  Also if you tend to eat large meals at one sitting, your stomach may just back some up into the esophagus.
  • Being Obese or Overweight.  Excess weight creates more pressure on your abdomen which can slow the food down as it makes it way through the digestive system.  Also being overweight can put a strain on the sphincter muscle that keeps the contents in your stomach and from being able to back up into the esophagus.
  • Eating The Wrong Foods  As I stated before, there is scant research that links certain foods to heartburn.bad food But that doesn’t mean that certain foods can’t give you heartburn. So if you have bad experiences with certain foods, then you will do yourself a favor by not eating them.  The point is, slightly acidic and spicy foods don’t drive up acid levels in your stomach to cause such bad symptoms.  Think about it, our stomach is filled with stomach acid already, why would a food tip the scale?  Experts say that the stomach makes 2 liters of hydrochloric acid a day!  What difference would a slightly acidic food make?

Natural Remedies For Heartburn

    • Baking Soda– Try one teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in one glass (8 oz) of water. The baking soda neutralizes the acid. You can do this a few times a day.  You should not use this remedy every day.  Baking soda is high in salt and can cause problems long term.
    • Aloe Juice – Aloe Juice is very soothing when applied topically and it’s also soothing when taken internally.  Try drinking a half cup of aloe juice before meals.
    • Elevate Your Head –  Elevate your head 6 inches when you sleep by using a wedge-shaped pillow under your mattress like the therapeutic one shown here. Do not lie down 3 -4 hours before bed.
    • Apple Cider Vinegar – In most cases, acid reflux is caused by too little stomach acid. If you’re not producing enough acid, your sphincter muscle won’t tighten up which creates food and acid to back up into the esophagus. Try adding a little more acid in the form of apple cider vinegar.  Try one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water. (always dilute apple cider vinegar)
    • Bananas and apples – Both fruits buffer acid. Eat a banana a day or try eating an apple a little before bed.
    • Mustard –  Yes that’s right. Mustard is alkalizing and contains a weak acid. Take one teaspoon straight.  Preferably when you feel heartburn coming on.
    • Fresh ginger tea – Cut a tablespoon of fresh ginger and add to a cup of hot water to make fresh ginger tea.  Ginger is known for its ability to calm the stomach.tea

If you need more support with healing your gut, sign up for this free digestive health webinar.

This webinar will help answer these questions plus more. Get the information you need to start healing heartburn and IBS so you can feel better again.

  • Why 70% of those with digestive problems are shocked to learn they’re fighting a losing battle to these two gut triggers.

  • Specific anti-inflammatory foods to eat (and not eat) to stop suffering.

Heal Leaky Gut

Do you have any heartburn remedies to share?  I’d love to hear them.  Please leave a comment.

Linda is a Certified Integrative Health Coach

14354940_1147966088611029_3013149574780621067_n(4)

Foods That Reduce Acid Reflux

Top 10 Foods That Reduce Acid Reflux

Heartburn and acid reflux reduce the quality of life for millions of people. The majority of people self-treat their symptoms and spend over 1.2 billion dollars on over-the-counter antacid and indigestion products every year! These products are not without risk. One study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suggests that seniors are at a greater risk for bone fractures while on these ‘proton-pump’ inhibitors such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid.  There is a lot you can do naturally to reduce or eliminate acid reflux and natural should always be the first step before taking drugs. I am outlining 10 foods that reduce acid reflux so you can get an understanding of how foods and supplements can heal and make a substantial difference in the quality of your life.

What is Gastric Reflux and GERD?

Many people confuse acid reflux with GERD and use the terms interchangeably, but although they are closely related they are different problems.

  • Acid reflux is when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. During an episode of acid reflux, you taste regurgitated food or sour liquid at the back of the throat and possibly a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn).
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux.  Frequent heartburn is one of the symptoms of GERD, so is difficulty swallowing, chest pain and wheezing. The symptoms get worse at night while lying down.

There is another form of reflux and that is called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux.  LPR is a condition where the backflow of food or stomach acid goes into the voice box or the throat. This can happen during the day or at night. Knowing you have LPR can be confusing because most people do not have heartburn and that is because the material does not back up all the way to the esophagus, just to the throat and voice box. It’s still a serious condition because the throat and voice box tissues are more sensitive to injury and irritation.  

Symptoms Of Acid Reflux and GERD

As I explained earlier, acid reflux and GERD are slightly different. GERD being the chronic condition. So GERD symptoms will have all of the symptoms of reflux, plus long-term symptoms.

  • Heartburn    (Reflux and GERD)
  • Chest pain    (Reflux and GERD)
  • Pain after eating   (Reflux and GERD)
  • Bitter taste in mouth    (Reflux and GERD)
  • Sore Throat   (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, Reflux and GERD)
  • Hoarseness    (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, Reflux and GERD)
  • Nausea    (GERD)
  • Trouble swallowing   (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, GERD)
  • Sleep Disturbances   (Reflux and GERD)
  • Cough   (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, GERD)
  • Sinusitis   (GERD)
  • Asthma    (GERD)
  • Middle ear infection   (GERD)
  • Lung disease   (GERD)
  • Barrett’s Esophagus (GERD)
  • Esophageal cancer  (GERD, long-term GERD with Barrett’s esophagus)

All of the above symptoms can be indicative of all digestive reflux disease as with other medical conditions, so it’s always prudent to check with your health professional.

The Gerdq is a diagnostic questionnaire given to patients when GERD is suspected. Answer these questions with how many days a week you experience symptoms.  Add up your points and then compare to the note at the bottom of the chart.

gerdq

The Importance Of Healing Reflux and GERD

Acid reflux can turn into chronic GERD.  As I mentioned before, millions of Americans self-treat their acid reflux symptoms.  This is not wise as the root cause is never addressed and over-the-counter acid blockers can destroy the digestive system and its delicate acid, enzyme, and bacterial balance.

Untreated or self-treated reflux that turns into chronic GERD can result in damage to the esophagus leading to Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where damage and inflammation occur in the esophagus and is associated with an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. This is a rare occurrence but should be taken seriously.foods that reduce acid reflux

Any damage to the esophagus and throat should be addressed immediately. To protect the delicate tissues of the esophagus, supplements that pose as a barrier to the area are important to take while healing your reflux and GERD. Life Extension carries products that protect and heal.

Doctors may prescribe pills that do not address the root cause.  When prescription medications are stopped, symptoms usually reappear after a time. Acid suppression therapies found in antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and histamine 2 receptor blockers can interfere with the absorption of nutrients like iron, vitamin B12 and calcium carries its own risks.

Problems like anemia increases with lack of iron absorption. Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with elevated homocysteine levels which are a risk factor for heart disease.  Impaired calcium absorption carries a risk of deadly hip fracture. So as you can see, medications to manage GERD and reflux come with risks of future health challenges.

Foods That Reduce Acid Reflux and GERD

foods that reduce acid refluxStudies suggest that more than 27% of GERD patients test positive for food allergies and avoiding these allergenic foods resulting in symptom improvement (Pomiecinski 2010).  Food plays a huge part in the development, progression, and reduction of reflux and GERD.  Knowing what foods help and what foods contribute or exacerbate problems is very important to manage your condition.

We think that symptoms of heartburn are due to too much stomach acid, but that is not the case for many.  Too little stomach acid is also a contributor.  How can that be you ask? Stomach acid is needed to emulsify food once in the stomach. Once the food is emulsified, it moves forward to the small intestines.  Everything is propelled in a forward motion. If there is not enough stomach acid to propel the food forward, it backs up into the esophagus.

Foods to eat when TOO MUCH stomach acid is suspected in reflux and GERD

1.Vegetables – include more vegetables in your diet. Preferably with every meal you have. Vegetables help reduce stomach acid because they are naturally low in acid and buffer the acid level. Try green vegetables with every meal like green beans, broccoli, asparagus, and cucumbers.

2.Oatmeal – Oatmeal is low in acid and actually absorbs the acidity from other foods.

3.Rice and Couscous – choose brown rice over white rice for extra fiber. Rice and couscous are very soothing foods for the digestive tract and will not contribute to reflux

4.Potatoes – low in acid and easy to digest.

5.Egg Whites – are low in acid and a good source of protein to replace meat with, which is high in acid. Stay away from the yolks, as they are high in acid.

6.Melons and Bananas – Fruit can be acidic, but melons and bananas are low in acid and can be eaten without triggering reflux.

Foods To Eat When TOO LITTLE Stomach Acid Is Suspected in reflux and GERD

7. Drink Celery Juice – or eat celery with every meal. Celery juice replaces salts and enzymes and will calm reflux. Drink it every day preferably on an empty stomach.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar – Drink before meals to increase acidity to help digest your food and reduce reflux.

9. Gingerhelps stimulate digestive juices. Try 2- 3 cups a day of ginger tea, 2 -3 drops of ginger essential oil in 8 oz of water a day, or add ½ inch of ginger root to a smoothie a day.

10.Fermented Veggies – Foods like Kimchi, Sauer kraut, fermented pickles, fermented veggies improve digestive juices because they contain acids, enzymes, and natural probiotics.

Thrive 25perent off

In Conclusion

Acid reflux and GERD are used interchangeably when in fact there are some differences. GERD is the more chronic and long term condition of reflux.

It is important not to self-treat reflux as millions of Americans do today since chronic GERD can result.  Chronic GERD is associated with esophageal damage leading to Barrett’s syndrome which can result in esophageal cancer.

Drugs to manage reflux can cause nutrient deficiencies leading to other health conditions. It’s important to change your diet and add in those foods that are known to help calm reflux if you know your reflux is caused by either too much or too little stomach acid.

Read here for more information about supplements to heal GERD and reflux.

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this article, I love to hear from you!

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Linda Watson is a Certified Functional Health Coach