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)

    Full Spectrum Light Therapy

    Benefits Of Full Spectrum Light Therapy

    Many health disorders can be traced back to insufficient lighting. Most lighting in our homes, schools, and offices lack the full spectrum light of the sun that our bodies require to function optimally. The benefits of full spectrum light therapy is a way to gain back the benefits of naturally healing, naturally beneficial sunlight.

    A long time ago, I read that women out in sunny California had fewer rates of breast cancer than women in the Northeast.  We are told to stay out of the sun for fear of skin cancer, but we may have done ourselves a huge disservice by being afraid of the sun.

    The sun’s rays and their effects on our health go way beyond vitamin D synthesis which most mainstream doctors are concerned about today.  There is certainly reason for concern as vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in the United States. The sun’s rays keep our biological systems running optimally.UV-Spectrum-1024x561

    The Spectrum Of The Sun’s Rays

    Sunlight or solar radiation, is visible at the earth’s surface. Sunlight is broken down into 3 components. They are visible light, ultraviolet light and infrared. Visible light makes up half of the total radiation received by the sun. Infrared rays is responsible for it’s heat producing quality and is the other major percentage of the sun’s radiation. Ultraviolet light is just a small percentage of the sun’s radiation but it’s responsible for producing vitamin D. Pollution robs us of ultraviolet light, thus decreasing our body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D. However, there are other components of sunlight that we haven’t even scratched the surface with yet as far as understanding the biological activity they activate within us. Much more research needs to be done.

    Most of us have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD which affects many people during the cold fall and winter months where there is not a lot of sunlight during the day. Although SAD is a very real problem, it’s not the only health issue brought about by the lack of full-spectrum sunlight. We are all aware of vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight too, but did you know there are many other health conditions that are directly related to lack of sunlight? If you’d like to read more about vitamin D deficiency and gut health and other health problems, click here.Read More About Vitamin D

    Other Health Related Issues Related To Lack Of Sunlight

    • Nearsightedness is on the rise and experts say it’s affecting ⅓ of the earth’s population.  Studies show that kids who spend more time in the sunlight have a lower risk of myopia. (nearsightedness)
    • You have a higher risk of muscular sclerosis if you live above Georgia for the first 10 years of your life.
    • Sleep problems due to the disruption of circadian rhythm.
    • Lowers your immune system exposing you to more colds and flu. The immune system is located primarily in the lining of your gut.
    • A greater risk of breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

    Now that you know how important natural sunlight is and how most Americans are not getting the benefits of natural sunlight that results in many health conditions, it’s time to incorporate technology in our homes, schools, and work that mimic natural sunlight is of the utmost importance.

    Benefits of Full-Spectrum Light

    The goal is to mimic as much as possible our ancestor’s environment where exposure to natural sunlight was abundant in their day to day life.

    To the rescue is modern technology!kelvin light therapy

    Most light boxes do not include infrared or ultraviolet light to protect the eyes and skin from damaging UV light. When purchasing a light box you’ll want to understand the Color Rendering Index or CRI. CRI measures the ability of a light source to render color and runs on a scale of 1-100. Daylight has a CRI between 80-100. Kelvin refers to color temperature. The sun ranges at noon time between 4000 to 6500k (Kelvins). So a 5000K lamp that has a CRI of 80, would be a lamp that mimics sunlight and can be called ‘full-spectrum’.  You want to be careful of claims that say full-spectrum but are actually not.

    You can also find light bulbs that are labeled full-spectrum and are very expensive, but if you can look for the Kelvins and CRI of light bulbs that mimic sunlight as referenced above, you can save some money. So knowing what to look for is important.

    Other Factors To Look For

    • Has the box been clinically tested?
    • Does it provide 10,000 lux of light?
    • Does it deliver light downward mimicking the sun?
    • Is the light diffused evenly?

    Safety – Very Important!

    It is very important to purchase the safest product. Look for these features.

    (1) the absence of UV wavelengths

    (2) a proper diffusing screen

    (3) UL listing.

    Experts believe the addition of UV light is not necessary for full-spectrum light therapy.  Due to the damage UV rays can have on the skin and eyes for long periods of time, a good quality device should not have it.

    A diffusing screen should be included in a quality light therapy device. What a diffuser does is spread the light evenly across the unit to make the light more comfortable for the eyes. 10,000 lux is the highest amount of light that’s been tested in clinical studies and the light should be diffused evenly.   

    UL listing is important to guarantee the safety of the unit. It stands for Underwriters Laboratories. This group tests and certifies electronic products for consumer safety in the U.S.

    So, to save you time in looking on your own, I have provided a list of those full-spectrum light boxes and bulbs that are the best.

    Aurora Light Pad Mini – 10,000 Lux.  The Aurora Light Pad Mini is portable and doctor recommended.

    Alaska Northern Lights- North Star – 10,000 Lux Proven in clinical trials – recommended by many doctors and institutions.

     

    Sun Touch Plus Light and Ion Therapy – 10,000 Lux. Recommended by Columbia Department of Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatry Institute.

    Carribean Sun LED Light Therapy Box – 10,000 LUX Very low power consumption