Marketing studies have shown that around half of all Americans have used antacids. Doctors are sometimes so quick to prescribe them that I was once offered a script of antacids as a treatment for my IBS complaints, I’ve never even had heartburn in my life!
Yes antacids can relieve heartburn effectively but they can also be one of the worst things that you can do for your health long term and in my opinion should only be used as a last resort after first trying natural remedies. Nature always knows best!
The reason the antacids are so bad is that in order for your body to break down proteins into amino acids that are usable for nourishment, you must have a normal amount of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. If you take antacids then you usually mess up the balance of your whole digestive system leading to a reduced ability to absorb nutrients which in the long run is likely to destroy your health.
Heartburn hurts, and antacids can stop the pain so it is no mystery why so many people use them however there are many safer and less expensive ways to relieve the pain naturally without the harmful side effects of antacids.
Below are four tried and tested natural remedies to cool down heartburn naturally which come highly recommended by holistic health professionals.
1. Hydrochloric Acid (Health Supplements)
Most people assume that heartburn is caused by having too much acid in your stomach and this is normally the case but not always. The discomfort caused by having too little acid in your stomach can be nearly identical to the discomfort of having too much. Because stomach acid is necessary for breaking down food at the beginning of the digestion process, not having enough of it can cause nausea, bloating, gas, and belching. This can all lead to food intolerances, heartburn-like pain, and excessive growth of bacteria in the stomach.
NOTE: Please never attempt to drink the pure chemical this would be dangerous, use the supplement pills to get a safe dose of HCL.
Low stomach acid can be caused by:
- High-stress levels
- Stomach surgery
- High sugar intake
If you suspect you may be suffering from low stomach acid then it could be a good idea to try hydrochloric acid supplements. If you do indeed have a stomach acid deficiency then you should feel relieved straight away. If not then you will most likely experience a slight burning sensation (not dangerous) which you should take as a sign to stop the hydrochloric acid right away and move on to another solution.
2. Licorice (DGL)
Now I don’t mean that you should eat sweets but medicinal licorice which is called deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL comes in a pill form and it will help to protect the lining of your esophagus which is usually where people feel heartburn. The licorice also has the ability to prevent ulcer formation in the stomach which sufferers of heartburn are often prone to. When taking this medication for heartburn please follow the directions on the label. It usually comes as a chewable tablet that you can take three times a day on an empty stomach for best results.
Not the sugary flavored drink that they sell in Asian convenience stores but the kind that you find in the health food section of the supermarket (or in health stores). Drinking aloe vera gel helps to both protect and heal the delicate lining of the esophagus. If you aren’t too keen on the taste you can dilute the gel for a more mild flavour. And be sure to check the label to see if you are buying the kind intended for internal use as some types of aloe can be toxic. Most people will experience fast symptom relief from drinking aloe.
4. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm bark works to relieve heartburn by healing the mucous membranes that have been damaged by acid reflux. Taking a dose right before meals is recommended to get the best results from this remedy.
5. Methyslsulfonymethane (MSM)
This nutritional supplement works by strengthening the lining of the esophagus which helps to protect it from stomach acid. It is recommended to take one to three capsules twice a day with meals to prevent heartburn symptoms.
Avoiding Heartburn Altogether
As most of these remedies work by protecting from and healing the damage created by acid reflux rather than preventing acid reflux from happening in the first place it is a good idea to take measures to try to avoid heartburn from happening in the first place as well. The following steps are medically recommended ways to help prevent heartburn entirely by avoiding excess acid-creating habits.
7 steps to help prevent heartburn
- Avoid high-fat foods
- Don’t eat extremely big meals
- Don’t eat just before bedtime
- Cut out caffeine
- Avoid carbonated drinks
- Avoid spicy food
- Avoid drinking alcohol late at night
Now I realize all this may sound more complicated than just taking the antacids but once you get your routine right you won’t even have to think about it and you’ll be doing your digestive system one heck of a favor.