The third most commonly prescribed drugs, are PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors), such as Prilosec and Prevacid. Taking these drugs for the relief of heartburn, can not only actually cause permanent damage, but a study revealed that almost 70% of prescriptions were written without any clear indication of need. In other words, wreck-less prescription dispensing.
Too many people who suffer from various degrees of heartburn, don’t want to address the cause, and instead think that suppressing stomach acid is the sure method of relief and cure of their symptoms. They would be wrong on both accounts. Regularly taking a PPI medication, does indeed prevent the cells in the stomach lining from secreting acid, however there are consequences to this method of approach. The body stimulates the production of stomach acid, for the purpose of breaking down food that enters the stomach, and prepares it for further digestion in the intestinal tract. Inadequate amounts of stomach acid, means inadequate digestion, which can then lead to gas, bloating, nausea, belching and more.
Inadequate amounts of stomach acid, also means suppressed calcium absorption, which can lead to weakened bones. In fact, studies have already shown that long-term use of PPI medications, increases the risk of hip fractures by more than 40%, due to this very reason. Less stomach acid also suppresses some immune functions, by dampening the body’s ability to kill off harmful bacteria in gut, increasing your risk of contracting C. difficile, a bacterial infection that produces potentially deadly diarrhea by up to 75%.
And, perhaps the biggest reason of all to be cautious of using PPI medications is that if you stop taking a PPI medication, it can often result in rebound symptoms that are even more serious than the ones you had before you started taking the medication. This gives people the false impression that the drugs helped remedy their heartburn, and they continue to take the medication, only further exasperating their condition. Even over-the-counter heartburn medications have consequences. Studies show that H2 blockers like Pepcid, can cause brain fog and confusion. And, it only takes a few weeks of consuming common antacids such as Maalox, before their use starts to impair the body’s ability to absorb essential minerals and vitamins.
Rather than cause further harm to your body, and exasperate your heartburn symptoms, below are some effective approaches for natural heartburn relief. So, in addition to cleaning up your diet, which includes eliminating acidic, processed and fast foods, you’ll want to use these after meal tips to keep your heartburn in check.
Chew Your Food, Then Chew Gum – Most people don’t chew their food well enough before swallowing. This sets the stage for improper digestion, and makes it more likely that you’ll suffer heartburn symptoms. Chewing stimulates saliva, and saliva has an alkaline pH, which has a natural acid-neutralizing effect. The better you chew your food, the more saliva is produced, and the more acid-neutralizing benefits to your stomach and esophagus. In addition, after your meals, immediately chew on some gum for 30 minutes. Chewing gum increases the production of acid-neutralizing saliva, as well as swallowing, which flushes acids out of the esophagus. TIP: Avoid mint flavor gums, as this can cause problems for some people, and choose a fruit or berry flavored gum instead.
Ginger – Whether you take ginger in the form of tea, candied or fresh, ginger’s natural compounds have antispasmodic properties, that relax and soothe the muscles in the digestive system. This helps promote ease of movement of food and beverages through the digestive system, preventing the contracting and forcing of food and fluids back up into the esophagus. To prevent heartburn symptoms, enjoy a cup of fresh brewed ginger tea, or a couple pieces of candied ginger, immediately after finishing your meals. You can also start adding some fresh ginger to your dishes for even more heartburn prevention.
Unusual Remedy – Believe it or not, mustard can stop a painful attack of heartburn quicker than quick. This traditional Indian heartburn remedy, suggests mixing 2 teaspoons of prepared mustard into a glass of water, and drinking it at the very first hint of symptoms. Research backs up this remedy, and has shown that consuming mustard stimulates the production of bile and important digestive enzymes, which naturally lower levels of stomach acid. Additionally, the spice turmeric found in most mustards, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which naturally calm and soothe inflamed tissues.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews