Back in the day, it was spelled R-O-L-A-I-D-S. Remember those commercials? Antacids have come a long way since that time and are as commonly used as breath mints these days.
Heartburn, acid indigestion, or GERD all refer to what seems like a simple problem with a simple answer. Stomach acid is making you uncomfortable, or really causing you pain, and the easy answer is to use an over-the-counter or prescription antacid.
You have many options starting with the basic antacids that counteract (neutralize) the acid in your stomach to relieve indigestion and heartburn. Examples include TUMS, Rolaids, and Alka-Seltzer. If you are looking for a quick home remedy, baking soda in water will do the trick.
If you need something stronger, H2 blockers are a group of medicines that reduce the amount of acid produced by the cells in the lining of the stomach. These include things like Famotidine (Pepcid AC, Pepcid Oral, Zantac 360), Cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB) and Nizatidine Capsules (Axid AR, Axid Capsules).
Need something even stronger? PPIs - Proton pump inhibitors have eclipsed H2 blockers and are now the most commonly prescribed class of medication for the treatment of heartburn and acid-related disorders. They work by blocking the site of acid production in the cells lining the stomach. PPIs include lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (AcipHex), and esomeprazole (Nexium).
But where is all this heartburn, acid indigestion and GERD coming from to begin with?!
Here are some of the top culprits:
Looking at this list, it really does seem like the best answer is to just block the acid causing the discomfort to begin with. Not so fast...this is one health problem you better not continue to medicate and cover up.
It is helpful to review some of the reasons that stomach acid is important. It is essential for digestion and breaking down foods - especially proteins. When our food is not broken down or digested correctly, we develop nutrient deficiencies. These deficiencies can contribute to a host of negative health conditions. In addition, undigested food itself causes indigestion and can begin to create problems such as allergies and autoimmune conditions over a period of time. Stomach acid is also required as our first line of defense against oral pathogens - bacteria, virus and parasites. Your good health depends on appropriate amounts of stomach acid!
Antacids, H2 blockers and PPIs have been linked to increased incidence of bone fractures, B12 and magnesium deficiencies and increased gut infections, such as C-Diff. A 2015 study even showed an increased risk of cardiovascular issues with PPI use.
We don't disagree that taking a pill to solve heartburn is much easier than dealing with the underlying root causes. However, you are risking some significant health issues down the road with this approach.
We offer a number of supplements that give you some healthier options to help reduce heartburn. We can also use muscle testing and lab work to assist you in understanding what may be at the root of the issue for you. Give us a call when you are ready to get to work!