Heart Burn. Just the name of it sounds bad. And sad really. I'm definitely going to go there but let's not start with the emotional component of pain.
Let's talk about the REAL reason you have heart burn, and then 10 easy ways to make it go away.
Why oh why does my heart burn?!
This is going to be hard to believe but take a minute to just be open to the unconventional. You have heartburn because: your stomach acid is too low. I know, sounds opposite right? But it's the truth. And although acid reducers tend to work symptomatically I think we can both agree they don't make a lick of a difference long term. Of course, this doesn't help much with WHY you have low stomach acid. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is not holding as strongly as it should and allowing small amounts of acid into the esophagus. And any amount of stomach acid leaked up into the esophagus is harmful, which is where you feel the pain- up your esophagus giving the sensation of your heart burning. If you want to read up a bit more on this fact you can read this article by Chris Kresser who I have learned a lot from over the past few years.
Actually what is causing the LES to be weak is stomach bloating, or intra abdominal pressure.
So what is causing the bloat? Low stomach acid- which allows bacterial overgrowth (often H.Pylori) and undigested carbohydrates. A stomach acid of normal strength will inhibit bacteria (which is why taking a probiotic specifically tested for human digestion is key- they will survive human specific stomach acidity). Also, some prescription drugs lower stomach acid.
A low stomach acid inhibits our digestive pancreatic enzymes. This makes it difficult to digest carbohydrates, creating a fermentation gas and therefore stomach bloat. So to get to the root cause, you need to reduce "bad" bacterial overgrowth and increase enzymatic activity while reducing carbohydrates. (Also if you're taking Prilosec read this about why it may be the cause).
10 Steps to reduce and maybe eliminate heart burn
1) Reduce sugar intake. This changes the pH balance and especially the bacterial composition. I suggest reducing all refined sugars to an absolute minimum. It's not easy that is for sure. A great kick start for doing this is the 5 Day Reset Cleanse.
2) Reduce or eliminate grains. I would say FOR SURE gluten but if you're serious about making this stop then get rid of all grains. Maybe allow white rice as it is gluten free and easy enough to digest. A "real food" diet (you can use Paleo, Primal, Bulletproof, JERF to search recipes) will be low in grains and free of gluten. Side note- gluten-free sounds processed but free of gluten sounds like a whole food to me. Staying away from "gluten-free" foods will be important about 80% of the time but if you want to "cheat" you can consider using gluten-free processed foods for that.
3) Take a high quality digestive enzyme with meals, for awhile, and maybe for a long time depending on how long you have had heart burn. I recommend USANA Health Sciences as their products are all pharmaceutical grade top of the line and I personally have really found 1-2 tablets of their enzymes to make a huge difference in my digestion.
4) Take probiotics daily to help re-establish the gut bacteria. Again I suggest high quality and formulated specifically for humans. You can also take in probiotics by drinking delicious Kombucha (my husband calls it KAMbucha..), using real fermented foods (like sauerkraut or Bubbies pickles and relish), and eating organic fruits and veggies washed but not overly scrubbed.
5) Drink lemon water daily. Lemon water has acidity to it, which may have felt counterintuitive previously but now you see right! (remember- heart burn comes from low stomach acid..) Lemons also have plenty of antioxidants in them and natural healing properties. Lemon water in the morning will kick start your digestive system and help cleanse your body of toxins. It is easy enough to add a slice of lemon to your water bottle for the day and just keep it on you.
6) Increase your movement. Some call it exercise, I prefer body movement as I personally currently don't like to "exercise" but I do like to get outside or do other fun things. Activity based on fun will certainly make it easier to stick to! By moving your body you help the fluids move throughout your systems, cleansing your organs and helping your body to eliminate toxins and digested food.
8) Stick to eating real food. Food without labels. Or at least with only one ingredient, like "lettuce" for example. If you think your grandmother could have ate it, you can eat it. The only processing should be cutting and cooking. I can't speak highly enough to how this truly helps bring in more micronutrients, more fiber, more healthy fats and less processed toxins and junk. See my past blogs about my favourite sources for different foods but I want to mention here my absolute #1 meat farmer, he is the coolest farmer hippie and loves his animals and feeds them totally naturally. We need to come together to support these people so they can actually make a living and can continue to offer such premium foods for us. Check out Ivan the "cowboss" at Wallace Springs Eco Centre.
9) Avoid over eating and over drinking (especially alcohol). Bloating is what is causing the symptoms so overeating and over drinking (again especially alcohol) will really flare up the symptoms. When you have real foods (low in grains and sugars for sure) it is harder to over eat. Sometimes even coffee causes the bloating, alcohol almost certainly does, and pop as well. Carbonated beverages will just add to the symptoms.
10) When you have really bad symptoms, you can use a symptom reducer, like Tums. But I don't recommend such as you can imagine. I do suggest organic raw cheese, organic raw milk, or USANA's Calcium chewables. Sometimes a digestive enzyme does the trick even once symptoms arise. But the plan is to heal your gut, and not have more symptoms, but until then you will need something to help you get by.
If you're experiencing heart burn, try these tips and see how you do. You can do one at a time or throw them all out there at once, whatever you like. Be in touch to let me know, I am here for you to help answer any questions and get you feeling better. There are more tips and tricks beyond these so if they don't work as well as you hoped we will expand to see what else works. One final word is if you're experiencing heart burn due to pregnancy, it is likely due to the bloating but you should consult with your doctor or holistic practitioner before making any major changes or taking any supplements.
Good luck and have a happy heart!
I love to share health information, wealth building tips, entrepreneurial ideas, and travel experiences! Talk about a range! But doing what I love has truly paid off and I hope to help inspire you to do the same!