Acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD, is a very common health condition that many people struggle with. At least one in every four people deal with some form of acid reflux after eating which can lead to serious health concerns if it is not dealt with in a timely fashion. In my naturopathic approach to patient care, I get to the root of health concerns and help my patients learn how to manage their conditions in the most natural way. Although GERD may be uncomfortable to experience, there are some remedies to help soothe the esophagus and potentially manage heartburn all together.
What is GERD?
GERD, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, occurs when the stomach acids frequently rise back up into the esophagus (1). Acid reflux can irritate the esophagus and over time, causing serious damage to it. In addition to the damage to the lining of the esophagus it may also result in nausea, pain in the chest, and dental damage too.
Although there is medication that can be taken to help manage it, sometimes that can be more harmful than helpful. So here are a few helpful tips on how to potentially manage GERD naturally, right at home. Am sharing my naturopathic approach to healing gastric irritation, GERD and intense heartburn.
5 Ways to Heal Acid Reflux & Heartburn Naturally
1. Clean Up Your Diet to Help Manage GERD
One of the most important and helpful ways to potentially manage GERD is through an anti-inflammatory diet. This often involves eliminating caffeine, sugar, dairy, spicy foods, and acidic food as they can often cause irritation. Focus on a plant-based diet that is clean and healthy. Incorporating foods that are “cooling” is extremely important and may be beneficial for acid reflux.
Foods That Can Help GERD Naturally:
- Aloe Vera Juice
In addition to these helpful foods, other cooling foods that may be beneficial are cucumbers, bananas, berries, papaya, watermelon, zucchini and all sorts of greens. These are all healthy, powerful, and helpful in lowering inflammation in the body. With a reduction of inflammation, it may not be as triggering to the stomach. A shift in your diet can help soothe an irritated stomach and reduce GERD altogether.
2. Take Melatonin to Reduce GERD, Heartburn, or Acid Reflux
Melatonin is a natural hormone that the brain produces in response to darkness, which is why it is generally known as a hormone that helps with sleep. During daylight hours, the brain doesn’t produce it. But there has been research in other capacities on melatonin, claiming that it plays important roles in the body besides as a sleeping aid. (5)
Imbalances in melatonin can cause GERD, heartburn, and stomach reflux, because melatonin helps control the stomach acid production. When the stomach is at an improper pH level it causes an imbalance of acid. Those who suffer from GERD may have a low concentration of stomach acid which can be increased by melatonin. By adding 3-6 mg of melatonin per day, your stomach’s natural acid reaction can be reinvigorated. This can be one of the most powerful ways to resolve GERD, heartburn or stomach acid discomfort. If you would like to purchase a bottle of this amazing supplement, you can find it here.
3. Increase Herb Supplementation For Heartburn Relief
Herbs are a great addition to your daily diet for a number of reasons. They are great for anti-inflammation as well as helping soothe the lining of the esophagus. The two supplements that are highly recommended are Refluxin and Gastro One.
- Refluxin acts as a barrier, thanks to a mucosal protective trio of Pectin, Lecithin, and Mucin. When you consume these three together, they create a raft-like barrier around the lower esophageal sphincter allowing it to stay shut. This way the contents of the stomach stay intact, which can help prevent GERD.
- Gastro One is an herbal blend with over 12 different herbs that can support the reduction of mucosal irritation.
If you have some degree of heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD these two supplements may be extremely beneficial and are worth looking into.
4. Try Acupuncture For a Natural Way to Help With GERD
Acupuncture comes to us from traditional Chinese medicine, and involves thin needles carefully placed in specific points of the body. (2) It is believed that by inserting these needles at the body’s various meridians, the flow of energy is redirected and re-balanced. It is commonly used to treat pain, and to help with stress management.
Individuals who had ten acupuncture treatments in the course of four weeks, saw a massive reduction in the need for some of the PPI’s. PPI’s, also known as proton pump inhibitors, are various medicines used to reduce the amount of stomach acid being produced. (3) With acupuncture, the patient experience was more beneficial to them than increasing their PPI dosage. As a bonus it also helps reduce stress, inflammation, and strengthen the esophageal sphincter.
5. Diaphragmatic Breathing to Reduce Heartburn and GERD
The diaphragm is the most efficient muscle used when it comes to breathing. It is a dome-shaped muscle that sits beneath our lungs. (4) Diaphragmatic breathing is a technique where we breathe deep into the belly for a prolonged period of time. This can help strengthen the esophageal sphincter and reduce stress thanks to its meditative properties.
How to Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your head supported. You may use a pillow under your legs if they need more support.
- Place one hand on your upper chest and one just below your rib cage.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach expands. The hand on your chest should not be moving.
- Then release your breath from the stomach. Your hand on your chest should still remain still.
- Repeat from anywhere between 10-40 minutes.
If laying down isn’t comfortable, it’s totally acceptable to practice this technique sitting up.
If you suffer from intense heartburn, acid reflux, stomach irritation, indigestion, belching, bloating and GERD symptoms, try incorporating these tips for some relief. You do not have to live your life in the discomfort you may have become accustomed to. These powerful remedies may address more than one health concern in regards to GERD. If you would like to learn more about GERD, heartburn, acid reflux, or any other health concerns that you may have, book an appointment with me today! I offer all of my patients natural ways to get to the root of their issues. To book a virtual appointment with me, visit here for more information.