The low-carb solution to heartburn, indigestion, and GERD
I’m not going to pretend that the symptoms of acid reflux are pleasant. If you’ve ever experienced the nausea, gas, bloating, or the burning pain and discomfort of heartburn, then you know just how excruciating those symptoms can be.
And I’ll hand it to you: Popping an antacid or getting a prescription for a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) can work wonders for giving you some much-needed relief.
But at what cost?
Despite what doctors, drug companies, and those do-nothings in the government would have you believe, these drugs aren’t as safe as they’re made out to be. Their side effects can put you 6 feet under—and without a clue that the drugs are what put you there.
Are you dying for relief from acid reflux?
Antacids have taken over the healthcare industry. By now, drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Pravacid have become household names. And I’m pretty sure that if I mention the “little purple pill,” you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. How is it that acid-suppressing drugs have climbed to the top spot in drug sales?
Three things come to mind. People are led to believe (1) that antacids are perfectly safe, (2) that stomach acid is bad for you, and (3) that excess stomach acid causes acid reflux.
All are outright lies.
First of all, previous reports have shown that acid reflux drugs can increase your risks of hip fractures and diarrhea. Now, a new study adds another risk to the list. This one, like the others, can be life threatening to older folks.
The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study showing that hospital patients who were given proton pump inhibitors were 30 percent more likely to develop pneumonia than those who weren’t taking the drug.
This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill study, either. In order to come up with that figure, Dr. Shoshana Herzig and her team of researchers analyzed the data from 63,878 patients admitted to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital over a four-year period.
Herzig also found that between 40 and 70 percent of patients who check into a hospital (for any reason) will check out with a prescription for an acid-suppressing drug. But the majority of these prescriptions aren’t written to treat acid reflux—they’re meant to prevent it.
You read that right. As many as 70 percent of patients leave the hospital with a prescription they’ll likely be filling for the rest of their lives—for a condition they don’t even have.
Now, on to lie #2.
Like so many other wrong-headed ideas permeating modern medicine, the idea that stomach acid is bad for you is downright idiotic. The truth is…
Stomach acid is essential for good health
Your stomach has the ability to liquify a meal of steak and potatoes in a matter of minutes. It achieves this monumental task by secreting stomach acid, technically called hydrochloric acid (HCl for short). The presence of HCl is absolutely essential for proper digestion and ultimately for disease-free living.
In order for your cells to be able to use the nutrients from the food you eat, a chain reaction must take place in your body, and it starts with HCl. Hydrochloric acid activates digestive enzymes, which work to break the food down into small, absorbable particles.
If you can’t absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat…
You could be eating 2,000 calories a day—and still be starving yourself to death
You know I’m a big fan of protein. It’s one of the most beneficial nutrients you could possibly ingest. Not getting enough animal protein can lead to deficiencies in minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium—which can lead to a whole host of problems in your body.
But without adequate HCl, you may as well skip the steak and eat a tofu burger instead, for all the protein you’ll be absorbing.? One of HCl’s jobs is to break down large protein molecules so your body can absorb them. If you skip this step, two things can happen. The most obvious is a protein deficiency. Here’s what’s not so obvious (not even to most doctors): Your bloodstream can absorb the partially digest protein, and it can play a role in causing food allergies and immunological disorders.
Your stomach acid is also your first line of defense against viral and bacterial infections. The acidic environment destroys any organisms that shouldn’t be there. A stomach with little or no acid creates an environment in which these little buggers can thrive. This leaves you wide open to intestinal infections and deadly viruses and bacteria.
It also explains why if you’re on antacids, you’re 30 percent more likely to develop pneumonia.
But the worst part of all is that when it comes right down to it…
Doctors are treating you for a disease you don’t even have
When you go to your doctor with symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn, he’ll tell you that you’re suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) because you’re producing too much stomach acid. Then he’ll write you a prescription that will turn off that “harmful” acid-producing mechanism in your stomach.
But I’d be willing to bet that he has never tested you to see if your stomach really is producing too much stomach acid. I’d also be willing to bet that if he did take the time to test you, he’d find out that you’re not overproducing hydrochloric acid at all. The problem is that you’re not producing enough.
Do you know of many teenagers who suffer from acid reflux? I don’t either. These types of digestion problems begin when you get “over the hill,” and they only seem to get worse with time. That’s because as you get older, you produce less and less stomach acid. In fact, at least half of everyone over 60 suffers from some level of low stomach acid (a condition called hypochlorhydria).
Yet it’s these same people that doctors are claiming have too much acid and are writing prescriptions for PPIs that literally turn off the acid-producing pumps in their stomachs!
Here’s what it comes down to, Acid reflux is not caused by too much stomach acid. It’s caused by too much acid in the wrong place.
Digestion is a one-way street—or at least it’s supposed to be. As your food moves from your stomach into your small intestine, it goes through a door called the Pyloric Sphincter. The level of acidity in your stomach determines when that door opens and closes. If you don’t have enough stomach acid, the door stays closed and all of that partially digested food has nowhere to go.
So what do you think happens with all that food? Nothing. It sits in your stomach and begins to ferment, which produces gas. With the door to your small intestine closed, all that gas has nowhere to go but up. The gas pushes open the valve between your esophagus and stomach, and the acid spills into your esophagus, which causes all those unpleasant symptoms to occur.
Sure, taking antacids will work for a while, because they eliminate the acid that would otherwise be forced back into your esophagus. But that doesn’t change the fact that too much stomach acid is not the cause of your problem.
The cure for heartburn is just a squeeze away
Here’s a novel idea: Before you take any drugs at all, get your stomach acid level tested. Doctors who write prescriptions for low stomach acid—without testing you first—should have their licenses revoked. At the end of the day, the only people who benefit from such boneheaded actions are Big Pharma and the docs they have in their pockets.
Some doctors recommend taking hydrochloric acid tablets to replace the HCl that’s missing in your stomach. Yes, that can work, but it can also be risky, and it can lead to side effects that aren’t that much different from the problems you had to begin with. So before resorting to HCl tablets, you should try one of the following ways to naturally increase the amount of acid in your stomach:
1). Take apple cider vinegar or lemon juice with your meals. Both stimulate your stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid.
2). Try taking digestive enzymes. These supplements can enhance your digestion and boost your production of HCl.
3). Make sure you’re getting enough B vitamins. These important nutrients are also necessary for HCl production.
Eliminate GERD in as little as 7 days
If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, chances are you’ve been told to stay away from protein. WRONG!
You should be loading up on this essential nutrient. A study published in Alternative Therapies shows just how instrumental a high-protein diet can be in solving your problem.
Researchers from the gastroenterology department at Duke University discovered that when they put GERD patients on a low-carb diet (about 20 grams or so per day), the patients were able to toss their antacids and prescription drugs in as little as 7 days.