Happy Holidays without the Heartburn!

Happy New Year 2014! Today is the first   day for a wonderful new start for health in 2014!  January is going to be the month to sort out   your digestion issues. Let’s start at the Upper Gastrointestinal tract.


If you have been Living Hard these Holidays you may be experiencing that “Burning” Desire for a New Healthy Year!

 Oesophagitis/ otherwise called “Heart burn” is exacerbated with typical holiday fare: alcohol, sugar and a high carbohydrate diet.

READ about the causes and what you can do to prevent it, but if you are in a hurry HERE are my HANDY HELP Tips: Oesophagitis needs an increase in gut function and better digestion.

Firstly let me dis-spell a myth: the burning is NOT generally caused by too much stomach acid, but by the acid being in the wrong place! This is because often as we age, we decrease the amount of stomach acid we produce.  Digestive bitter herbs and tonics can increase this, but our Western diet and our taste buds prefer sweet- not bitter. TAKING ANTACIDS SUCH AS NEXIUM AND OTHER PPI (proton pump inhibitors) have a negative impact on digestion, Vitamin B12 and cause MORE heartburn *

Therefore our food sits undigested for longer in our stomach, and this is what causes the gastric reflux- a lack of motility and the belching and bloating is a byproduct of poor acid production.

Here are some helping hints:

  1. Stay hydrated! Drink one glass of water every 2 hours (more in the heat)  Dissolve 2 Blackmore’s SPPC tabs in your drinking water and sip this throughout the day. Chew one if experiencing stomach pain. Start your day by-Drink 2x 200 ml glasses of warm water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it, or a cup of warm water with 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (ACV) upon waking as you will be slightly dehydrated after your last intake of fluids- which was probably about 12 hours previousl. If either of these drinks gives you a burning sensation then see your doctor for gastric ulceration investigation; stomach ulcers often need triple drug therapy to treat Helicobacter pyloris. Otherwise the lemon or the ACV will rebalance the poor stomach acid, which is often deficient.
  2. Mix 1 tsp of slippery elm powder with warm water and drink this 1 hour before meals. This will coat the sore areas and soothe them.
  3. Do not eat anything for 3 hours before bedtime, go for an 20 minute walk an hour after eating dinner,  and spend the evening relaxing- eg. with a hot Epsom salts bath.
  4. Sleep with the head of the bed slightly elevated.
  5. Try Iberogast or equivalent essential oils or peppermint, dill, fennel teas.


   Approximately 20%   of the adult population over the age of 50 will have some upper   gastrointestinal discomfort, and of these a majority will be on the spectrum   of GORD or GERD (the “O” or “E” depends on which part of the equator and   English syllabus you reside in!Oesophagitis/Gord   (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease)= Gerd(gastro-esophageal dyspepsia or   disease) is a burning sensation which sometimes mimics a cardiac pain, hence   the term ‘Heart Burn”. It’s always a good idea to see an internist to   rule out primary heart problems, however be aware that it is almost   impossible to diagnose heart problems- which may present in a similar   fashion. Although an ECG (electrocardiogram) and blood tests may not pick up   any coronary vasculature blockage, a stress test and an angiogram will. I   have seen several patients (human variety) who had recently visited their GP   and been declared within normal on basic testing for heart health, only to   find them suffer a major coronary attack days to weeks later. (GP by the way   is General Practitioner, not “Guinea Pig”—laughing out loud as there are so   many ways to confuse the veterinarian talk with the human medical talk!)

Many doctors prescribe antacids for this GORD, as the acid   reflux is very painful and analgesia is important to the patient The common   pain relieving medications such as the NSAID’s (non steroidal   anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, are contraindicated (not   recommended) because they cause gastric ulceration and kidney disease.

The pain from the acid reflux should be addressed at the   root cause, which generally is a poor digestion system. This is contrary to   the general medical profession’s concept which states that there is OVER   production of acid. What is really happening is that there is NOT ENOUGH   stomach acid, or a deficiency of movement from the gastric juices downwards.   To fix the problem at the root cause means to improve digestion and to get   the contractility moving!

Naturopaths will take a careful history and find out what is   in the diet that is slowing down digestion.

It’s very important to fix this system, as a prevention of   chronic inflammation- not only to reduce the pain in the oesophagus, but also   to stop the progression oesophagitis to Barrett’s disease.

Barrett’s esophagus is a serious complication of GERD. In Barrett’s   esophagus, changes to oesophageal mucosal tissue occur—to less   keratinized and softer more vulnerable tissue that resembles the lining of   the intestine. About 10% of people with chronic symptoms of GERD develop   Barrett’s oesophagus



  Contributing   Factors:Medications that patients are on can predispose to   developing poor motility and oesophagitis.    Antacid tablets that decrease or act as proton pump inhibition such as   Nexium slow down digestion, and anticholesterol statin drugs lead to muscle   weakness and slow contractility.

-Putting / eating bad combinations of food together, such   as carbohydrates with proteins (sandwiches and pasta require a lower stomach   acid to digest the carbohydrate, while meat proteins require a higher pH,   thus the combination is difficult to digest).

A diet full of  preserved meats is also problematic, as salami,   pepperoni, Ham, release nitrosamines and are known carcinogens and pro   inflammatory agents.

– dehydration-1.4-2 litres of isotonic water is needed to   keep the body lubricated. A dried out intestinal tract will not contract   efficiently. Chyme needs to churn over with a steady intake of fluids. A dry   mouth and oesophagus will lead to food clogging and difficulty swallowing.

– Stress! Adrenaline (epinephrine if you live in the   northern hemisphere and speak “American”) causes xerostomia, or dry mouth,   which leads to tacky and sluggish gut movement.

-Food triggers / allergenic foods- high gluten diet   consisting mainly of wheat is as a cause of inflammation.

– Heart disease- both medication and  sluggish vascular movement secondary to   heart disease will lead to a slower digestive system.

– smoking – this dries out the oesophagus as well as   adding carcinogenic substances and inflammatory mediators directly to the   mucosa

– alcohol and spicy   foods induce GORD


Sustaining Factors:


  – Medications- acid inhibitors such as Nexium and Statin   drugs ( which are often recommended by doctors for elevated cholesterol and   cardiovascular disease) perpetuate GORD; Nexium reduces stomach acid and   therefore decreases digestion; causing a slower gastro-intestinal emptying   with food fermenting in stomach and leaving partially digested; therefore   bloating pushes the antrum and stomach opening up in to the chest causing a   hiatal hernia and burning sensation at the base of oesophagus.Statin drugs cause myopathy, with decreased peristalsis   measured by an increase in serum CK (creatine kinase) levels as well as   decreasing mitochondrial enzyme function and necessary coenzyme Q 10 – an   antioxidant system for the “powerhouse” cell. This causes more cellular   damage and decreased muscle function- often resulting in micro tears and   bruising of ligaments, tendons and muscles.

-Poor choices and Putting / eating bad combinations of   food together

-Continuing to eat food triggers / allergenic foods

-Eating food close to bedtime –  not sure if client does that

-Lying down immediately after eating

Naturopathic   Analysis/Causative Factors:

What’s possibly making it   happen physically –based on biochemistry and personal choices as listed above

    In this condition,   there are a number of factors that increase pressure on the lower oesophageal   sphincter muscle, preventing it from effectively blocking acid from washing   into the oesophagus.Hiatal hernia is one reason why the upper part of the   stomach protrudes above the diaphragm which can result in GORD or GERD.  Excess weight can also increase pressure   within the abdomen. The excess weight in pregnancy teamed with hormonal   effects can result in GORD or GERD.    Particular foods  (acidic foods)   such as onions, garlic, citrus foods, mint, chocolate and tomato based foods   etc can potentially irritate the oesophagus or relax the sphincter too   much.  In addition, if the stomach is   not positioned where it should be and intra-abdominal pressure is increased,   this can irritate / exacerbate GORD or GERD such as in the case of lying down   immediately after eating or sleeping with piles of pillows on the bed,   wearing tight belts, lifting, bending and more.

Poor food choices and particular foods or food combining  create a decrease in digestion and slow   peristalsis down, hence the GORD / GERD burping, belching, and bloating   occur.

Smoking, drinking, and alcohol imbibation plus medications   that can perpetuate oesophagitis.

Be mindful or  how   you eat—sitting, and portion control at correct times 3 meals a day, how   relaxed you are at meal times, how your parasympathetic calm feeling  is at the time of eating, the foods you   choose and how you combine them, and the time you go to bed in relation to   when you have eaten.

Think about your emotional state, and practice enjoyment   of life and your food! Take up yoga, Tai chi, Bush walking, snorkelling,   swimming or some other relaxing exercise that allows your body to move and   helps move your digesting tract along as well as supporting your mood.




Nexium: What is the second bestselling drug, after Lipitor? The Purple Pill. Like statins, Nexium and the other Proton-Pump Inhibitors (PPI) to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), became household medications thanks to direct-to-consumer advertising. Before Proton-Pump Inhibitors, people took over-the-counter treatments like Tums or Tagamet when they had heartburn or indigestion. As the afflictions were upgraded into the “disease” of GERD, Nexium made almost $5 billion in the US in one year and the class of PPIs made $13.6 billion in one year, translating into 119 million prescriptions.

In 2012, the same year the FDA warned about statins, the FDA warned the public that Nexium and the whole class of PPIs are linked to Clostridium Difficile, a stubborn and sometimes deadly intestinal infection that is becoming increasingly drug-resistant and hard to treat. In 2013, medical literature linked PPIs to fracturescalcium and magnesium deficiencies, community-acquired pneumonia and vitamin B-12 deficiencies. Research by John P. Cooke, clinical professor at Houston Methodist Hospital, found in 2013 that PPIs might cause blood vessels to constrict and cardiovascular risks. Not a great ending for the blockbuster Nexium, whose patent runs out in 2014.

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