Heartburn drugs may provide little relief.
The standard protocol for heartburn is a cocktail of antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).
- While PPIs are not intended for long-term use beyond 6 weeks, many patients stay on these medications for years.
- Studies have shown that those who take PPIs are at a 50% greater risk of developing an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. (1).
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth, also known as SIBO, is a known cause of heartburn.
- PPIs can generate a vicious cycle.
At one point in time, no one believed that any living organism could survive the highly acidic environment of the stomach. This all changed in 1982 when Dr. Barry Marshall drank an entire beaker teeming with H. pylori. A week later he developed gastritis, or in other words, inflammation of the stomach. This changed the minds of the medical community.
- H. pylori reduce the acidity of the stomach in order to survive.
- When stomach acid is too low, this invites H. pylori infection.
- As the body ages or after an extended time of eating a vegan or vegetarian diet, the body produces less stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid (HCL).
- Antacid medication (PPIs) can also reduce the secretion of stomach acid.
Reduced stomach acid means that carbohydrates are less likely to break down and more likely to feed bacteria, causing overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO). In addition, the pathogenic bacterium called H. pylori favors a low-acid environment and produces its own chemicals in order to reduce stomach acid.
Knowing what not to eat is half the battle. In addition to following the steps of the Body Ecology diet, when healing heartburn, limit or remove:
Taking an antacid isn’t the solution for heartburn relief. To heal heartburn, avoid sugar, prebiotics, fiber, and carbohydrates to stop bacterial overgrowth.
- Sugars. Even sugars like fructose can lead to an increase in bacterial overgrowth. One of the biggest culprits is agave nectar, which many people believe is a “healthy sugar”. Remember, bacteria eat all forms of sugar.
- Prebiotics. Many times a prebiotic can benefit intestinal health. Sometimes, however, this just provides more food for unwanted bacteria.
- Fiber and Carbohydrates. A certain percentage of fiber and carbohydrates that we consume escape absorption. This means that, like a prebiotic, these become food for unwanted bacteria.
When healing heartburn, it is important to follow the Body Ecology Principle of 80/20. Following this principle gives little chance for foods to ferment in the gut and contribute to heartburn.
Be sure and include these foods when healing heartburn:
1. Fermented Foods: Several studies have found Lactobacillus, commonly found in fermented foods, to be extremely effective as a preventative measure against heartburn. The most economical way to getLactobacillus into the diet is to ferment your own vegetables at home using the Body Ecology Veggie Culture Starter. Homemade fermentation offers an extraordinary amount of active, living microbes. Also, drinking a few ounces of a fermented beverage, like Body Ecology InnergyBiotic, inoculates the gut with a wide spectrum of beneficial microbes.
- This beneficial family of microbes can relieve inflammation in the stomach, healing the lining of the stomach and effectively alleviating heartburn. (3)
- Other research indicates that Bifidus bifidum can heal damaged tissue in the stomach caused byH. pylori colonization and also fight H. pylori infection. (4)
2. Bone Broth: Bone broth and soups made with bone broth can help to rebuild the mucosal lining of the stomach.
- This is because bone broth, made from the joints, tendons, and ligaments of animal bones, is rich in gelatin and cartilage. Cartilage is an essential building block of tissue throughout the body. (5)
- Bone broth also increases gastric acid secretion, something that H. pylori and PPIs inhibit! (6)
- In addition, bone broth contains glutamine, which is important metabolic fuel for the small intestine. (7)
3. Vitality SuperGreen: Body Ecology Vitality SuperGreen is another excellent source of glutamine!
- Vitality SuperGreen contains GlutaImmune, which delivers up 10 times more glutamine into the bloodstream than the supplement L-glutamine.
- Like bone broth, the glutamine found in Vitality SuperGreen is bioavailable and stable.
In addition to consuming traditional foods, like cultured vegetables, fermented beverages, and bone broth, it is essential to support the production of HCL (stomach acid) with an HCL supplement.
- Body Ecology Assist Dairy & Protein contains HCL and other enzymes to help along the digestive process.
- A collection of herbs known Digestive Bitters will also encourage stomach acid production. Bitter herbs have been used traditionally in several cultures to improve digestion.