Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Digestive Help ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Digestive Help
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: pauli1010-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 09 Jan 2006 16:30 PST
Expires: 08 Feb 2006 16:30 PST
Question ID: 431309
I am suffering from server heartburn and I want to take an all natural
supliment approach.  I want to find the best all natural products that
I can take to rectify these problems.  What are the best natural
treatments for sever heartburn, bloatedness, chest pain?
Subject: Re: Digestive Help
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 09 Jan 2006 18:46 PST
Hello Pauli1010, 

 Chronic heartburn, also known as GERD (Gastric esophageal reflux
disease). Lifestyle and diet can increase your chance of heartburn.
Heavy greasy meals, caffeine, being overweight, smoking, drugs and
hormones can all stimulate excess stomach acid. A hiatal hernia is
also often seen in GERD, and can delay stomach emptying with a
resultant decreased acid clearance. You?re smart to want to stop acid
reflux, as it can eventually erode your esophagus, possibly causing
cancer and/or bleeding. Chest pain may indicate something more serious
than heartburn, and I urge you to be seen by a licensed physician.

Gastritis (irritation of the stomach lining) can cause lots of
heartburn too, so it would be a good idea to be checked for H. pylori,
a bacteria that causes gastritis and ulcers.

?Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria. Researchers
believe that H. pylori is responsible for the majority of peptic
H. pylori infection is common in the United States: About 20 percent
of people under 40 years old and half of those over 60 years have it.
Most infected people, however, do not develop ulcers. Why H. pylori
does not cause ulcers in every infected person is not known. Most
likely, infection depends on characteristics of the infected person,
the type of H. pylori, and other factors yet to be discovered.

Researchers are not certain how people contract H. pylori, but they
think it may be through food or water.
Researchers have found H. pylori in the saliva of some infected
people, so the bacteria may also spread through mouth-to-mouth contact
such as kissing.?

Before you begin any treatment, natural or not, you should be
evaluated by a doctor to rule out more serious causes of your GERD.

?Occasional heartburn has no serious long-lasting effects, but
repeated episodes of gastroesophageal reflux can ultimately lead to
esophageal inflammation (esophagitis) and other damage. If episodes
occur more frequently than twice a week, and the esophagus is
repeatedly subjected to acid and digestive enzymes from the stomach,
ulcerations, scarring, and thickening of the esophagus walls can
result. This thickening of the esophagus wall causes a narrowing of
the interior of the esophagus. Such narrowing affects swallowing and
peristaltic movements. Repeated irritation can also result in changes
in the types of cells that line the esophagus. The condition
associated with these changes is termed Barrett's syndrome and can
lead to esophageal cancer.?

??  Obesity, pregnancy, and tight clothing can impair the ability of
the LES to stay closed by putting pressure on the abdomen.
?  Certain drugs, notably nicotine, alcohol, diazepam (Valium),
meperidine (Demerol), theophylline, morphine, prostaglandins, calcium
channel blockers, nitrate heart medications, anticholinergic and
adrenergic drugs (drugs that limit nerve reactions), including
dopamine, can relax the LES.
?  Progesterone is thought to relax the LES. 
?  Greasy foods and some other foods such as chocolate, coffee, and
peppermint can relax the LES.
?  Paralysis and scleroderma can cause the LES to malfunction. 
?  Hiatus hernia may also cause heartburn according to some
gastroenterologists. (Hiatus hernia is a protrusion of part of the
stomach through the diaphragm to a position next to the esophagus.).?

?Almost everyone experiences a little acid reflux, particularly after
meals. Acid reflux irritates the walls of the esophagus, inducing a
secondary peristaltic contraction of the smooth muscle, and may
produce the discomfort or pain known as heartburn. Evidence indicates
up to 36% of otherwise healthy Americans experience heartburn at least
once a month. Most episodes of acid reflux are asymptomatic.
After a meal, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) usually remains
closed. When it relaxes at an inappropriate time, it allows acid and
food particles to reflux into the esophagus. Secondary peristalsis
returns approximately 90% of the acid and food to the stomach. Once
peristalsis ends, the LES closes again. The remaining acid in the
esophagus is neutralized by successive swallows of saliva, which is
alkaline in nature, and then cleared into the stomach.?

?When is heartburn a sign of a more serious condition?
You should be more concerned if you experience so-called "alarm"
symptoms. If you have trouble swallowing, have burning in your
esophagus when you swallow, experience choking at nighttime, have
frequent coughing at nighttime, or have black, tar-like stools-these
are all alarm symptoms.
Also, if you have heartburn on a regular basis, even just one or two
times a week, then sometimes you can develop complications of reflux.
It may just be inflammation of the esophagus. It could be bleeding
from ulcers in the esophagus. It could be a narrowing of the esophagus
from scarring, which could give you trouble swallowing. Finally,
sometimes acid can damage the lining of the esophagus causing a
precancerous condition of the esophagus called Barrett's esophagus,
which may lead to cancer of the esophagus. Some of the risk factors
for Barrett's esophagus include: if you've had heartburn for many
years, if you're a white, if you're male or if you're over the age of

?There are three pathways leading to acid production by the parietal
cell: the acetylcholine, gastrin, and histamine receptor pathways.
These three pathways interact and overlap with each other
significantly. Acetylcholine is secreted at the sight, smell, and
taste of food; gastrin and histamine are released as a result of
swallowed food in the stomach. When acetylcholine, gastrin, or
histamine binds to its receptor on the parietal cell, a process is
initiated that results in acid production.?


  ?Don't overdo it. Stomach acids can be forced up into the esophagus
when there's too much food in the belly. Fill the belly more, and
you'll force up more acid. There can be many reasons for heartburn,
but for the occasional sufferer, it's usually eating too much food too
fast, says Samuel Klein, M.D., assistant professor of gastroenterology
and human nutrition at the University of Texas Medical School at

?Dietary adjustments can eliminate many causes of heartburn.
Herbal remedies include bananas, aloe vera gel, chamomile (Matricaria
recutita), ginger (Zingiber officinale), and citrus juices, but there
is little agreement here. For example, ginger, which seems to help
some people, is claimed by other practitioners to cause heartburn and
is thought to relax the LES. There are also many recommendations to
avoid citrus juices, which are themselves acidic. Licorice
(Glycyrrhiza uralensis) can help relieve the symptoms of heartburn by
reestablishing balance in the acid output of the stomach.
Several homeopathic remedies are useful in treating heartburn
symptoms. Among those most often recommended are Nux vomica, Carbo
vegetabilis, and Arsenicum album. Acupressure and acupuncture may also
be helpful in treating heartburn.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is an inexpensive alternative to use
as an antacid. It reduces esophageal acidity immediately, but its
effect is not long-lasting and should not be used by people on
sodium-restricted diets.?
I don?t recommend taking baking soda, as it can cause even more heartburn.
?  avoid eating large meals 
?  avoid alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, fried foods, hot or spicy
foods, chocolate, peppermint, and nicotine
?  avoid drugs known to contribute to heartburn, such as nitrates
(heart medications like Isonate and Nitrocap), calcium channel
blockers (e.g., Cardizem and Procardia), and anticholinergic drugs
(e.g., Pro-banthine and Bentyl), and check with their doctors about
any drugs they are taking
?  avoid clothing that fits tightly around the abdomen 
?  control body weight 
?  wait about three hours after eating before going to bed or lying down 
?  elevate the head of the bed 6-9 inches to alleviate heartburn at
night. This can be done with bricks under the bed or with a wedge
designed for this purpose.

?Registered dietitian Sharon Saka, of Suffern, New York, says that a
few simple lifestyle changes can alleviate heartburn and indigestion.
She suggests eating smaller, more frequent meals. This will decrease
pressure on your abdomen and make it less likely for you to experience
Other preventive tips: Eat in a relaxing atmosphere. Wear clothing
that isn't too tight around your waist and abdomen. Don't lie down
after eating, or do a lot of bending and lifting. Sleep with an extra
pillow or elevate the head of your bed to make gravity work for you.?

?For overall healthy digestion and to minimize acid reflux, make sure
you get plenty of fiber from a variety of vegetables, non-citrus
fruits, and whole grains. Drink enough fluids to help your body absorb
important nutrients and lubricate food waste. And exercise regularly.
Use low-fat methods when cooking, for example, substituting broth for
butter or oil when you saute, and replacing oil with applesauce (cup
for cup) when you're baking. Herbal chamomile tea is said to have a
calming effect on the stomach, so try some after you eat or before

?I tell patients to avoid foods that can precipitate heartburn. These
are foods that can relax the little valve at the end of the esophagus
that tries to prevent the acid from coming up-the so-called lower
esophageal sphincter. The foods that tend to relax that sphincter are
peppermint, chocolate, nuts, caffeine and greasy foods. Carbonated
beverages may cause a lot of gas, which causes belching and the
belching brings the fluid back up with it, so I advise against
carbonated beverages as well. Also, a lot of reflux occurs at
nighttime. When you're lying down, it's easier for stomach contents to
travel backwards into the esophagus. So elevating your head at night
in bed can help prevent reflux. I advise patients not to eat for three
or four hours before lying down, because eating food causes a surge in
acid secretion.?

Herbal Remedies
?All three fall into a group of herbs which the General Nutrition
Center (GNC) terms "carminative," and are thought to relieve
indigestion and intestinal irritation. Chamomile, widely recognized
for its calming properties, is thought to help relieve esophageal
irritation and aid proper digestion. The presumed mechanism of action
is through a decrease in stomach acid, due to its high calcium
content. Traditionally used for many gastrointestinal problems, ginger
assists in proper digestion by promoting spontaneous intestinal
movement. Additionally, ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea
properties. Peppermint is also believed to act against indigestion,
and has the additional property of calming the gastrointestinal tract.
Moreover, one study of peppermint in combination with caraway fruit
was also found to ease the symptoms of heartburn.
In addition to the ?carminative? class of heartburn herbs, GNC also
suggests that ?bitter digestive stimulants? such as blessed thistle
may promote digestive enzyme production and thus alleviate heartburn.
However, such herbs are not as universally recommended as chamomile,
ginger, and peppermint. As with all medications, a doctor should be
consulted before using any sort of herbal remedy to ensure it does not
conflict with other ongoing treatments.?;jsessionid=SSFL3IM42CXXNQFIBQSCBHQ?storyid=/templatedata/bhg/story/data/SuperfoodsDigestion_07232004.xml&catref=cat850056&page=2

?Helpful supplements
The supplements below can be very effective for relieving heartburn.
Some (calcium carbonate, licorice, aloe vera juice, for example) are
recommended for immediate relief of symptoms. To improve the entire
digestive process, try either gamma-oryzanol, a natural extract from
rice bran oil, or a combination of choline, pantothenic acid, and
thiamin. It may take a month or so for these longer-acting supplements
to take effect.

Calcium carbonate
A well-known heartburn reliever, calcium carbonate is the principal
active ingredient in antacid tablets such as Tums. It can provide
immediate relief and may be particularly effective for treating
sporadic heartburn. However, avoid brands that include peppermint,
which has been shown to relax the low esophageal sphincter (LES), the
muscle at the base of the esophagus that normally keeps food and
digestive acids in the stomach. A weakened LES can lead to heartburn.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) can also bring quick relief and may
help heal damaged mucus lining in the stomach.

Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera juice is another fast-acting supplement that frequently
helps soothe an agitated esophagus.

Also known as rice bran oil, gamma-oryzanol may be especially
appropriate for those who have chronic reflux. This rice bran oil
extract can help repair the entire digestive system and also improve
the central nervous system's digestive control.

Choline, pantothenic acid, thiamin
Choline, pantothenic acid, and thiamin are B-complex vitamins that can
have long-term digestive benefits. If you suffer from chronic
heartburn, try them in combination for a month or so to see if they

All the recommended supplements are effective for relieving heartburn.
The quick-acting ones can halt a heartburn attack. The longer-acting
supplements may enhance the whole digestive process and benefit people
with chronic heartburn. Mix and match to see which work best for you.
All can be used along with prescription or over-the-counter heartburn
medications as well.?

Home Remedies
Instructions: Eat LOTS of raw broccoli to kill heartburn. The fiber in
the broccoli will bind to the acids and provide excellent relief.Also,
baking soda water works but is almost as bad as the ailment itself.In
a pinch, drink a Sprite or 7-UP and chew some gum.

A stick of celery will take care of heartburn.

DGL tablets (licorice)
Instructions: I simply take two tablets 20 minutes before meals. In
three days, my symptoms were gone. Please note, acid reflux for me has
included the standard symptoms, plus significant pain in the
shoulders, flue-like symptoms and general enervation. I have seen four
MDs over the last 18 months, and been tested from one end to the other
for you name it, to no avail. I was taking Protonix--and it didn't
help. I changed my diet--no more lactose, no more caffeine, no more
red meat, no more alcohol, no white flour products. None of it made
any difference. But the DGL tablets did. Thank God for licorice!

Salt and Sugar
Instructions: Mix a little bit of salt and sugar on your hand and eat
it. It really works.

Instructions: I wanted to comment that I am a nurse in a
gastroenterology practice/endoscopy center and peppermint is a big,
big no-no!! If you have a hiatal hernia, causing increased reflux,
peppermint will only make it worse!!! I know it sounds so basic, but
pretzels really seem to make my heartburn better (even better than the
medications I get from work! They usually make me feel better within
15 minutes or so. Just keep eating them until you feel relief.

Cottage Cheese
Instructions: When I get heartburn and I have no medicine around I
will eat 1/2 cup of Cottage Cheese real
slowly. The milk in the cottage cheese keeps the acids from coming
back up into the esophagus.I hope this works for most of you.It works
for me everytime.
There are many more remedies on this page. Keep in mind that a lot of
them will cause relapse See ?Things you can do?,  further down in the

Bowl of Oatmeal with Raisins or Blueberries

Turkey Sandwich

Salmon, Zucchini, and Potato Kabob

Grilled Chicken with Carrots

Apples and Grapes;jsessionid=SSFL3IM42CXXNQFIBQSCBHQ?storyid=/templatedata/bhg/story/data/SuperfoodsDigestion_07232004.xml&catref=cat850056&page=2

Food Group Foods With Little Potential to Cause Heartburn (Safe foods)
? Apple, fresh
? Apple, dried
? Apple juice
? Banana Vegetables ? Baked potato
? Broccoli
? Cabbage
? Carrots
? Green beans
? Peas 

? Ground beef, extra-lean
? Steak, London Broil
? Chicken breast, skinless
? Egg whites
? Egg substitute
? Fish, no added fat 

? Cheese, feta or goat
? Cream cheese, fat-free
? Sour cream, fat-free
? Soy cheese, low-fat 

? Bread, mult-grain or white
? Cereal, bran or oatmeal
? Corn bread
? Graham crakers
? Pretzels
? Rice, brown or white
? Rice cakes

? Mineral water 

Fats / Oils 
? Salad dressing, low-fat
Sweets / Desserts 
? Cookie, fat-free
? Jelly beans
? Red licorice
? Potato chips, baked

Foods to be Avoided:
? Orange juice
? Lemon
? Lemonade
? Grapefruit juice
? Cranberry juice
? Tomato 

? Mashed potatoes
? French fries
? Onion, raw 

? Ground beef, chuck
? Marbled sirloin
? Chicken nuggets
? Buffalo wings 

? Sour cream
? Milk shake
? Ice cream
? Cottage cheese, regular 

? Macaroni and cheese
? Spaghetti with sauce

? Liquor
? Wine
? Coffee, decaffeinated or regular
? Tea, decaffeinated or regular 

Fats / Oils 
? Salad dressing, creamy
? Salad dressing, oil & vinegar

Sweets / Desserts 
? Butter cookie, high-fat
? Brownie
? Chocolate
? Doughnut
? Corn chips
? Potato chips, regular

High Fiber Diet thought to help heartburn victims:
?A new study shows if you have frequent and persistent heartburn
you're probably better off sticking to a high-fiber, low-fat diet.

High-fiber diets have long been heralded for their preventive role in
colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, but researchers say this is
the first time they been shown protect against gastroesophageal reflux
disease (GERD).
GERD, or heartburn, leads to symptoms of acid indigestion, which
affects about one in five Americans. Most people have GERD when the
esophagus comes in contact with stomach acids. Left untreated, GERD
can lead to ulcers and bleeding of the esophagus. It can also increase
the risk of cancer of the esophagus.?

?Peppermint, chamomile, anise, caraway, coriander, and fennel are all
teas that can improve your digestion. At the same time, they may rid
you of the uncomfortable symptoms of heartburn and other stomach
problems. Not all of them work the same for everyone. Some evidence
suggests that mint can actually cause heartburn in some people by
relaxing the valve between the stomach and the esophagus, allowing
stomach acid to back up. You can try different types of mints to see
how your body reacts.

Animals know to eat bitter plants when their digestion is suffering
because bitter foods and herbs help get the digestive juices flowing.
Watercress, dandelion and collard greens. Green leaf lettuce,
artichokes, and orange peel are bitter foods that can help soothe your
digestion problems.

Taking a mixture of 1 to 2 teaspoons equally of apple cider vinegar
and raw honey in a glass of distilled water before meals should
prevent heartburn. Apple cider vinegar also promotes digestion, and
neutralizes any toxic substance taken into the body.

Eating several almonds can relieve heartburn.

Eat dried figs, and dried or fresh papaya. These foods are loaded with
digestive enzymes.?

Products (None endorsed by myself or Google)

?PEPTROL? Offers natural heartburn remedies to almost everyone. Safe
for pregnant women and children old   enough to swallow pills. All
natural heartburn remedy specially formulated to gently relieve
gastrointestinal indigestion and upsets. No more chalky antacid
tablets to chew, bad tasting liquid antacids to swallow or messy
fibers to mix. Best of all, PEPTROL? is not prescription medicine.
It's all with no fillers, colors, additives, preservatives or binders.
The herbal formula in concentrated easy to swallow tab size is so safe
and effective we include the ingredients in many of our other products
to help aid digestion and buffer the stomach. Take this natural
heartburn remedy to relieve symptoms of upset or acid stomach,
indigestion, or as a heart burn treatment. PEPTROL? natural antacid
may be taken every day. PEPTROL? may also be taken as a preventative
against heartburn due to acid indigestion and sour stomach which
result from eating or drinking certain foods or beverages.?

?R&D and Gastro-Health
In 1994, Natures Sunshine set out to create a product that would
support stomach health by inhibiting the H-pylori bacteria which
scientific studies determined is the primary cause of ulcers.   NSP
extensive R&D found this herbal combination specifically inhibits the
activity of H-pylori without affecting the ?good? bacteria in the
intestinal tract.
With input from Dr. Alvin Segelman, Vice President of Health Sciences,
the R&D department undertook a two-year project to test 330 herbs for
their effectiveness against Helicobacter pylori bacteria.?

Stomach Comfort

?The three types of macronutrients - protein, carbohydrates and fat -
have corresponding classes of digestive enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes
(or proteases) digest protein; amylases are needed during the
digestion of carbohydrates; and lipases digest fat. The pancrea
produces these enzymes, which is why they are collectively known as
pancreatic enzymes. Inadequate production of pancreatic enzymes, which
is increasingly common as we age, can lead to symptoms of indigestion.
Although there are tests to determine the quantity and quality of the
body's production of digestive enzymes, it is easier and less
expensive to simply add digestive enzymes to a meal and then to judge
whether your digestion is improved.?

?Digestive enzyme supplements are usually a combination of enzymes
that break down protein (protease), break down carbohydrates
(amylase), and break down fats (lipase). Some suggestions on what to
look for in an enzyme supplement:
?	Ratios of the different enzymes vary. For holiday heartburn, a
supplement with the highest ratio of lipase might be most effective.
?	Avoid supplements that only contain proteases. Too much protease can
break down lipase, impairing fat digestion.
?	Steer clear of formulas that contain hydrochloric acid, betaine
hydrochloride, or ox bile. The extra acidity can worsen symptoms.
?	Look for capsule form.
?	Digestive enzymes must be taken approximately 15 minutes before
meals with a glass of water.
People taking blood thinners such as warfarin should avoid digestive
enzymes. Pregnant or nursing women, or people with ulcers, cystic
fibrosis, liver or kidney disease should only take digestive enzymes
under the supervision of a health care professional.?
This site suggests chewable DGL or aloe vera juice.

"Too Few Enzymes

Enzymes are essential for normal digestion. Unfortunately, most adults
don't have enough of them. The main reason is the kind of food we eat.

Enzymes are naturally present in the raw fruits and vegetables, not
exactly the most popular food items for most Americans. To make
matters worse, cooking and food processing destroy enzymes. As a
result, most of the food we eat is enzyme deficient.

In addition, as we get older, there is a definite decline in the level
of digestive enzymes produced in the stomach, pancreas and small
intestine, usually after age 30 to 35. The reason for this is not
clear, but it is an established medical fact.

The lack of enzymes leads to poor digestion, poor absorption, as well
as accumulation of undigested food, material, metabolic waste and
putrefied fecal matter in the intestinal tract. This can lead to food
allergies, overgrowth of parasites, yeast and unfriendly bacteria,
indigestion, constipation, belching, bloating and many other health

Digestive Enzymes


?Probiotics are concentrated whole foods derived from friendly gut
bacteria that provide a restoration of complete nutrient complexes.
These advantageous microorganisms make the digestive tract work more
effectively so that heartburn may never affect you anymore. Realize
that beneficial bacteria once had been ingested as part of food grown
in rich, unpolluted soil, but for the last half-century our farming
soil has been sterilized with pesticides and herbicides, killing those
good bacteria. Heartburn strikes because such probiotics are absent in
our highly processed foods, and they need to be returned to the gut.
You can do this easily merely by making probiotics a part of your
usual diet. Acquire them from any health foodstore. To learn which
probiotic brands are best, ask the health food store proprietor to
interpret the products' labels for you. Then enjoy beneficial
gastrointestinal restoration and no more heartburn.?

?Probiotic supplements may benefit everyone, especially those
suffering with chronic health problems. Probiotics have long been used
to restore the body?s natural bacterial balance. According to Dr.
Pierre Michetti in the Division of Gastroenterology at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass., nonpathogenic Lactobacilli
have been used for decades because of their potential health benefits
and their ability to increase resistance to infectious illness. For
example, in his article entitled, ?Lactobacilli for the Management of
Helicobacter pylori,? Dr. Michetti noted, ?Some strains of L.
acidophilus can participate in the protection of humans against the
deleterious effects of H. pylori, and can play an adjuvant role in the
treatment of this infection. Probiotics may represent an approach to
establishing a harmless relationship with
H. pylori.?
?For immediate digestive relief:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon or more of Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 or NAS
super strain powder with 1/2 teaspoon or more Lactobacillus
bulgaricus, LB-51 super strain powder in 6 to 8 ounces of
room-temperature chlorine-free water. Sip slowly. Repeat every 15
minutes until relief is achieved. Follow each meal with Lactobacillus
bulgaricus, LB-51 super strain chewable wafers or 1/2 teaspoon or more
of Lactobacillus bulgaricus, LB-51 super strain powder in 6 to 8
ounces of room-temperature chlorine-free water to promote good
digestion. Amounts of powders may be increased as desired to achieve
results, as these supplements are nontoxic and safe at any level.
You may also take one or more oil-matrix capsules (containing all
three super strains of beneficial bacteria) daily.?

?Yogurt contains beneficial digestive bacteria, as do Acidophilus
caplets , Children's Acidophilus chewable tablets , Acidophilus
Strawberry Liquid , and Children's Acidophilus Powder .
? Eat dried figs, fresh pineapple*, and dried or fresh papaya. These
foods are loaded with digestive enzymes. Or you could take Digestive
Enzymes  in capsule form. *Pineapple will help most people, and it
bothers some - if it bothers you, eliminate it from your diet.?

?Try some natural remedies: Consider aloe vera gel, one ounce up to
twice a day. Just as it soothes external burns, so can heal and soothe
an irritated esophagus. Deglycherhizinated licorice, known also as
DGL, has been shown to be as effective as Tagamet in reducing pain
from ulcers, without the cost or side-effects?

Things to Do

This looks like an interesting and useful book, highly rated by readers:
How to Stop Heartburn: Simple Ways to Heal Heartburn and Acid Reflux
(Paperback) by Anil Minocha, Christine Adamec

This page has a link to a Heartburn Symptom Record, that you can print
and utilize to see what foods/activities bother you the most.

Try to eliminate stress in your life, or at least learn to cope with
it. Relaxation tapes or a yoga class may be helpful. Take time to just
sit and listen to soft music!

   If you are a coffee drinker and have a hard time giving it up, try
Kava brand instant coffee. It has been acid neutralized. It has helped
me and countless people I know. I have also found eating apples helps
me too! Chew your food slowly and thoroughly, and try not to talk too
much while you are eating. Swallowed air can cause bloating.

?When you finally do lie down, elevate the head of your bed 4 to 6
inches. You can do this by putting blocks under the legs of the bed
itself or by slipping a wedge under the mattress at the head of the
bed. (Extra pillows, however, cannot be expected to do the trick.)
Keeping the bed on a slant will discourage the heartburn from

?Don't make your problem worse with bad advice. You might have heard
that some things, like milk or mints, are good for heartburn. Make
sure the guy who gave you this advice doesn't try to sell you a bridge
somewhere. What's wrong with milk and mints? Mints are one of several
foods that tend to relax your lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, the
little valve whose job it is to keep acid in your stomach?and the
little lid that can often protect you even when you do overindulge.

And what's wrong with milk? It's this: Fats, proteins, and calcium in
milk can stimulate the stomach to secrete acid. "Some people recommend
milk for heartburn?but there's a problem with it," says Dr. Klein. "It
feels good going down, but it does stimulate acid secretion in the
Other foods that can relax your sphincter, and should be avoided to
alleviate or prevent heartburn, include beer, wine, and other
alcoholic beverages, and tomatoes.?

It Could Be an Ulcer
If you're experiencing heartburn regularly for no apparent reason,
it's time to call your doctor, says Samuel Klein, M.D.
How regularly? As a rule of thumb, "two or three times a week for more
than four weeks," says Francis S. Kleckner, M.D. Although heartburn is
most usually caused by simple acid reflux, he cautions that it can
also be a sign of an ulcer.
Heartburn accompanied by any of the following symptoms, says Dr.
Klein, should be checked out by a physician fast. It could mean you're
having a heart attack.
?	Difficulty or pain when swallowing
?	Vomiting with blood
?	Bloody or black stool
?	Shortness of breath
?	Dizziness or light-headedness
?	Pain radiating into your neck and shoulder
In addition, know that heartburn caused by simple acid reflux is
normally worse after meals. If your heartburn worsens before meals, it
may be a sign of an ulcer.

Walk into your favorite health food store and chances are you'll find
a number of herbs that are reputed to fight heartburn. Daniel B.
Mowrey, Ph.D., a psychologist and psychopharmacologist who has been
researching herb use in medicine for 15 years, has looked at the
evidence thoroughly and has come to the conclusion, that, yes, some
herbal remedies do relieve and prevent heartburn.
Gingeroot. This, says Dr. Mowrey, is the most helpful. "I've seen it
work often enough that I'm convinced," he says. "We're not sure how it
works, but it seems to absorb the acid and have the secondary effect
of calming the nerves," he says. Take it in capsule form just after
you eat. Start with two capsules and increase the dosage as needed.
You know you've taken enough, says Dr. Mowrey, when you start to taste
ginger in your throat.

Bitters. A class of herbs called bitters, used for many years in parts
of Europe, is also helpful, Dr. Mowrey says. Examples of common
bitters are gentian root, wormwood, and goldenseal. "I can vouch that
they work," says Dr. Mowrey. Bitters can be taken in capsule form or
as a liquid extract, just before you eat.
Aromatics. The aromatic herbs, such as catnip and fennel, are also
reputed to be good for heartburn, "but the research on these is
sporadic," says Dr. Mowrey.
Some you should forget about. A group of herbs that includes irish
moss, plantain, and slippery elm is often recommended, but "I have the
least confidence in these," he says.

Apple cider vinegar. Outside the herb family, an oft-touted remedy for
heartburn is 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 1/2 glass of water
sipped during a meal. "I've used it many times?it definitely works,"
says Betty Shaver, a lecturer on herbal and home remedies at the New
Age Health Spa in Neversink, New York. It may sound bizarre to ingest
an acid when you have an acid problem, admits Shaver, but "there are
good acids and bad acids," she says.
Please check this site for additional tips.

Dr. Arai says ?I am not aware of any alternative or herbal approach to
treating GERD, such as the ones you mentioned. PPI therapy is safe and
effective and is the best medical treatment currently available for

What If Symptoms Persist? 
?People with severe, chronic esophageal reflux or with symptoms not
relieved by the treatment described above may need more complete
diagnostic evaluation. Doctors use a variety of tests and procedures
to examine a patient with chronic heartburn.

An upper GI series may be performed during the early phase of testing.
This test is a special x-ray that shows the esophagus, stomach, and
duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). While an upper GI
series provides limited information about possible reflux, it is used
to rule out other diagnoses, such as peptic ulcers.

Endoscopy is an important procedure for individuals with chronic GERD.
By placing a small lighted tube with a tiny video camera on the end
(endoscope) into the esophagus, the doctor may see inflammation or
irritation of the tissue lining the esophagus (esophagitis). If the
findings of the endoscopy are abnormal or questionable, biopsy
(removing a small sample of tissue) from the lining of the
For patients in whom diagnosis is difficult, doctors may measure the
acid levels inside the esophagus through pH testing. Testing pH
monitors the acidity level of the esophagus and symptoms during meals,
activity, and sleep. Newer techniques of long-term pH monitoring are
improving diagnostic capability in this area.?

Further reading

I hope this has helped you. Realize that if your heartburn is severe,
you may need a prescription medication to avoid complications. Please
see your doctor first for a complete exam, to be sure your symptoms
are JUST heartburn.

If any part of my answer is unclear, please request an Answer
Clarification. I will be happy to assist you further, before you rate
this answer.

Good Luck!
Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms

GERD + natural remedies
Home remedies + heartburn
treating heartburn + without drugs
natural remedies + acid reflux
alternative remedies + heartburn
eliminating heartburn
Digestion + enzymes
Subject: Re: Digestive Help
From: mutaz-ga on 14 Jan 2006 08:29 PST
Excellent Article

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy