Sacramento consumers always seem to be looking for natural ways to prevent acid reflux, whether it's buying slippery elm tea at local Sacramento health food stores or drinking cabbage juice to help heal stomach ulcers. But what do you do when your stomach valve is weak and lets the acid back up into your esophagus, creating burns and lesions, when you lie down?
If your stomach valve is weak and lets stomach acid back up into your esophagus when you lie down, you could stop drinking that mint tea that further relaxes the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach. Just switch to another herbal tea that doesn't relax the spincter. For example, try decaf green tea if you're not looking to drink tea with caffeine.
Can cabbage juice help to heal ulcers? Doctors know most ulcers are caused by H. pylori bacteria. What effects would cabbage juice have on bacteria? Check out the video, New Types of Healthy Bacteria Found in Kimchi, which is Korean-style pickled cabbage and cabbage juice. Scientists have discovered that these bacteria help bolster the human immune system and reduce chances of acquiring cancer by minimizing cancer-causing substances in the intestine. The researchers cultured these two strains in large amounts and made it into powdered form, according to the video.
According to the article, "HCL Stomach Acid Test," published at the Seven Seeds Healthy Living website, Nov. 20, 2008, cabbage juice in medical studies has been shown to heal some stomach ulcers. The active ingredient is an amino acid called L-glutamine, which nourishes the cells lining the esophagus and stomach so they repair themselves.
The article also suggests juicing 4-8 ounces of cabbage and drinking it after meals. That article mentions that to avoid gas (if your body reacts that way to the cabbage juice) take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of L-glutamine, mixed with 1/4 cup of water, after eating. Dr. Robert Downs, who heads the Southwest Center of Healing Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico, recommends a special concoction to relieve the heartburn of a hiatal hernia: one part aloe vera juice and four parts papaya juice blended 50/50 with mineral water or club soda, sipped often during the day, according to that article. Test a little aloe vera in your body to make sure you're not allergic to it or to the papaya juice.
Herbs effective for heartburn
Members of a group of herbs called carminatives relax the lower esophageal sphincter. When that sphincter is relaxed, the stomach acids slosh back up into your esophagus when you lie down and cause acid reflux symptoms.
So stay away from the herbal mint teas such as spearmint and peppermint herbal teas or combinations of herbal teas containing these herbs because they're carminatives. Also stay away from fennel and lemon balm as they're also carminatives and sometimes found in combination herbal caffeine-free teasans.
Cutting back on spicy foods, onions, and acidic juices such as citrus or tomato, saturated fats-especially deep-fried foods, alcohol, coffee, tea, white sugar, and unrefined carbohydrates. The article, "HCL Stomach Acid Test," suggests the following homeopathic and alternative herbal remedies. Please talk to your doctor before taking anything unfamiliar as you don't know whether or not you're allergic to it or might have an adverse reaction or whether it's contraindicated mixed with your other medicines or supplements. That article suggests the following:
Aloe Vera: Aloe gel contains very large sugar molecules called mucopolysaccharides. These special sugars have been shown to help heal burns, ulcers, and inflamed intestinal walls. 600 mg capsule form or 2 Tablespoons liquid form, 20 minutes before each meal, three times a day.
Homeopathic-Nux Vomica: 2 tablets of a 30C potency twice daily until symptoms are gone. Thereafter use as needed for occasional symptoms. If there is no improvement within one week, stop using it.
Slippery Elm: This is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and very soothing to mucous membranes. Suck on a lozenge after each meal or as needed. 500-1,000 capsule, tincture, or tea after each meal. Caution: Avoid taking medication at the exact same time, they should be taken one hour apart.
An article in Alternative Therapies Jul/Aug 2008 Vol14. No.4 presented new studies of melatonin administration as a treatment for the symptoms of GERD. The enterochromaffin cells of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract secret 400 times as much melatonin as the pineal gland - so it is found to have an important role in GI functioning. We may want to keep our eye on this for a possible treatment. Read the PDF file of the article at the website, PDF] Melatonin for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
DLPA instead of pain medication?
Recently a study compared an over-the-counter prescription painkiller with a blend of amino acids taken from peas and lentils called DLPA. The pea and lentil extract boosted pain relief by boosting levels of endorphins in your brain. Basically, your brain becomes its own painkiller when those endorphins are excreted. In fact, scientists sometimes say that brain endorphins are "at least three times stronger than morphine," according to one study noted in the article "Pain-proof your back," on page 16 of Woman's World magazine, Dec. 20, 2010 edition, now on newstands.
If you want to get deeper into the study on DLPA, check out the article, "Nutritional Therapy - DLPA, Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Selenium," published at the site, 101 Alternative Healing.
According to that article, "Dr. Seymour Ehrenpreis of the Chicago Medical School found that the amino acid DLPA (dl-phenylalanine) naturally protects the endorphins. Studies have shown that DLPA allows the patient's natural levels of endorphins to rise, reducing or eliminating long-standing chronic pain."
Researchers have found that the brain produces its own pain killers that resemble morphine. The chemicals are called endorphins. The problem is the body also destroys the endorphins. DLPA works to decrease pain, but it's not like a fast-acting pill because it takes from two days to six weeks for DLPA to allow your body's endorphin levels to increase enough to block some types of pain.
Scientists also found that DLPA also strengthens the painkilling effects of aspirin. You can buy this extract from peas and lentils in many health food stores. Don't take DLPA during pregnancy and/or lactation. Also don't take DLPA if you have a genetic condition called PKU (phenylketonuria. Don't take DLPA if you're on a phenylalanine-restricted diet. And don't give DLPA to anyone under age 14.
List of Foods Helping People with Acid Reflux
Here's a list of foods that generally help people with acid reflux conditions. For more information, see the Heart Burn Alliance Organization site. Notice that most of the foods are made without added fats or oils that can cause more acid to be produced to digest them.
To fight acid reflux, keep a food diary to identify foods that trigger heartburn. Some people have too little stomach acid rather than too much, or the stomach acid isn't producing enough digestive enzymes as people age. For example, people with type O blood produce a stronger stomach acid than people with type A blood, according to numerous naturopaths.
Pay close attention to portion size for all foods you eat each day. Note what quantities, if any, your stomach tolerates without acid reflux symptoms. According to theHeart Burn Alliance Organization website, "Use your “personal serving sizes” as a guide. Larger portions of any food are more likely to cause acid reflux, especially when you lie down.
• Green beans
• Baked potato
• Multi-grain bread
• White bread
• Corn bread
• Brown rice
• White rice
• Graham crackers
• Saltine crackers
• Rice cakes
• Oatmeal cereal
• Frosted cereal
• Bran-based cereal
• Cream cheese, fat-free
• Feta cheese
• Goat cheese
• Sour cream, fat-free
• Soy cheese, low-fat
• Ground beef, extra-lean
• Steak, London Broil
• Chicken breast, without skin
• Egg whites/egg substitute
• Fish, fresh, prepared without added fat
• Potato chips, baked
• Cookie, fat-free
• Jelly beans
• Red licorice
• Salad dressing, low-fat
• Mineral water
Foods to Avoid if You Have Acid Reflux: Always Talk to Your Doctor First if You Have a Stomach Condition
• Orange juice
• Grapefruit juice
• Cranberry juice
• Mashed potatoes
• French fries
• Onion, raw
• Potato salad
• Macaroni and cheese
• Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce
• Sour cream
• Milk shake
• Ice cream
• Cottage cheese, regular
• Ground beef, chuck
• Marbled sirloin
• Chicken, nugget-style
• Chicken, buffalo wings
• Corn chips
• Potato chips, regular
• Butter cookie, high-fat
• Salad dressing, creamy
• Salad dressing, oil & vinegar