Contrary to popular belief, LOW stomach acid is actually
the culprit behind heartburn. Low stomach acid results
in poor digestion and fermentation of undigested foods.
Fermentation produces large amounts of gas that push
back up the oesophagus. There is a small sphincter
valve that is supposed to close when food moves into
the intestines, but the pressure coming from the gas will
push the valve open. This leads to gas, bloating and
Antacids or proton pump inhibitors are often prescribed
to reduce acid reflux. They may seem like they are
working because there will be no acid for the gases to
push up, BUT the reduction in stomach acid will actually
be making the fermentation worse.
In 1999, a review of existing studies found that, on
average, 40% of acid reflux patients also had H.Pylori
Tips to treat acid reflux:
• Take digestive enzymes with each meal. The enzymes
should contain betain with pepsin for protein
• You might not be absorbing important nutrients such
as calcium, zinc and B12 so supplement with a good
multivitamin and mineral.
• Eat Bulgarian yogurt and supplement with a probiotic
to repopulate the digestive tract with healthy flora.
• Reduce irritation of the digestive tract by avoiding
the following: smoking, sugar, refined foods, milk,
wheat, potatoes, chocolate, coffee and excess
• Stress can contribute to the symptoms of acid reflux
so try to practice relaxation techniques.
• Test for the presence of an H.Pylori infection. A stool
test is the best option for this.
A qualified Nutritional Therapist will be able to help you
with specific dietary, lifestyle and supplement advice.
Katherine Tudsbury has a Diploma in Nutritional
Medicine from the University of West London.
Cell: 082 293 9408