Readers’ Corner: Natural Treatments for Acid Reflux (GERD)

September 3, 2013

how-to-stop-acid-refluxHere’s a new suggestion from a leading integrative physician and some intriguing comments from our readers.
Our article last May on gastroesophageal reflux disease continues to get a lot of comments. The article concerned a controversial surgical procedure in which a metal ring with magnets is clipped onto the bottom of the esophagus. The ring of magnets pull inward to close the esophagus but with practice expands to allow food to pass downward. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? Does anyone think for a moment this operation would be happening if it weren’t so profitable for surgeons?
As we have noted, the primary cause of acid reflux in most cases appears to be a stomach environment that is not acidic enough. The lack of acid in the stomach, where it is meant to be, means that the stomach may fail to signal the pyloric valve at the top of the stomach to close when you are digesting food—which in turn allows acid reflux to get up in your throat and produce heartburn. Even weak acid, too weak to close the valve, will cause pain in the throat and potentially damage the sensitive tissue there, which, unlike the stomach, is not meant to be exposed to acid.
One of our readers, Brad, notes that it is very important to get one’s pH levels tested to ascertain the acid levels in one’s stomach:

Dr. Jonathan Wright [about whose battle with the Washington medical board we have been chronicling in this newsletter] has had almost 2,000 patients with these acid problems. Not one of them ever had their intestinal pH checked by their MDs….Dr. Wright gives them a Heidelberg capsule [a high-frequency radio transmitter] and every step of your intestine is measured for real pH. Of his nearly 2,000 patients w/acid issues only two individuals had too much acid. Every other patient had low stomach acid. It is still too acidic to not damage and hurt the esophagus, but the weak acids make for poor digestion, cause gas, which causes pressure, which causes reflux/heartburn….In most cases, most MDs are doing the exact worst thing by prescribing antacids!

We couldn’t agree more, Brad. Besides the Heidelberg capsule, other tests are available to measure the pH levels in the stomach. If you experience frequent acid reflux, be sure to see your integrative physician and ask for one. He or she may also recommend supplements containing hydrochloric acid and enzymes to control GERD and restore the digestive system.
In addition to hydrochloric acid tablets, there are other, newer approaches. One natural health product known as d-limonene seems to help. Dr. Frank Shallenberger recommends fairly low dose melatonin as another treatment for GERD. He cites a study of 350 patients in which all patients who took the melatonin were relieved of their acid reflux symptoms within forty days—with no side effects. The researchers used other nutrients in conjunction with the melatonin: l-tryptophan, d,l-methionine, betaine, folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. They used l-tryptophan because it converts to melatonin in the enterochromaffin cells. The other supplements stimulate the methylation cycle. This news about melatonin is an exciting new development.
One reader said papaya tablets work well for him—within minutes. While there are no strong scientific studies investigating papaya’s effectiveness against acid reflux, there is much anecdotal evidence supporting papain, the enzyme in papaya, as an effective digestive aid.
Many other readers suggested apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar’s acetic acid promotes a more acidic environment in the stomach (although it may promote a less acidic environment elsewhere in the body where one wants it be to be more alkaline.) Just one tablespoon stirred in small amount of water may be enough—it is important not to drink too much of it. (Some readers said apples themselves worked well.)
Some readers mentioned probiotics. Although healthy bacteria are needed in the lower intestine, and probiotics work wonders for problems there, the stomach is supposed to be an environment that is too high in acid for probiotics to live there.

48 responses to “Readers’ Corner: Natural Treatments for Acid Reflux (GERD)”

  1. I have used Baking Soda, 1/2 teaspoon in 4 ounces of water for this. It works fine. Also, I find this condition is an indication that I am angry. When I release the anger the discomfort leaves. I also pray for the acid reflux to release from my emotions and replace it with love and grace. That really works well. When I am at peace and in the presence of love, I am healthy. Releasing anything that blocks that restores my health.
    It is just a wakeup call to restore harmony to my system, emotionally.

  2. Peggy Howell says:

    For several years I have been drinking a tea which contains both cinnamon and ginger with every meal. As long as I drink this tea, I don’t have acid reflux. A few months ago I began taking cinnamon capsules for another issue and found that this also resolves the gerd if I don’t happen to have the tea available to drink. It’s easy as can be with no negative side affects.

  3. Daniel says:

    Propaganda to selling coated pills and misinformation feed off words like “the stomach is supposed to be an environment that is too high in acid for probiotics to live there.” Yet, yogurt always assists most people with normal health with the un-coated original formula yogurt.
    Bioactive aloe also assists returning the g.I. track back to normal.
    Thanks for letting people know, stomach acid is good. Ant-acid is not.
    Ometeotl!

  4. Martha says:

    DGL licorice tablets and mastic gum capsules worked for me, along with eliminating caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages and spicy foods from my diet.

  5. lizzy poole says:

    How does a probiotic capsule work if the stomach is too acidic for it to survive?

    • Leigh Vandriel says:

      lizzy poole –
      A probiotic is usually a small “pearl” that has a coating that is resistant to stomach acid and the coating does not dissolve until it reaches the small intestine where the probiotic action increases the intestinal flora – the “good guys”.
      Hope this helps . . .

  6. Mark Burger says:

    Though I understand and practice the concept of acidifying the patient’s gastrum to prevent heartburn/GERD/acid reflux, I must correct your statement: The PYLORIC VALVE is the valve that allows chyme to pass from the stomach into the duodenum. The LOWER ESOPHAGEAL SPHINCTER or Cardiac Valve is the one located at the TOP of the stomach and whose lax nature allows stomach acid to efflux onto the esophagus. Giving HCl in the form of betaine HCl (for example) does strengthen this valve and ensures that no acid will reflux onto the esophagus. Thank you.

  7. Michael Ponzani says:

    Leonard Herter, in one of his books about authentioc historical recipies, wrote about an interesting and _very_ effective method for dealing with heartburn. Just take a heaping teaspoon of sugar and either drop it in your mouth dry and swallow with water or mix it in a little water and swallow that. It works within seconds and you will burp a little gas.
    If the GERD is severe you may have to repeat the dose. It has worked for me and that is the only thing I would go for.
    The teaspoon ios the one you stir coffee with, not a measured teaspoon.

  8. PW says:

    “…where it is meant to be, means that the stomach may fail to signal the pyloric valve at the top of the stomach to close when you are digesting food—which in turn allows acid reflux to get up in your throat and produce heartburn.”
    The pyloric valve is at the bottom of the stomach, between the stomach and the duodenum. The cardiac valve is at the top of the stomach between the esophagus and the stomach.

  9. Preston Wheaton says:

    Exercise and lose weight… then it will go away…

  10. Lane Longo says:

    Indigestion and acid reflux can be ameliorated by raw saurkraut or pickle juice. Not a side effect in sight.

  11. A Tablespoon of kefir works every time for me. I don’t know why.

  12. Lynne Nelson says:

    I had frequent GERD for my entire life and have recently discovered that by maintaining a diet free of salicylate (to which I am allergic or sensitive), I have elimiated my indigestion as welll. This is quite an eye opener for me as I am now in my seventies and recall digestive problems since my late teens. There aren’t tests for this allergy, but if one is allergic to aspirin, as I am, then it follows that one should avoid over consumption of foods in this group which consists of many vegetables and most fruits. Once the body clears itself of the allergen, then some of the foods on the list may be used again, although infrequently, based on my experience.
    I found information about salicylates by accident when I was researching food allergens and learned that those allergic to aspirin also have trouble with certain vegetables and herbs. The problem for many also includes food additives, colors and preservatives. I have recently discovered that my own problem includes something as common as baking soda. Based on the forums I’ve discovered on the Internet, I bellieve that food allergies are widespread problems, and worst of all, the foods we are urged to partake of the most, fruits, vegetables and herbs are those containing the offending natural ingredient. A person must also be aware that natural skin products with herbs are absorbed by the body and can cause problems. I hope others may find my experience helpful

  13. Danna says:

    Lemons work wonders as well! The juice of 1/2 a lemon before meals in a small amount of water.

  14. L. Rich says:

    It has been discovered that acid-reflux disease is a result of a break-down of the gut that can’t do its job. In an age of antibiotics and other toxic drugs used as standard procedure plus toxic environment, the healing of the gut must occur to heal these conditions. Everything else is band-aid treatment, not cure. “The Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride shows how to turn this condition around to a healthy gut. It can be healed completely. The same healing treatment also cures Autism, Bi-Polar disorder, ADD & ADHD because they are all a result of gut break-down that can’t handle the toxins that leak through the deteriorated gut wall, into the blood system, and to the brain. Dr. Natasha cured her own son, and many others, of Autism! Where do you ever hear that?

  15. Lisa Lange says:

    For at least 5 years I took Aciphex for GERD. Kept having to increase the dosage. After a visit to the ER and admitted, I had a Colonoscopy and Endoscopy. Endoscopy showed my stomach was filled with polyps. Told the Gastro specialist I’d find an alternative to Aciphex. Called my Naturopath and she suggested AloeVera juice or gel, mixed with juice to make it drinkable and that would work. I also included Cannabis Oil concentrate, a few drops under the tongue several times a day. Six months later I had another Endoscopy and my stomach had only a few polyps remaining. Now anytime I get that acid~like feeling in my belly, I go back to the AloeVera for a week and I feel better.

  16. As a psychiatrist, I see that a high percentage of depressed patients come in on PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors) for GERD. I can’t help but think that in at least some of them this contributes to the depression. If there is not enough acid, then protein is not broken down very well into it’s component amino acids. Because of this, there is not enough amino acid substrate for the formation of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin. Anyway I encourage them to migrate to H2 blockers such as Pepcid. Sometimes this seems to work although I also use nutrients such as folic acid. On a personal note when I occasionally get heartburn I drink a few swigs of ‘health store rootbeer’ (contains nonGMO cane sugar). This provides near instantaneous relief even though it likely reduces the ph of my stomach (makes it more acidic).

    • bethy says:

      heard that thee proton pump cause hip fractures the gerd causes depression too soybean is in everything this is causing a lot of problems

  17. Alobar Greywalker says:

    I was having acid reflux for a while, but now I take lemon water twice a day.
    Take 1/2 lemon, use a serrated steak knife to remove most of yellow skin but leave the white inner rind intact. Cut in quarters and use a blender stick to grind it up with about 6 ounces of water.
    I am a diabetic with a sweet tooth, so I add erythritol sweetener.

  18. Shasha says:

    Hi, Acid reflux…maybe due to Celiac. Tests may not work to diagnose Celiac. NO gluten/dairy/soy/sugar…vitamins/good oils and LDN. HCl and Now brand- Super enzymes with meals may help. Vit C, Vit D3, fish oil, zinc. Nature’s plus- Source of life multiple may help. Gluten is wheat/barley/rye…oats.) GMO food may also hurt.

  19. Anthony Castiglia, MD says:

    The pyloric valve does not control the bottom of the esophagus where incompetentcy of the LES (*lower esophgeal sphincter) or lack of stomach acidity causes GERD. If the stomach is acidic enouigh, the pyloris opens and the LES stays closed!!

  20. Just recently I found out I am very allergic to chicken egg yolk, allergic to chicken egg white and whole duck egg so I had to quit eating eggs and the result is amazing. I have had problems with GERD until now. I can’t recall any reflux in the past 6 weeks since stopping the eggs; even going to bed with a full stomach which used to be a big no-no. My stomach feels peaceful, quiet, and not as easily irritated to bring on reflux. I still take the DGL daily which I guess helps but stopping the eggs has been almost like a miracle cure for me. Amazing! The worst part, though, eggs are in so many foods it’s getting rather challenging while traveling; almost burdensome having to ask everywhere if eggs are in certain foods.

  21. Dianne Wells says:

    How about eating less.

  22. I get heartburn occasionally and find nearly instant
    Relief by stirring 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 6 ounces of cold
    water and drink quickly. By the time I rinse
    the glass and spoon and put them in the dishwasher,
    my heartburn is gone!

  23. I have acid reflux but it bothers me mostly at night when I go to bed. for the last two weeks I have been using Aloe Vera juice and have had only one attack in all that time. I drink 2 ounces twice a day. I take one dose just before I go to bed.

    • SG says:

      I suffered from sever GERD symptoms for two years. Over that period of time I had seen five different Physicians and even had my Gallbladder removed without any discernible relief of the symptoms. On the advice of my Chiropractor I started using Aloe Vera oral gel. Within a week my symptoms were controlled! Initially, I consumed abut 500 ML’s a day (drinking it at various points during the day). I no longer measure the amount I drink but it is considerably less than it was six months ago. I found that the gel worked better than the juice for me but I will use whichever is readily available.

  24. Terry Lindsay says:

    Does anyone get the burning in the stomach mouth and throat. My sis gets it bad and has been to so many drs
    Also i am going through acid reflux i also have a lot of bloating , gas ,indigestion and my food comes up sometimes and hard to swollow at times
    does any one have these symptoms my sis and i have??

  25. Brent Bielema says:

    I discovered a Japanese product (from Smallflower) called KAOL mints, which apparently have ten different herbs / plant extracts — including ginger and licorice root. They are also sugarless and don’t contain artificial sweeteners. This looks like it would be a great opportunity for an American importer. Haven’t tried them yet but I did put in an order. You get 800 of the silver-colored micro-mints in every 1.1 oz. container (which is 400 servings and costs about $15). Looks like the ultimate after-dinner digestive mint!

  26. Moxie says:

    I’ve achieved excellent results using organic sulfur, and am so grateful to be able to digest proteins again without acid reflux problems! It’s my understanding the body requires sulfur to make Hcl and sulfur is indicated in digestive issues. Most of us are deficient as it is not in the food in sufficient quantities anymore since the sulfur cycle was broken years ago when chemical fertilizers were introduced and the use of animal manures was discontinued in farming. Take it an hour away from food, twice a day. It also reportedly helps cleanse the body of environmental toxins (like chemtrails, etc.) and is needed for a multitude of body processes. Proper food combining helps, too.

  27. Robert Cruder says:

    GERD symptoms are usually intermittent and temporary relief can easily be credited to the possibly ineffective remedy most recently tried. This condition virtually demands double-blind testing.
    Epidemiological considerations are a poor substitute but still superior to anecdotal reporting.
    A common secondary symptom of GERD called Barrets esophagitis is a precancerous condition.
    Chinese food is more often acid than not and China has the highest rate of esophageal cancer. Conversely acid blockers such as proton pump inhibitors have been shown to reverse Barrets and reduce the risk of secondary cancers. That confirms conventional practice over consumption of additional acid.
    Malabsorption syndromes and failure to kill acid-sensitive pathogens are real risks and readers should appreciate their discussion. Late detection and surgical difficulty for esophageal cancer must make avoidance of Barrets the priority.

  28. Christopher Curry says:

    In the 80’s when the acid reflux pills were coming out, I had had problems with acid reflux and had seen a Doctor who had my scoped from both ends, even a barium enema. He said I must avoid stress and eat bland foods. I read an article in Reader’s Digest about treatment for H pylori (etc) moving back and forth between the blood stream and intestinal walls, and getting started with dental or other oral infection over time. I insisted on this treatment
    So I told DR Lacano to provide that antibiotic while I applied Bismuth orally. (He was already familiar with it from years previous-but not an advocate) I think he is still alive but I have not seen him since. I had realized that I enjoy doing things which involve people and stress and that my diet had always been bland –far less so now) . The problem now seems to be in the lower gut. The distress is greatest prior to early morning bowel movement. We are thinking that we have a problem with gluten as we are both much absent these symptoms when gluten free for several days. Given the various speeds of travel through the stomach and intestine-I would be concerned if the dissolution of the capsule containing hydrochloric acid was not matched closely to that individual rate. (Wife with diabetes is slow I am not) I am 66 she 63.

    • Thank you for your update on Gerd. I did not know about Apple Cider Vinegar and the it lowering the acid in the lower Intestine. I was taking Apple Cider Vinegar and found it did not help me. Probiotics
      and acid in the stomach, is also good to know.
      If your interested I attempted to tell what I had found out by researching this subject of GERD. This is a link to that article
      Thank You for your great service and information
      Heartburn – Too Much or Too Little Stomach acid?
      http://coconutcreamcare.com/2013/07/30/heartburn-too-much-or-too-little-stomach-acid/

    • TJ says:

      Suggest that you investigate using enzymes and probiotics from a health food store or natural-path chiropractor/ or wellness coach. Be sure that you buy quality, plant based, products and not the watered down versions designed to give natural health products a bad name.

  29. Jale Dalton says:

    Small amount of baking soda, a bit of vinegar, dilute with water; drink quickly as it is bubbling, long lasting remedy for acid reflux and an uncomfortable stomach.

  30. ACurtis says:

    I too started having some issues with GERD. I think my doctor gave me some free pills for me to try. If I remember correctly, they didn’t really do much of anything. When I found out that I was allergic to cow milk and stopped drinking it–all my GERD symptoms went away. Every once in a while, I sometimes get GERD symptoms if I eat a sub from one of the sub shops. Then I put apple cider vinegar in water and drink that down. If it hasn’t taken care of the heart burn in half an hour, I take some more. Never fails to take it away. If only more people knew exactly what “heart burn” was and how easy it is to get rid of with just a few ingredients in the kitchen cupboard. Thanks for all the really good ideas, everyone!

  31. Anthony V. Fasano, D.C., Ph.D. says:

    I have worked on hundreds of patients with acid reflux. I diagnosis and treat the CAUSE of it in less then 30 seconds, teach the patient what to do and they get off all their meds and do not have the problem again, as long as they do what they learned. This so called acid reflux disease is nothing more then the right rib cage being lower then the left. With that shift, the esophagus, which is free in the upper abdomen, begins to form a U shape at its connection with the stomach. Food does not come out of the stomach, it does not get in. By gently but firmly pushing the right rib cage up and the left rib cage down, about 4 or 5 times, will realign the rib cage and get rid of the problem.. This needs to be done on a regular basis for some time but eventually the rib cage will maintain its normal alignment and after that the procedure may need to be done periodically.
    It works every time.

    • Pam LaCroix says:

      Since I have one leg slightly longer than the other, which has just slightly misaligned my whole body, it makes sense that this would be the cause of my GERD. I would like to know how to do this manipulation. Do you have a website or a video? Do you know of anyone near me that would be aware of this?

    • Jose Camacho says:

      I know this was posted 3 years ago but will like to know if you still believe this will help and if so where can I get more information?

      • Firebird7478 says:

        Check out videos on YouTube by a chiropractor named Dr. Gregory Johnson in Houston, TX. He’s had tremendous success with this.

        • Jose Camacho says:

          Thanks, I had all of these done here at home with a special chiro as recommended by my functional medicine. After 14 therapies and $2000 I had to stop because it did not help. I do not have a hernia but I was also treated for a scoliosis which did not help as well. ;-(.

  32. Charla Shamhart says:

    The Japanese food UMEBOSHI PLUM is excellent for acid reflux. I’ve recommended it for 30 yrs. to people, especially in the paste or vinegar forms. A concentrate of it is now available in pill form to make it easy to carry with you. Some prefer the pill, as the food form is strong tasting. I have seen this food/food concentrate turn people’s lives around overnight.
    Addressing the GUT issue is critical. Many people no longer have adequate intestinal flora, a cornerstone of immune function. Antibiotics kill off critical flora which is often difficult to replace, as there are many different strains in our intestines, each having a specific job. Some MDs are now prescribing custom blends of up to 1 TRILLION living organisms and having excellent results with several long-standing health conditions.
    Rancid oils can play a big role in acidity and gall bladder problems, too. Most liquid commercial oils are rancid, even organic ones. Good quality extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil as well as butter are better choices. Worried about cholesterol? Dietary fats have little to do with blood serum cholesterol, which is liver related. The liver produces most of the cholesterol in our bodies. Processed and rancid oils negatively affect the liver which affects the gallbladder and the ability to deal with fats, often leading to acid reflux. Strong dandelion root tea and warm castor oil packs over the liver can improve liver function for many helping to address root causes of these problems.

  33. Justen Beers says:

    There are many simple, natural cures that can get rid of your acid reflux. This is a great post and if you want a list of information and natural remedies for acid, check out my article, it’s full of great information!

  34. Justen Beers says:

    There are many simple, natural cures that can get rid of your acid reflux. This is a great post and if you want a list of information and natural remedies for acid, check out my article, it’s full of great information!
    http://thehiddencures.com/acidity-home-remedies/

  35. Nick says:

    Nice info on GERD, I detailed my struggled on my blog, please give it a read – it was a nightmare but I overcame it by removing bacteria in me: https://acidrefluxbreakthrough.wordpress.com/

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