Up until now we have been thinking a lot about the pH balance of the body, but let's start diving a bit deeper into some of the conditions and associated symptoms that have been linked to excess acidity.
Today we are going to deal with heartburn... that uncomfortable, burning sensation that starts in the lower chest and can even make us feel slightly nauseous or leave a sour taste in the mouth.
What is heartburn?
There is a reason that heartburn frequently occurs just after we have eaten or drunk something. It is because when we do consume something, it moves through our esophagus and passes through an opening between this tube and our stomach. Normally that opening closes as soon as the food passes through, but sometimes this doesn't happen. If the opening isn't fully closed, then acid from the stomach can get through the opening and into the esophagus causing irritation and ultimately, heartburn. This problem is known as reflux.
What can trigger heartburn?
A random experience with heartburn discomfort could have been triggered by some of the following lifestyle choices:
- Smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, or caffeinated drinks
- Eating certain foods, especially citrus, onions, tomatoes, spicy or fatty foods
- Lying down too soon after eating a meal
- Taking some medications, such as aspirin
- Being overweight
But if heartburn is occurring more frequently, then it is worth checking with a doctor. It may be a sign that you have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (also known as GERD), a hiatal hernia or even an ulcer.
How can you reduce heartburn symptoms?
There are three treatment approaches that are typically followed, and involve taking medications:
- Antacids can help to neutralize the acid which your stomach makes. These usually come without a prescription and offer fast but short-term relief. These products can have side effects and shouldn't be used too much over the long term.
- H2 blockers (also known as histamine 2 blockers) can help to reduce the acid which your stomach produces. They do this by targeting a substance called histamine, which are the chemicals made by the immune system.
- PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, block the enzymes in the stomach wall that produce acid. Long-term use is discouraged though, because research has shown links to other issues such as kidney disease and low levels of essential minerals in the blood.
While we always recommend that you get advice from a doctor before making any changes, another approach is to look at lifestyle factors first and to also add a spoon of our alkalizing supplement, Multiforce, to your day. The essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium) replenish the body, recalibrate the balance between acidity and alkalinity and over time can reduce symptoms (such as heartburn) attributed to excess acidity.
American Academy of Family Physicians. Heartburn. Accessed 09/22/2020.
US Department of Health and Human Sciences, National Institute of Health. Acid reflux in adults. Accessed 09/21/2020.
Cleveland Clinic. Heartburn: Possible causes. Accessed 09/22/2020.