Acid reflux causes heartburn, a very common symptom encountered by many.
While the occasional heartburn is probably not a big deal, frequent heartburn or regurgitation known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, could lead to lasting health concerns such as damage to the esophagus, increased risk of esophagus cancer, and tooth decay.
GRED affects between 18% and 28% of the adult U.S. population. That means between 42 million and 64 million adults in the U.S. suffer from GERD.
The obvious symptom of acid reflux is heartburn. However, it’s also possible to suffer from GERD without having heartburn.
“Silent reflux,” as some call it, can cause symptoms such as wheezing, trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing, laryngitis, dry cough or hoarseness.
Popping an antacid once in a while may seem harmless enough. However, chronic use of acid reflux drugs could have some dangerous side effects including:
- Magnesium deficiency (a risk factor for chronic kidney disease)
- Increased incidence of pneumonia
- Weakened bones
- Increased risk of infections and food poisoning
- Risk of early dementia
- Weakened digestion and nutrient absorption
If you’re suffering from acid reflux, or GERD, and want to control your symptoms and heal your digestive tract without resorting to drugs, here are 10 natural remedies to try:
1. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol relax the flap that covers your stomach and keeps acid out of your esophagus. The neurological effect caffeine has on the body can also increase reflux symptoms.
2. Don’t Lie Flat After a Meal
Experts recommend staying upright three to four hours after a meal to help reduce reflux symptoms.
3. Drink Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking raw apple cider vinegar mixed with water before meals can help calm the stomach and support digestion.
4. Eat Raw Foods or Take an Enzyme Supplement
Raw foods contain health-promoting enzymes that are high in nutritional values and crucial to combating acid reflux. However, cooking food over 116°F destroy these enzymes.
You can increase your raw food intake, or take an enzyme supplement to support your digestive health.
5. Ditch Processed Foods and Sugar
Processed foods and sugar exacerbate acid reflux and create a bacterial imbalance in the stomach and intestinal tract. Replace them with whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, as much as possible.
6. Up Your Probiotics Intake
Probiotics – good bacteria – are essential for maintaining digestive wellness. Foods that are fermented or made with live active culture are rich in probiotics, e.g. yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkrauts, kimchi, natto, etc.
If these foods aren’t your cup of tea, you can take a probiotic supplement to help balance your gut flora.
7. Use Aloe Vera
Drinking aloe vera juice can help calm an upset stomach and support the wellness and healing of the digestive tract.
8. Balance Hydrochloric Acid Levels
Interesting, acid reflux are commonly caused by low stomach acid (which means taking drugs that inhibit acid production actually creates a vicious cycle.)
Switch out your regular table salt with sea salt that supplies chloride and other trace minerals the body needs. Alternatively, you can take a Betaine HCL supplement before meals.
9. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have many healing properties and some of which are very helpful for improving digestive wellness, e.g. ginger, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and wild orange.
If you take the essential oils internally, make sure you choose high-quality products that labeled “therapeutic grade” and safe for ingestion.
Alternatively, you can inhale the essential oils directly from the bottle or use a diffuser.
10. Use Herbs
Some herbs have been used traditionally to treat symptoms of GERD and acid reflux. Many of them have calming effects on the digestive system:
- German chamomile
- Greater celandine
- Licorice root
- Ginger Root
- Lemon balm
- Milk thistle
As you can see, there are many ways to reduce acid reflux naturally. You may need to try a few different ones to find the ones that work best for your body and the root cause of your symptoms.