Feb 18

8 Effective Home Remedies for Heartburn and Acid Reflux

By peacefulgut | Digestion , Heartburn acid reflux , IBS: irritable bowel syndrome

Heartburn and acid reflux occur when stomach acid leaks into the esophagus and causes burning and irritation. In addition to extreme discomfort, it can cause bad breath and erosion of tooth enamel. Below, you can learn more about 8 effective home remedies that can quickly relieve discomfort caused by heartburn and acid reflux.

The Cause of Heartburn - Not What You Think?

A common misperception is that gastric acid overflows into the esophagus because you have excess stomach acid, and therefore need to take medications to neutralize the acid. But many times, there are other culprits causing heartburn. There are, in fact, three other common causes of heartburn, one of which is a shortage of gastric acid rather than a surplus, which should then be treated differently

1. Low levels of stomach acid

Stomach acid is needed to break down the food we eat and to kill bacteria and parasites that we ingest with our food and through the environment. For some of us, a shortage of stomach acid may lead to poor digestion, bacterial overgrowth, and parasitic invasion. These conditions further disrupt digestive processes, as incompletely digested food particles remain in the intestines to ferment and cause the buildup of gas.

Excess gas irritates the stomach, and the pressure from further down the digestive tract increases which may cause stomach acid to leak and cause heartburn. Slow digestion also causes food to remain in the stomach longer, which can result in multiple meals overfilling our stomachs capacity. An overfilled stomach increases the risk of leakage.

2. Helicobacter Pylori - gastric bacteria

Helicobacter Pylori is the one of the world's most common causes of bacterial infections, affecting about 50% of the world's population. In most individuals, it gives no symptoms, and may even provide some benefits. But in some individuals, this bacteria is quite harmful and is the most common cause of peptic ulcers. 

Helicobacter Pylori can "drill" through the mucous membrane of the stomach and cause inflammation. Long-term infections can also reduce the amount of stomach acid, contributing to several ailments and prolonged stomach discomfort

3. Hiatal Hernia

If you are diagnosed with a Hiatal Hernia, it means that part of the stomach has been pushed through the diaphragm into the thoracic cavity. This condition makes it harder for the sphincter between the stomach and esophagus to form a tight seal, and stomach acid may leak and cause irritation. According to Katrin Hint, a physician specializing in general medicine, 4 out of 10 people may be afflicted with a Hiatal Hernia.

GERD: If you have severe and frequent bouts of heartburn, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Symptoms of GERD include cramps, chest pain, a lump in the esophagus, stomach ache, cough, and nausea.

8 Effective Home Remedies for Heartburn

There are many effective methods for quickly relieving heartburn that do not require drugs or other medication. Here are some home remedies that can prevent bouts of heartburn or effectively alleviate discomfort should it occur.

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1. Baking soda

Our stomach acid contains the highly corrosive material, hydrochloric acid, which gives it a very low pH of 1-3. It is so acidic that if you put some stomach acid on your hand, you would get a severe burn. This may seem like an extreme environment to have within our bodies, but high acidity is necessary to break down our food into usable parts and offer protection against parasites.

Baking soda is on the opposite end of the pH scale, and can quickly neutralize excess stomach acid. Mix ½-1 teaspoon of baking soda in 2 dl water and drink as soon as you feel discomfort in your chest or esophagus. But be careful to take the solution immediately before or after meals, because proper digestion is dependent on the pH of your stomach acid.

2. Water

Clean water is one of the easiest methods to provide quick relief. A quick drink can rinse your esophagus free of stomach acid.

It is also important to drink enough water throughout the day. Your stomach and intestinal lining depends on adequate supplies of water to protect it against the strong stomach acid contained within your digestive system..

3. Ripe banana and ripe kiwi

A ripe banana can help support healthy levels of stomach acid and can often alleviate indigestion and prevent heartburn. Bananas are also a binding food, easing intestinal distress and helping with diarrhea. 

Kiwis have also been found to help indigestion, heartburn, and diarrhea. But the kiwis must be ripe or they will have a laxative rather than binding effect.

4. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy that can help bring relief for a variety stomach complaints, including acid reflux and heartburn. It can stimulate the production of stomach acid and strengthen digestion which often alleviates the symptoms of several types of stomach ailments. For some, however, it may have the opposite effect and increase irritation in the esophagus. It is always worthwhile to give apple cider vinegar a try, just be sure to listen to your body and discontinue its use if it doesn’t agree with you

Apple Cider Vinegar has also shown promising results for weight loss. In a study of obese Japanese men, results showed a drop of 1-2.5 kg over a 12-week period when participants drank 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily. 

If you wish to add apple cider vinegar to your health regimen, start with 1 teaspoon in a glass of water and drink 15 minutes before a meal. The amount can be gradually increased to 1-2 tbsp

5. Ginger

Ginger is another tool that has long been used for heartburn and stomach ache, as well as nausea and motion sickness. Ginger can be added to food, eaten raw, or drunk as tea by placing it in boiled water and allowing it to steep for a few minutes.

Ginger may be too strong for some individuals, so start with a small amount and observe how it affects you.

6. Chamomile

This flowering herb has long been used for its calming effect and to neutralize gastric acid. Drink a cup in the evening for a calmer stomach and better sleep. It is also good when used to calm intestinal distress.

By regularly drinking enough water, eating ginger and maintaining a good diet, trouble caused by heartburn and acid reflux can often completely disappear with time.

7. Turmeric

This is an extremely useful spice that is gaining more and more attention due to its health-giving properties. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that supports digestion and reduces acidity.

Turmeric can easily be used in cooked meals. Most Indian curry dishes contain a lot of turmeric. If curry isn’t your thing, turmeric is also available as a supplement in capsule and powder form. It is primarily the active component of turmeric, curcumin, that is being credited for its positive health effects, so look for a supplement with a standardized dose of curcumin listed on the label.

8. Aloe Vera

The aloe plant, described by the ancient Egyptians as the "plant of immortality,” has been used for over 5000 years for its healing properties. Aloe Vera contains over 200 active components, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and polysaccharides.

Aloe can often relieve irritation in the esophagus and sooth heartburn, but it also helps relieve ailments such as IBS and bloating. Aloe has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and seems to be able to support the cleansing of yeast and parasites. Start with a small dose and increase gradually to 40-60 ml/day

Best supplement for heartburn and acid reflux

For additional relief from heartburn and acid reflux, there are effective dietary supplements available. 

Ulcetrol from NOW

​Contains zink-L-carnosine, mastic gum and slippery elm. These have long been used to help treat and reliave an upset stomach. Especially heartburn and acid reflux. Ulcetrol is probably the supplement I have seen provide the greates relieve against heartburn for my clients.

Avoid foods that can trigger heartburn

Some foods are known to trigger heartburn. Here are some of the most common:

· Citrus fruits and juices

· Chocolate

· Onion

· Alcohol, especially red wine

· Tomatoes in all its forms

· Drinks containing Caffeine, such as coffee and tea.

· Carbonated drinks, such as soda and mineral water.

· Greasy fried food

Sleep with your upper body elevated
When the upper body is raised slightly, due to the effects of gravity, it becomes more difficult for stomach acid to leak from the stomach up into the esophagus.