Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 Sep

GERD: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

heartburnThe symptoms can be abject misery: searing abdominal pain, debilitating stomach cramps, an excruciating, rising burn, acid-filled hiccups, tightened throat, constant sleep disturbance, and even the rare but terrifying bouts of choking from nighttime acid inhalation. I’m talking of course about acid reflux or GERD as it’s commonly called these days. I personally suffered from occasional bouts of GERD and experienced all the symptoms above for years during and even after my endurance days. (It wasn’t until I gave up grains that my GERD completely disappeared.) Maybe you’ve had it. Maybe you know someone who’s had it. GERD, by the way, isn’t your run-of-the-mill occasional heartburn (which isn’t much fun either) but a chronic pattern of heartburn in which you experience symptoms at least a few times a week. I get emails about it all the time, and it’s little wonder. Statistics suggest that 25-30% of American adults experience GERD related heartburn multiple times a week (PDF). Of all the pharmaceutical categories, proton pump inhibitors (a predominant prescription for GERD) have ranked consistently in the top twenty for years. And that doesn’t even take into account the old-fashioned antacids like Tums and Rolaids that people pop like candy. What, for the love, is going on here? It used to be heartburn was generally confined to women in their last months of pregnancy or to the annual Thanksgiving overindulgence. It certainly wasn’t a chronic condition plaguing a large percentage of the population. I sense a familiar pattern here, no?

What is GERD anyway? What causes – or at least contributes to it? How do everyday lifestyle choices influence the condition, and what measures – beyond the CW pharmaceutical schtick (e.g. the happy, ubiquitous “purple pill”) – can we employ in treating, let alone curing the condition. (While the establishment might be content with taming the reflux beast, most folks I know who have GERD would rather beat it to death with a stick.)

First off: the what. The standard explanation for GERD goes like this. When someone suffers from a bout of heartburn, acid in the stomach essentially rises into the esophagus following a spontaneous lapse of the lower esophageal sphincter. Although the stomach lining can inherently withstand the caustic digestive acid, the esophagus has no such protection. The result of the chemical invasion is the characteristic pain and cramping those with reflux experience. Over time, the esophagus can build up scar tissue. In more serious cases, the scarring can narrow the passageway, so to speak, and make swallowing more difficult and painful. Worse than that, prolonged exposure to digestive acid can induce changes in the cells of the esophagus themselves, which can – in relatively rare but increasing instances – result in esophageal cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

As for the why, the medical community doesn’t point to a specific cause, but the conventional pharmaceutical treatments address “excessive” production of stomach acid. (Yes, do the double take.) The most common drugs used for GERD are H2 blockers and the aforementioned proton pump inhibitors, which block the stomach’s production of acid (just at differing points of the signaling-production-release process). The old style antacids neutralize stomach acid that’s already there. The irony of treating people with GERD by raising the pH of their gastric juices (making it less acidic) is that food doesn’t digest as well, which can be a contributing factor to GERD. Decreasing the acidity of your stomach acid may provide short term relief, but it’s not a long term solution.

Prescription medication usually accompanies practical suggestions like eating small meals, limiting alcohol and avoiding nicotine (which relax the lower esophageal sphincter) and raising the head of your bed to discourage acid from rising too far up your esophagus at night and disrupting sleep. (On a personal note, some of my worst bouts with GERD occurred in the reclined position of an airline seat, so that final bit of advice never worked for me.) GERD sufferers are also advised to steer clear of common “trigger” foods like chocolate, alcohol, mint, citrus, tomatoes, onions, and spicy dishes, and (drum roll, please) fatty foods because they contribute to what’s known as slow stomach emptying, which can make GERD symptoms feel worse.

All this leaves GERD sufferers with few answers and no real solutions unless you count a lifelong pharmaceutical dependency as a solution. This doesn’t even take into account the countless people who take acid reflux medications who actually report a worsening of their symptoms with medication. The response? A higher dose prescription. Never mind that research connects long-term use of these drugs with a higher risk for serious infection and fractures. Keep in mind that the stomach acid’s job is to both digest for absorption of key nutrients and to kill off pathogens.

I know a number of people who’ve felt utterly wrecked by their long-term battles with GERD, many MDA readers included. I’ve heard stories from folks (on medication, yes) who said they would get a bad bout of GERD and be in agony for days unable to eat anything, unable to sleep or even find a comfortable position. When they were finally able to lick the condition, they felt they finally got their lives back.

So, if it’s not excess stomach acid, what the heck is it then? Let me put it this way. It’s not about excess stomach acid (unless there’s some other kind of underlying and unusual medical problem). The acid itself is a red herring. It’s ultimately the weakened esophageal sphincter itself. While some things like alcohol and nicotine genuinely relax the sphincter, most of the other maligned food categories are simply irritants to an already irritated stomach and esophagus.

Am I going to tell you going low carb is the answer? Partly, yes. There’s been scant research done in this area (as is generally the case with low carb eating). One small study highlights the effectiveness of eating low carb, but the connection has been noted for years in the low-carb community (check out some of the reader success stories) – but without clear rationale. Sure, obesity is a clear culprit, and a low-carb diet will undoubtedly address that condition. Yes, there’s the potent anti-inflammatory power of a low-carb diet. We’ve always known there’s more to the story, however.

Although the research will continue to hone in on the exact mechanism, one microbiologist expert presents a compelling explanation. Dr. Michael R. Eades has written in the past about researcher, Norm Robillard, and his book Heartburn Cured. Like Dr. Eades, I believe Robillard’s theory provides the most sound explanation for the growing incidence of GERD in Western society. If you have GERD, I’d encourage you to read the entire book, but the gist is this. When we eat a high carbohydrate diet, our digestive systems can become overloaded with their breakdown. (Remember, of course, that our systems aren’t evolutionarily designed to consistently handle the common 250-350 grams of carbs per day). The malabsorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine (the seat of many digestive ills) can result in a damaging overgrowth of bacteria. As anyone who’s suffered from digestive bloating knows, gas is created in the process and can be excessive when something is awry. According to Robillard’s theory, the gas “pressurizes the upper digestive system,” which sets in motion the reflux mechanism. Robillard, a long-term GERD sufferer himself, reports being fully cured by adopting a low glycemic diet.

But there’s more. Many people who are diagnosed (and pharmaceutically treated for GERD) can trace to a variety of medications that take a major toll on the stomach. NSAIDs constitute one. (Do you know those people – often chronic trainers – who down Costco size bottles of Advil in the course of a few weeks just to keep doing what they do? Add to this list oral antibiotics, which dermatologists often prescribe for long-term use in cases of acne. Others? Try nitrates, calcium channel blockers, theophylline, and one more of note….

You won’t hear this one from many people, but it’s important. Higher estrogen levels can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and can irritate the stomach and even cause the GERD or GERD-like symptoms (which – as in many cases in general – may be more simple stomach irritation than actual reflux). Most women who’ve been pregnant experienced heartburn in their later months. Sure, a growing fetus and all its supportive baggage (e.g. amniotic fluid and the like) pushing up on all of your organs can impact digestion, but rising estrogen has a hand in this as well.

Pregnant women usually have the baby and that’s that. The hormones shift again, and the reflux goes away. But there are millions of women who every day effectively supplement estrogen with the birth control pill or post-menopausal hormone therapy. For most, the uptick won’t be a major issue. For others, however, this medication may cause significant irritation and inflammation in the stomach as well as encourage GERD by its effect on the esophageal sphincter. In follow up research to the expansive Nurses Health Study, GERD symptoms were more common in those who were taking estrogen hormonal therapy. The larger the dose and longer the use strongly correlated with a rising severity of symptoms. Although the nature of the study didn’t isolate other risk factors, it does begin to illuminate a connection we’ve known for years and should expect now. On an anecdotal and wholly unscientific note, I knew a woman who took Nexium for three years before a nurse practitioner suggested the Pill might be related to her debilitating stomach pain. After going off the Pill (which she’d been on for 10 years), her symptoms finally subsided.

If you experience GERD even on a low-carb diet (and without medications known to negatively impact digestive function), a food allergy (often dairy or grains related) or chronic infection (including H. pylori) might be the culprit. Keep in mind also that for some people, an acid reflux problem can become imbricated (today’s fifty-cent word) with a whole host of other conditions (e.g. a systemic yeast overgrowth or other internal inflammation, etc.) A complete work over might be in order, and an intensive, very low carb period can help starve systemic yeast.

As Melissa from Hunt.Gather.Love. suggests (in relation to her own battle with GERD), it’s important to have patience with the healing process. Once you get rid of the underlying cause(s) of your GERD (and get off the pharmaceuticals), there’s a weak, out of order digestive system to bring back into balance. Commit yourself to a restorative mindset and regimen for a few months.

Here are a few things you can do to support healthy digestion:

  • Take an HCl or other digestive enzyme supplement for at least a few weeks if not months (if your reflux is bad). I believe Robb Wolf recommends NOW Super Enzymes.
  • Try old-fashioned bitters (remember those?) with or after each meal which can encourage better digestion.
  • Repopulate your system with healthy bacteria with hefty probiotics (e.g. Primal Flora) and frequent fermented foods.
  • Up your intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3s (e.g. Vital Omegas).
  • To contend with lingering symptoms while your system heals, try slippery elm, ginger, or DGL (deglycyrrihizinated form of licorice).
  • Some people – men and women – have luck with the various morning sickness teas, which contain a combination of stomach soothing and pro-digestive herbs.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. I’d love to hear from folks who have beaten GERD and those who are still working toward a full solution. Share your thoughts and perspectives, and have a great hump day!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I never had heartburn until I was pregnant, and then, when it developed, I figured – well, ok, it’s a pregnancy thing. During the first few months of my pregnancy I was SO sick that I couldn’t stomach protein and so unfortunately I had to go back to eating carbs (still threw up most of them). At that point I’d been a solid low-carber already for 7 years. Anyway, the heartburn was just one more misery. HOWEVER – as soon as the nausea subsided enough, I started eating low-carb again – and the heartburn completely disappeared. Didn’t have it at all for the rest of the pregnancy, even right at the end.

    I usually have a fairly healthy digestive system. However, hearing that hormones can affect things doesn’t surprise me, because every month without fail, when I get my period, I am severely ill for 2 days – with stomach issues. I throw up, and I get severe stomach cramps and gas. It’s usually bad enough that it gives me a fever, too. I think that something in the hormone changes in my body makes my digestive system fail. And I’m not on the pill, eat a low-carb diet, and am not on any medication – but nothing I’ve tried has ever helped solve this two days of agony.

    Deborah wrote on September 7th, 2011
  2. I had it for years and only going low-carb fixed it after years on PPI drugs.
    My father’s side of the family have always suffered from it and I’ve lost both my Dad and my uncle to eosophageal cancer when they were in their 50s.
    The ‘rare’ cases of eosophageal damage leading to cancer are not so rare in my family.
    On a positive note, my most recent endoscopy showed no damage at all to my eosophagus after a year on Primal.

    Emma wrote on September 8th, 2011
  3. Thanks very much for posting this article.

    I have recently discovered that my son suffers from GERD (or GORD as we say in the UK because we spell it Oesophagus!) which was a bit of a blow to me as he is 15! His is rather serious in that it’s not so much acid that comes up, rather actual food. He never mentioned it before because he just assumed that it ‘happened to everyone’ so has suffered with it all his life.

    When he was a baby he used to projectile vomit formula/cow’s milk but I was told that was normal, and being very young I didn’t question it.

    I feel like some twist of fat has led me to the paleo/primal way of eating as I feel it has enabled me to be well-equipped to deal with my son’s illness.

    The doctor prescribed Omeprazole to my son but he hates taking tablets so took a couple and then refused the rest. I’m the same in that I hate medication of any kind, I don’t even take painkillers for headaches which are extremely rare anyway and indeed I haven’t had an illness-related sick day all year since I removed wheat and dairy from my diet!

    I put my son on a gluten and dairy-free diet and his symptoms have all but gone. The only time recently they manifested was when we went for a curry and he overate and ended up throwing up his meal (poor thing). There is still obviously a defect there but controlling it with diet and smaller meal portions then I think that is infinitely preferable to drugs and/or surgery!

    I am very grateful to have discovered the Primal/Paleo way of eating, it has transformed my life and health and now also that of my son. I’ve been trying to persuade my boyfriend to come around to it also but he’s a bit of a nutter cyclist (La Marmotte and l’etape du Tour are his idea of ‘fun’). However he is reading ‘Trick and Treat’ by Barry Groves (http://www.amazon.com/Trick-Treat-healthy-eating-making/dp/1950140229) and that has helped as he cites a great many references and studies while he discusses the insidiously deleterious nature of grains, how we should all embrace healthy fats and also how damaging insufficient sun exposure is (amongst a great other topics!). Because of this I am hopeful that he will come round to my way of thinking and we’ll have an almost entirely Primal household :-)

    Tara

    Tara Stevens wrote on September 8th, 2011
  4. I’ve been taking Omeprazole for years for GERD whilst following a low fat diet. Couldn’t go a day without my pills. Within a week of eating low carb I was able to go without. Complete miracle cure. Only time I need them now is if I go off course – like having one slice of toast in the morning just makes my stomach boil.

    Linda wrote on September 8th, 2011
  5. Reflux has been causing me problems for 20 years & I have been taking PPI’s virtually every day since they came on the market as H2 blockers had adverse affects and were never much use.

    I am starting Primal eating (have been for a few weeks) and have had the feeling that it is helping…..now to wean myself off the PPI’s.

    For info – something that I have read helps the “healing process” is a daily spoonful of a decent AMF Manuka honey. I don’t have the studies at hand (at work) but a Google search should find them.

    DaveW wrote on September 8th, 2011
  6. I suffered for over 8 years with heart bearn and took 2 prescripted antacid tablets a day! Since sticking to the Primal way of life for the last 3 months and still consuming alcohol and dark chocolate, I have not had the need to take tablets for 3 months! Not once!! Also my BMI has dropped 6 points and total body fat has dropped 10 points! Amazing, cheers Mark this is now a way of life!!

    Jamie wrote on September 8th, 2011
  7. I had this badly during both of my pregnancies. Through trial and error (this was before my Paleo/Primal days), I discovered the culprit: chocolate chip cookies. I figured out that it was the deadly “flour+sugar” combo for me. I could eat ice cream no problem, and I ate breads fine. It was the combination of the two together… killed me. To this day, if I stray and eat a couple of chocolate chip cookies or the like (um, yesterday?), I can feel the heartburn coming back.

    Stacey wrote on September 8th, 2011
  8. I started low carb and high fiber diet last year. My chronic GERD disappeared.

    Andrew wrote on September 8th, 2011
  9. I’ve had GERDS for 20 years. its got worse each time I’ve been put on a new medication esp SSRI’s. I’ve been on Omperazole for 15 years. it wasnt until I read on the forum here about thye fact that my meals wernt being digested and that The ‘heartburen’ I was experiencing was actually the food fementing in my stomach that I decided to try getting off the PPi’s. As I’ve been Paleo since december last year ,I slowly weaned myself off the PPi’s. I stopped totally 5 days ago. I have mild reflux now but I’m sure it will settle down. I’m thrilled and know its def the paleo thats worked.

    cinders wrote on September 8th, 2011
  10. THANK YOU!! I suffered with heartburn so badly, I could light a fire with my breath! I took Prilosec for over 8 years. This year I went low carb and not only lost 135 lbs but my heartburn stopped! Thank God! I just discovered your website, Mark, and I enjoy it so much. This explains exactly what was going on with me right down to a gluten allergy.
    Next, take a look at menopause symptoms. Since going Paleo, I no longer suffer with hot flashes and all the other horrible things that happen to women at this age. Doctors are so quick to throw pills at you that they don’t realize it’s all about the food we are eating!

    Debbi wrote on September 8th, 2011
  11. Mark: My reflux got so bad that no medication was adequate for long. My body just adjusted to it and I had to change meds. I finally had to undergo surgery to fix the LES. I still have to be carefull as I will get an occasional bout.

    Andy wrote on September 8th, 2011
  12. Another major contributor to GERD, especially for those with a hiatal hernia, is overfilling the stomach.

    Since the problem is with the sphincter failing to seal off the esophagus, it is crucial to avoid eating too much at one time.

    Drinking large quantities of water (or other liquids) will also exacerbate this problem.

    Carolynne Lewis-Arevalo wrote on September 8th, 2011
    • Hear, hear. People get heartburn for different reasons and I’ve seen some people here touting a “water cure”. But just as you said, when I suffered from reflux water made me vomit.

      Another Halocene Human wrote on September 10th, 2011
  13. I had this.
    It was so nasty that some nights it wouls sit me straight up in bed and more than burn, it hurt like Hell!

    I would take acid reflux pills every single night. Had to if i wanted to sleep.

    Was it coincidence that I was overweight for the first time in my life?

    I lost twenty five pounds and this acid reflux or whatever it was went away as if by magic and I haven’t taken one single pill in more than a year now.

    Being overweight was it for me.

    hp wrote on September 8th, 2011
  14. Mark,
    You’re the first from whom I’ve read what I’ve been posting on several web-sites, i.e. the fact that it’s a weak sphincter that’s the root cause. More on my personal experience with combating the effect.

    1. Our gullets seem to lead into the stomach with a left-ward incline (L-R from the person’s perspective). Ergo, if one turns on the left side for sleeping the acid in the stomach has to rise against gravity to go thro’ the incompletely closed gateway that is the sphincter. If one sleeps on the right side, it’s movement into the gullet is aidedby gravity. I don’t know whether it’s the placebo effect (mentally), but I find it works for me.
    2. The weak sphincter is much like a weak hydraulic door closer. Given enough time, the latter does close a door completely after some time. So also the sphincter, I believe. After lying on the left side for some time I find I can turn right without acid reflux occurring. Again, I don’t know whether this effect that works with meis psychosomatic or real, but it works.
    3. Finally, we need to know what nutrients can strengthen the sphincter. Our grandmas had a lot of things right without knowing precisely why, and one advice of theirs which has come down the generations in India is that orange peel does the trick. Here we have it with dried orange peels converted into a tasty chutney. If anyone’s interested in trying it I can post a recipe.

    Try my methods and see if they work. Some feedback would be welcome.

    K.Gopal Rao wrote on September 8th, 2011
    • Dried orange peels turned into chutney? That sounds delicious just on it’s own. My Indian fiance absolutely loves marmalade, and I’m learning to make simply cutney’s – I’d love to have the recipe!

      Abby C. wrote on September 8th, 2011
    • I would love to have your recipe! : )
      I have acid reflux due to gastroparesis (a long-term effect of type 1 diabetes in my case). If this can help, I’ll be very happy. Thanks alot

      Lyne wrote on September 25th, 2011
  15. I suffered with heartburn since I was 9. I had all the medical tests done over the years to address all my issues to no avail. They told me I had GERD, a hiatal hernia, and other things relating to my acid production and esophagus. Great. They told me to use antacids or stuck me on prescriptions to block acid production. I never thought that was great.

    Finally…the solution…giving up grains and sugar. I went from using 3-5 Rolaids a day for the last 30 years of my life (that is no exaggeration) to manage the chronic pain and burning to zero heartburn. And it happened quickly. There was no denying what the solution was. The single most significant proof for me that a no-carb (you know what I mean) diet was the solution to lifelong problems. AWESOME!

    Katherine wrote on September 8th, 2011
  16. GERD is a stress reaction. One of many that can be triggered by the unconscious mind as a reaction to emotional pain, anger, and other unacceptable emotions. Please read Dr. Sarno’s The Mindbody Prescription to learn more about this. I cured my GERD, allergies, and Sciatic pain via his teachings. Skilled relaxation (1/2 hour once or twice a day initially) is another key component.

    There really is no other cure for GERD. The pills, diet changes, etc are all dead ends because they do not address the cause. Force yourself to deeply relax for at least 30 min each day and watch GERD go away. Ginger root juice can help for a short time while the relaxation exercises begin to work.

    Try using b-aural beats (brainwave generator) to get into the relaxed state.

    Hope this helps people.

    Drew

    Drew Martin wrote on September 8th, 2011
  17. After reading a few posts here that referred to d-limonene and orange peel, I’m wondering if eating orange marmalade (which I love) would be of benefit.

    I left one item off my list of things to address acid reflux. Try to always sleep on your left side and never sleep on your right side…has to do with the way the stomach is positioned (as already mentioned).

    Vince N. wrote on September 8th, 2011
  18. My experience with probiotics is that they are a massive waste of money. Raw dairy and meat FTW

    Christo wrote on September 8th, 2011
    • I’ve got to say – my experience with probiotics is just the opposite. Assuming that you get good ones that is (Probio Intensive from Higher Nature or even better; Primal Defense from Garden of Life).

      RedYetiDave wrote on September 25th, 2011
  19. I took two packs of Rolaids a day for about 5 years. I quit alcohol, heavy consumption, and have not had since. I believe the #1 cause is dehydration. Drink water, during an attack, until it goes away.

    Gary wrote on September 8th, 2011
  20. My husband used to suffer terrible ‘heart burn’. He was nightly downing Tums. It was after he slowly went primal because of his severe narcolepsy (which is now not severe at all) that he noticed his heart burn had disappeared.

    Kerri O wrote on September 8th, 2011
  21. does anyone have any idea how to fix acid reflux that comes from a hiatal hernia? i got off my over-the-counter acid reducer (omeprazole), and it felt ok, but didn’t get too much better. finally i gave up and got back on, since my acid comes from an actual condition (hernia). any tips? would GREATLY appreciate it!

    Primal Peezy wrote on September 8th, 2011
    • Try going on youtube, keyword, hiatal hernia and check out dr. Dahlman’s self massage technique, super simple and I think you will find it will help and or fix the problem completely. Also removing the bad foods and so on of course.

      DEAN wrote on September 8th, 2011
  22. Man this was SUCH an interesting post!

    I get bad heartburn off and on. I can usually pinpoint it to when I’ve eaten oats or processed food .. which is rare.

    I’ve had it bad for a week now and I’m not sure why since my diet has been spot on. The only thing I can do when it is bad like this is curl up in a ball with my thighs/knees pushing on my stomach.

    Veeery interesting about chronic infection a possible culprit. I have been battling something, some kind of infection that started in my bladder for about a year now. It feels like a UTI but the culture is always negative. I’ve been on antibiotics which takes it away for awhile, then it comes back. I’ve spent hundreds of $$ at my natural doc. which lessons the pain but never took it away. Now all I do is take raw garlic everyday, juicing it when I can so it goes through my bladder and pray that this ‘thing’ goes away and never returns. Maybe this weird infection is causing the heartburn …..

    Heather wrote on September 8th, 2011
  23. Prior to going primal, I was convinced that regular exercise was the solution to my chronic heartburn. It went away for years when I kept a three times a week exercise plan. I had this notion that the more I sat on the couch, the more heartburn I’d get. At one point about a year ago, it came back fairly regularly. I went primal (80-20) at that time for other reasons, and it went away totally. I continue to exercise, and maintain my weight (6′ 170lbs) and manage my heartburn on a (70-30) primal diet.

    Richard Crist wrote on September 8th, 2011
  24. I started getting heartburn at 19. I was eating the high carb diet of many college students. Losing weight after I graduated helped, but the GERD was back full force in my 30s. I took the purple pill for years because all the diet advice – eliminate chocolate, spicy food, etc – didn’t work. What finally worked was cutting out the grains.

    carrie wrote on September 8th, 2011
  25. Going Primal has cured my heartburn. The results were fast. As soon as I gave up grains, my heartburn was gone. I still eat hot peppers, onions and tomatoes with no problems. If I eat some bread or pasta with it, I get heartburn. This, along with no joint pain and lots more energy are enough to keep me commited to this lifestyle. I can’t say I’ll live longer but I will enjoy the time left a lot more.

    mike metcalfe wrote on September 8th, 2011
  26. How long did all of you have to be off the grains for the heartburn to go away?

    Do you eat green peas, or any legumes?

    Allison wrote on September 8th, 2011
  27. What about buckwheat?

    Allison wrote on September 8th, 2011
    • I can eat quinoa and generally speaking I can have maize and not have reflux symptoms. It’s wheat/barley that are the culprits for me.

      Oats seem to be okay too but they make me feel weird when I eat them so I don’t.

      Another Halocene Human wrote on September 10th, 2011
  28. I cannot believe this entire article did not even mention Water intake. I too suffered from GERD for a number of years.
    After getting fed up with the poor results from everything the doctor recommended and prescribed, I went in search of my own answers. I finally found the answer in Dr. Batmanghelidj’s book “your body’s many cries for water” (also refered to in the comments above by captain mike), and the website http://www.watercure2.org/
    After increasing my Salt and Water intake, and eliminating all caffeine, I was able to go back to eating all the crap that I used to (SAD), without any sign of heartburn, let alone GERD.
    My Doctor NEVER thought to ask me how much water I drink, which was None at the time. I was living on coffee and Mountain Dew.
    That was about two years ago, and the only time I get heartburn anymore is if I didn’t drink enough water the day before.
    Now that I have discovered MDA, I am fixing my SAD, but that’s a whole other story.
    The moral of this story: DRINK WATER, and take enough Salt so that your body can Use that water. Everything else is secondary, including all of the “tips” that I found in this article.
    Hope this helps someone.

    Keith wrote on September 8th, 2011
  29. My husband had suffered chronic GERD (30 years’ worth) which ended on a dime when he went low carb high fat. He went LCHF with a BANG after finishing Good Calories, Bad Calories. The GERD was gone immediately. No lingering. Zero symptoms. No return of the reflux. Like many chronic issues related to high carb and not enough fat, it’s nothing short of miraculous. Try it!

    Paula wrote on September 8th, 2011
  30. I think I have silent reflux. I’m constant spitting mucus, but I experience no heartburn. Is there any specific treatment for that? I’ve cut back on grains but I can’t say I’ve eliminated them.

    Tony Pivetta wrote on September 8th, 2011
  31. I suffered from GERD at a young age, probably started popping the purple pill regularly by my first year of college, if not sooner (high school). Later, I developed IBS in my early twenties. My symptoms are mostly around constipation but any particular thing could send me in the other direction as well. I’ve been dealing with it for close to 7 years now, and it’s my personal nightmare. Been to every doctor and alternative medicine practitioner out there and had every test imaginable done on me. I was able to wean myself off the nexium, but even the GERD comes back and kicks me in the gut fairly frequently. Primal helps, but I still can’t get past it. So I just live with the bullshit. I take probiotics, vitamin D and fish oil, plus a very low dose of an antidepressant, which helps with the IBS stuff. I feel like there’s nothing I haven’t tried, and I’m still physically uncomfortable 99% of the time.

    Tony wrote on September 8th, 2011
  32. A heaping teaspoon of sugar usually knocks heartburn down instantly!!

    Michael Ponzani wrote on September 8th, 2011
  33. Check out “your Body’s Many Cries for Water” for a facinating explanation of this awful problem. Water fixed me about 80%. The rest was solved by giving up dairy and grain. See my reply to Sandy above. This has been the worst health problem of my life and I am so grateful for being over it. If you have this, or know someone who does, get them this info. This is a BAD syndrome. They may not want to believe the causes and cures, but at least you tried. When I was having it, I think I would have tried ANYTHING.

    captain mike wrote on September 8th, 2011
  34. I suffered from this GERD monster and found that a wonderful product called ‘gastromend’ alleviated the problem!
    *from their website: a new tool in management of ulcers and gastritis
    GastroMend-HP is a blend of botanical extracts and nutrient complexes with specific antimicrobial and mucosal healing properties. These ingredients, mastic (Pistacea lentiscus), methylmethioninesulfonium (“vitamin u”), zinc-carnosine (PepZin-GI) and vitamin C provide activity against Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria associated with ulceration. Mastic, a resinous substance from a tree originally native to the island of Chios in Greece, has a long historic use in the Mediterranean and Middle-east regions of the world where it has been chewed like gum in the treatment of stomach pain for centuries.

    Ro wrote on September 8th, 2011
  35. I used to have terrible stomach pains. I would suggest that anybody suffering should stop milk and its related products. If you like cheese, go for goats cheese. Also, limit the processed wheat. These two changes can have a dramatic effect on the way you feel.

    Gordon wrote on September 8th, 2011
  36. the gluten in wheat and other grains was causing my GERD. now that I stay away from gluten the GERD is gone!

    derrick wrote on September 8th, 2011
  37. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my misery! After reading all the comments, it’s also apparent that what works for one, doesn’t for another.

    My relief came from the results of several factors mentioned, plus a realization that perhaps my chronic sinus infections were related to the GERD somehow. (I saw it mentioned in an article.) So in an effort to feel better, I now have vastly reduced my consumption of carbs, have added two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to my diet regularly, and added a simple Acidophilus & Probiotic Complex supplement (2 per day)from Trader Joe’s. I tried several expensive brands from the health food store to no avail. This works for me, as I can really tell when I skip it.

    Also, for the sinus problems, I now use sinus irrigation. For me the cure was two-fold. I can’t tell you the last time I was on antibiotics for an infection, and my GERD has all but gone. Unless I eat sourdough, which is my absolute downfall :(

    Michelle wrote on September 8th, 2011
  38. I had heartburn almost EVERYDAY until I gave up grains. And not just wheat; oats, corn, and rice too!!

    Probably the biggest benefit for me giving up grains :)

    Bonnie wrote on September 8th, 2011
  39. Bonnie,

    How long after giving up grains did you feel better?

    Allison wrote on September 8th, 2011
  40. Eating primal/paleo has helped EVERYTHING for me except heartburn. Been eating clean for 8 months now but still get it. Much worse after tea (caffeine)or red sauce. have tried a tablespoon of ACV a couple times and hasn’t really had an effect, Would love to conquer this one last issue from my old SAD life,….

    A Smith wrote on September 8th, 2011

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