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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 07 2011

GERD: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

By Mark Sisson
312 Comments

The 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!

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312 thoughts on “GERD: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies”

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  1. I had minor acid reflux that was getting steadily worse, but a few days after I started low carb, it went away entirely. It returns every so often, but usually is the result of eating too much or going off the reservation.

  2. The only time I ever experienced this was during pregnancy and it was absolute hell.

    Whoever gets this on a regular basis has my huge sympathy on the one hand and a copy of The Primal Blueprint in the other.

    1. I’m with you, Peggy. I tried everything for my acid reflux: PPI’s, antacids, sleeping with my bed tilted up, nothing helped. As soon as my diet changed it all went away!

      Is there nothing that going Primal/Paleo can’t fix? 🙂

      A side note: dairy was a particular issue for my GERD. Any Primal folks who still have issues, maybe consider staying away from dairy as well?

      1. Hey I need advice I get server indigestion every time I eat and for the past few days I haven’t got much sleep for school

    2. My pain was horrible for years… I didnt have the money to find out what it was b/c I have no insurance… giving up the grains and going paleo cured it! I have not had a priolosec since starting this way of life and I feel AWESOME every day!

    3. I have just gone grain free for reflux. Was gluten free for many years. since going grain free for only 10 days now my reflux is terrible…is this typical..will it pass?

      1. I was wondering if you stayed on the grain free diet in spite of your reflux worsening. Did it finally subside or did you have to stop the diet? I’m having the same problem. Less grains equals more reflux for me 🙁

      2. Hi Kelly, I also have been gluten free for almost five years, then almost three months ago I went grain free and have been getting burning in the stomach often after meals. Have you figured this out yet?

  3. Paradoxically, a friend of mine who suffers from acid reflux has controlled the problem by taking hydrochloric acid capsules while she eats (about 4 spaced out through a meal). Apparently, there is a portion of the medical community that believes the problem is caused by NOT ENOUGH stomach acid. Adding extra acid during meals seems to be working for my friend, so it may be worth checking out.

    1. Dr. Mercola has lots of info on that very thing — not enough acid as opposed to too much.

      Here’s a link to just one of his articles;

      articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/25/News-Flash-Acid-Reflux-Caused-by-Too-Little-Acid-Not-Too-Much.aspx

      1. I will have to agree. I think it’s the lack of acid, especially after eating a bigger meal(with procesed carbs) when people have the problem.
        My husband and I have great luck with
        Apple Cider Vinegar. If you mix a tbls. with a couple of ounces of warm water, it’s really not bad. It will also help to balance your Ph levels amoung many other benefits:)

        1. Just sprinkle some powdered stevia in the apple cider vinegar/water and presto- apple cider.
          tastes great, no calories or sugar.

        2. Please let me know when did you use ACV, while taking food or after having food.
          Thanks for your all help
          Manny

    2. Nicky i agree with you 100%, i have used HCL in the past and it made a difference, also helping with the digestion of protein.
      Most people dont realize that GERD is nothing but the body’s signal of saying “what the heck are you giving me to convert to fuel” also it says, “i will not digest it and in return you will get the message”, lol some people still dont get that and live on meds for that same reason. Just listen to what the body is saying!

      1. If GERD is the body’s way of telling me I shouldn’t be eating something, then I guess I shouldn’t be eating meat. I was a gluten free vegetarian (practiced occasional intermittent fasting) until little under a week ago, I’d had GERD on and off (maybe 1-2 times per week, then off again) for 8 months now, but it has never been as bad as after I’ve eaten meat these past couple of days. My heartburn is horrible. Feels like something is on my chest, then the abdominal aches and pains, and the tight throat. It’s never been this bad. I decided to try the IF keto diet, and also start eating meat, so here’s what my 2 meals of the day looked like these past few days: 2 eggs fried in ghee, 1/2 an avocado, 2/3 cup of veggies; 2nd meal has been 1 drumstick roasted in ghee, 1 egg yolk fried in ghee, and 1 cup of veggies, with 1 tablespoon raw unrefined coconut oil. 70 oz of water/tea a day. What could be the issue? I’m going to the doctor’s tomorrow for the first time about my GERD because it’s too uncomfortable. I feel like calling the whole meat thing quits at this point… besides, chicken kinda just tastes like tofu to me anyway, so if pain is what I get from eating meat, I might as well go back to eating a vegetarian diet. Thoughts?

        1. If you haven’t eaten meat in a while, you’ve trained your body to not produce the enzymes necessary for digesting it. So when you do eat meat, your body is confused. You’ll have to help it readjust so it can digest properly. It’s not that you shouldn’t be eating meat, necessarily.

    3. Exactly. Ditto for me. Not sure if my post is here but I also said that my hair and nails have never been better!

  4. Mark- one thing to be aware of when you do drop the PPIs- the sudden drop off of meds will cause your stomach to go into acid production overdrive, and will hurt like crazy. After going primal, I stopped taking Prilosec, and my heartburn lasted about three weeks with pure pain- almost to the point of giving in and taking them again. But, one morning I woke up and the pain was gone. Haven’t touched the meds in a year and a half. Like you said and Melissa and I have talked about, patience is key! Good luck!

    1. Oh man, this is so good to hear. I’ve been on PPI’s for the better part of the past 6 years, and just quit taking Prevacid. It’s been two weeks and I was about to give up. I don’t have reflux, just a constant burning. I’m so glad to hear that it gets better!

      1. Don’t give up! Keep eating Primal, and if you need something for temp relief, just pop some tums or a normal antacid. Also, you can try taking a probiotic in the morning to help. Promise it goes away!

      2. I too took prilosec for years and then quit cold turkey. The pain was horrendous and I almost started taking them again, but I stuck it out. Now I am 100% heartburn free, unless I eat something with wheat in it, which is very rare.

        1. WOW !! Im glad that did not happen to me; I was on them for around 5 years…. and I quit cold turkey and was FINE immediately! Totally pain free every since giving up grains and going Paleo!

    2. From what I’ve read, there’s a terrible rebound effect if the PPI’s are stopped suddenly rather than a gradual weaning off of them. Glad you were able to stick it out until that was no longer the case for you.

      Nothing like Big Pharma making sure we stay hooked once we start on a med —-

    3. You could try the homeopathic remedy Carbo vegetabilis (30C potency) when decreasing your medication – it also can be used by anyone who is suffering from reflux (or from over-indulging)

      From Nature’s Materia Medica by Robin Murphy, ND, Carbo vegetabilis – section on stomach – “burning in stomach, epigastric region is very sensitive; digestion slow, food putrefies before it digests; distress comes on a half-hour after eating; belchings after eating and drinking, temporary relief from belching. HEARTBURN. pain worse lying down.” You can have one or more of these symptoms.

      You can take 2 or 3 pellets (let them melt in your mouth) to relieve symptoms and can repeat the dose several times

    4. Wow, I had a little pain still but the joy of not vomiting after every meal was totally worth it.

      I stopped eating wheat and my reflux stopped in 3 days. With prilosec it takes about 2 weeks for the reflux to quit… and if you stop taking it after about 6 months you start needing it again.

      After I got the wheat out of the way, the FODMAPS concept helped. Onions and garlic have fructans which turn into bacteria food and create enormous pressure which can lead to reflux.

    5. I thought Prilosec was a once every 4 months medicine. Were you taking it all the time? I’m kind of stressed now because I just started taking it and don’t want WORSE heartburn after quitting.

  5. Anyone have a perspective on infant GERD? Our little one was diagnosed with silent reflux (no major structural abnormalities) around 2 months and put on Zantac, which made a world of difference. 2 years later, he’s on a proton pump inhibitor, and I’m wondering if he’s ever going to go off meds!

      1. No, no allergy testing. When I was exclusively breastfeeding him, I did a month without dairy, a month without gluten, and both months without tomatoes, strawberries, peanuts or soy. Didn’t make any difference. Is that something to pursue, you think?

        1. Rachel, I know infants can be prone to this. (Our daughter had it for the first year but never enough that we considered medication. I just cut down on allergenic foods and co-slept to help her if she woke up with problems.) Because reflux issues can take so long to resolve themselves even after a trigger is taken away, I’d go for it and make a plan to get your child off the meds very gradually over time regardless. At 2-years-old, his digestive system has matured, and the flap (sphincter) should be less relaxed. (That’s what our pediatrician told us — 1 year of maturing resolves it for most kids.)

        2. A month without gluten or dairy is not enough to clean out your system. For dairy it’s at least 6 weeks, I think it’s 2 months for gluten. Have you thought of GAPS?? gapsdiet.com

        3. I found that I get GERD with gluten, dairy, corn and rice. Aloe Vera juice and capsules, l-glutamine caps, Throat Coat tea, apple cider vinegar, acidophilus, and Antisid wafers (got at Whole Foods, they are kind of like a natural Tums) all helped heal the lining of my gut.

        4. Vanessa, I tried probiotics and acidophilus for YEARS without the slightest result. The truth is that while the bacteria in these concoctions is harmless to us they don’t make it into our guts alive. Certainly did nothing for the horrible stomach pain that was being caused by eating things I was allergic to.

          I do think there is a lot of sense to taking betain HCl and papain, or even apple cider vinegar, if you have lowered your acid production after years of proton pump inhibitors. At the least you will send the helicobacter, which cause so much pain, into temporary hiding. At best you will be able to absorb more nutrients.

    1. How you consulted with anyone regarding feeding therapy (an occupational therapist or a speech-language pathologist)?

      I’m a speech-language pathologist, however I’m afraid my expertise is limited in the area of infant dysphagia (speech therapy is a VERY broad field). There are professionals who specialize in that area though.

      1. Thanks for the input re allergies and OT. It would make sense to pursue that since the little guy has certain foods that he absolutely refuses to eat (most fruit).

        1. Oooh, that sounds like allergy-related GERD all right!

          I would also explore EoE (google it.)

        2. Melissa, I would second GAPS Diet, most definitely. The doctor who wrote the diet recommends giving babies a pinch of HCL Betaine (brand is NuTriVene) to help stimulate stomach acid. You will notice a difference within one dose. Fruit is acidic, so that’s probably why he won’t eat it. Look into doing the muscle allergy tests – they are more accurate since he is still pretty young for other allergy tests to be accurate. But the GAPS Diet will heal the intolerances if that is the case… Good luck!

    2. I have a son who was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. This might be something to look into. The Pediatric Gastroenterologist put him on Omeprozole and we have been battling for 4 years to get him off. It is terrible to watch your child in pain. Get him off the pharmaceuticas as soon as you can. I feel like every day we are sliding deeper into trouble. We have gone thru all the allergy testing and gone grain, dairy, and legume free for a year we are definately Low carb and have dabbled with GAPS, but he won’t eat fermented foods so I give him good probiotics.

      1. My son has Esinophilic Esophagitis as well. And, I’ve been trying to force him to eat Primal because I know it will help. (My horrible reflux completely stopped on 7/27 when I started primal diet.) We did all the allergy testing and nothing came of that. He was on Budesnide (sp?) 1x a day and Nexium 1x a day as well. Then his next scope showed his EE went from 27 per inch to over 100. So, they doubled both meds to 2x per day and added Singular. His last scope showed he was cured. Although I’m afraid it will come back since we are now off meds and haven’t changed his diet. (He’s 15 and I keep trying to get him to go primal – but it’s not working.) I had never heard of EE before this diagnosis. I kept thinking about the entire time I read Primal Blueprint…and drawing connections between our huge consumption of grains in this country and all sorts of “new” ills. Hope your son gets better asap. Thought I’d share our medicine story in case it might help. Take Care.

        1. I know this is a little late but in case others stumble upon this, I am 24 and diagnosed with EE. I have been eating strict primal for about 5 months now and there honestly hasn’t been a difference. I understand that primal is the healthiest of livestyles, I have lost weight and gained muscles since beginning the lifestyle but it is not the solution for every EE sufferer. It has to do with allergies of specific foods not just grains or carbs. Sadly I feel mine is mostly meats (haven’t been officially tested because I wanted to try the primal lifestyle for awhile.) So if your son is having issues and complaining even if he did switch over then please listen to him. I’m gonna stick with primal even though it hurts me. I dealt with the issue for about 4 years before even going to see a doctor so I just deal with the pain. Some times I get really bad episodes but I’m not willing to eat lethal grains where EE is just a pain causing issue. Hope this helps some.

  6. …and bear in mind that PPIs (prilosec, prevacid, etc) are the perfect drug from a pharmaceutical profit perspective. studies have shown that severe rebound effects can occur when stopping these meds or missing doses (even in people without GERD that start them). this of course re-enforces the patients’ perspective that they are helpful. as a pharmacist, i see this quite frequently. the only solution is a slow taper off and making friends with potentially several weeks of increased symptoms.

  7. I suffered from heartburn for years. I would take 24 hour “acid reducers” every day just to feel normal. My symptoms would be worse when I was hungry, so the CW of eating less and avoiding certain foods didn’t apply to me. I felt like I had a serious medical problem and even underwent a endoscopy (and biopsy) to check for scar tissue/cancer in my esophagus. (The results were negative.)

    It wasn’t until after I lost weight by low-carb dieting that I realized I didn’t get heartburn any more. I didn’t know if it was from losing weight, or cutting out grains. But now, if I eat grains, heartburn is almost guaranteed to return for a brief period of time, so I attribute my heartburn mostly to a food allergy.

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has found relief by going primal.

    1. MARK, ARE YOU LISTENING?

      Mark missed a big one in this article by not discussing the causes of a weak esophagal valve. Acid reflux can be a symptom of a hiatial hernia, which is–guess what–associated with sitting and with straining to defecate, especially from a high seated position, rather than (primally) squatting.

      I’m shocked that he missed a chance to hammer the message home about primal movements and posture.

      I think acid reflux is multifactoral but this piece of it should not be dismissed.

      1. Thank you for mentioning a hiatal hernia!! I’ve recently been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia (it’s pretty large for my small frame). I had a severe bout of the stomach virus and shortly after, I could barely swallow. What is the solution if you have a hernia? I rarely, with the exception of this instance, see this mentioned? How are all the comments and diet advice going to help if your stomach protrudes into your esophagus? I eat very healthy and am underweight and unfortunately on meds since I could not eat or swallow anything. Is there any hope for those of us with a hernia? Thanks!

  8. I used to get absolutely terrible acid reflux. I haven’t had reflux since eliminating grains (12+months), limiting carbs and upping saturated fat (and I drink a heroic dose of coffee every day, and eat very spicy food).

    1. My doc told me to avoid tomatoes and spicy foods. I knew hot peppers didn’t cause the reflux, although they could make it more painful, and I didn’t care to give up tomatoes. Well, one day the pain got so, so bad that I decided to get a (horrors) sauce-less pizza–and my reflux was worse than ever.

      That was the day I started to suspect that the wheat might have something to do with it.

      Love my tomatoes. (Suck it all you “nightshade” haterz.)

      1. Heck, a few days after that revelation and the start of my crash elimination diet I actually deliberately overate fish and chips (fish was coated in cornmeal instead of flour)–and kept it all down!!! Overeating? HA! My esophagal valve is STRONG.

  9. Heart burn is the reason I started researching my diet in the first place. That research ultimately led to me finding out about the paleo/primal diet and lifestyle.

    When I first developed the heartburn, I turned to my doctor for advice. He put me on some pills (PPI) which I threw away before taking. I don’t like to take medicine. Not even for a cold or fever.

    So I began researching ways to cure the heartburn. I came upon something called organic apple cider vinegar. If I took a tablespoon of it with every meal, I could eat whatever I wanted and never have heartburn or indigestion again. Everything was perfect.

    However, I didn’t like the idea of swallowing acid all the time. I was looking out for my teeth and vocal chords.

    So I delved further into the realm of the paleosphere and found out all about gluten, casein, legumes, etc.

    So – I cold turkey quit all dairy, grains, etc. Ever since that day I haven’t had one day of any indigestion or pain or heartburn. I’ve since found out a whole bunch of factors that can help you get away with eating a bad diet, like lots of natural vitamin D, lots of fish oil, taking the ACV, etc, but the main factor seems to be keeping the diet full of good nutritious non irritant foods.

    Maybe I am preaching to the choir here, but hopefully someone will see this and not go through what I went through. Take my knowledge and cure yourself.

    1. I discovered ACV because I was looking for something to help with energy since I’m not keen on medicine/pills either. While researching it, I discovered it would help with heartburn which my husband suffered from terribly. Once he started with ACV it cleared up. There were times he was without it and took a packet of plain yellow mustard or some other vinegar and that worked as well.

      Now that we’re Primal and low to moderate carb, there isn’t a need for the ACV, but I still like to use it in salad dressings and the like.

      1. Yup, I still use it here and there, just not to the extent I did before I went primal. I’m not exactly sure how it worked so well though. I mean, while I was on ACV, I was eating everything that is bad for you, with no problem. I’m guessing it just denatures the proteins even more than your stomach acid does, and renders them harmless. That’s just based on conjecture though.

    2. AD–me too. Found this site after looking for some help with gluten-free diet after I pegged to the fact that wheat was causing my horrible acid reflux.

  10. fascinating article… never experienced GERD myself but I’m happy I now know more about it

  11. oh, this is the worst. before taking control of my diet, back in the SAD years, i can remember horrible, sleepless, painful nights… thankfully, this is gone. primal diet seems to keep it gone too, but i will say, that in my low-fat mostly plan-based years, it was also in check. perhaps the real culprit is processed foods?

  12. I had really bad GERD when I was pregnant with twins. Just one more reason I wish I knew more about primal living back then!

    1. Currently 31 weeks pregnant with twins and when I “fall off the primal wagon” it is miserable!! If I watch my diet pretty closely I’m usually fine. Occasionally I’ll have a bout I can’t explain but I just blame it on one if the girls being in a position that puts more pressure on my stomach 🙂

  13. I have had GERD for many years. So bad that it caused damage to the vagus nerve which resulted in gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying). I had great hopes that cutting out grains and eating low carb would help, but alas I still must take Zantac and Erythromycin just to make it through the day. At least I got off the PPIs which were causing terrible stomach pain. I have tried to go off the meds but it just does not work because of the physical damage done. I did go off them recently due to being pregnant and the symptoms were awful. Then I got the OK to go back on them and things seem to be ok for me and baby to be. I will never eat grains again as even thinking about or smelling them makes the acid rise. I enjoy the primal diet and lifestyle but in my case it has not helped the GERD.

    1. Really? I am 21 and have severe gastroparesis since age 16 as well as GERD since age 4. I also have impairment of small intestine and SBBO. Are you able to follow a primal diet pretty well? I cannot digest meat and am allergic to eggs. And yes, I have tried every digestive enzyme on the market.

      1. I come from a long line of folks with gastroparesis so it was pretty much a given that I would get it. I am also allergic to eggs, soy, and gluten. I can do the primal diet easily, meats are OK as long as I don’t eat too late at night or too much at one sitting (6 oz seems to be the meat limit for me). If I eat any more than that then I end up taking another Erythromycin to get things moving in the stomach and gut. Dairy doesn’t bother me so I do eat Greek (Fage total) yogurt and cottage cheese. I did go for over a year without any dairy at all with no change in symptoms so I decided to add it back in since breakfast is limited without eggs. I eat lots of veggies and fruit in moderation too.

  14. I do find eating yogurt helps DRAMATICALLY. Also milk, but i’m fine with dairy, coming from Dutch farmer stock 😛

  15. Wow, some people have it rough.
    I have the stomach of a goat, never experienced GERD or anything similar in my life.

    I did suffer from chronic hard stools my entire life though, which cleared up completely after going Primal.

    1. Chuck,

      It stands for Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease, because it is the gastro-esophageal sphincter that is incompetent.

      1. One of the great fallacies of this syndrome is that the esophageal sphincter is weak. In some cases that can be. But the most instances, it is that the duodenal sphincter (the other gate) that is stronger. It’s purpose is to restrict the stomach contents (chyme) until the pH has been lowered to a point where the more sensitive upper GI tract can do its job without being damaged (digested, as in duodenal ulcers) by your own gastric solutions. There are several reasons your stomach wont let go – but the bottom line is your system is electing to expel the harmful stuff rather than have you digest your own bowels from the inside out. Sorry if it sounds gross, but if it rings a bell, look into it.

        1. Not to worry, not gross, by any means. Nothing biological can be gross. However, if this theory is correct it means the system is actually choosing to expel acid from the other end, i.e. oesophagal sphincter, which doesn’t sound logical. I presume it makes nodiff whether the acid goes into the duodenum or the gullet, both are equally bad. Why, then, should the body choose to protect itself from harm at one end of the stomach by causing harm at the other end? Any research available into either theory that you’re aware of?

  16. My reflux went away completely within 3 days of going Primal and cutting out grains.

    Now, the only thing that upsets me is if I have too much dark chocolate. If I stick to 2 squares I’m ok.

    1. cocoa, like mint, is, sadly, a stomach irritant.

      but I can actually tolerate them now that my GERD is gone, so hooray.

    2. I never (well, rarely) had indigestion or an stomach ache before starting the Primal diet. Now I have it all the time! I feel miserable! I have been on the diet now for 2 weeks! Am I doing something wrong? Is this a normal reaction?

      1. You probably want to take this over to the Forum Kathy. There’ll likely be plenty of advise there.

        It would be helpful if you mention some specifics about what you now eat and how it’s changed for you. Are you eating much more meat? More dairy? That kind of thing.

        Generally the reverse effect is found. I’d take a wild guess that you may have less stomach acid than you need – which is easily correctable (Google HCL and Betaine) – and well worth doing to get the full value from your food 🙂

  17. Thank you so much for covering this subject Mark! I’ve been meaning to email you about it since my Mother suffers from GERD and it has been a major obstacle in getting her to start Primal since she attributes her heartburn to eating meat. I really don’t think that is the case at all since it doesn’t happen every time she eats meat. I think her digestive system is in serious trouble based on a combination of symptoms.

    1. Have her try drinking a glass of water with 2-3 tsp of apple cider vinegar (organic with the “mother” in it like Braggs brand). This will help with digestion.

      1. Eh, distilled will probably work as well as acetic acid is probably the active ingredient.

  18. I lived with daily, terribly painful GERD symptoms from my early 20s until recently. I popped Maalox, Tums, PPIs, baking soda and more multiple times every day. I even ended up in the ER one night as the GERD was so bad that I didn’t recognize it as GERD. I though I might be having a heart attack. The doctor gave me the usual advice that you noted in your article. Nothing helped.

    About 2 weeks after going low carb (9 months ago,) I noticed that I no longer needed the medications. I’ve been GERD free since then, and am so grateful. I do think that grains most certainly were a big culprit. I will never eat them again for a variety of reasons, that being one.

  19. I used to have the most horrible episodes of GERD. Some nights, in my sleep, acid would rise suddenly and explosively to the point where the acid would pour out of my nose and I would aspirate it into my lungs. The burning was horrendous and I would cough for hours trying to get it out of my lungs.

    Within a couple of weeks of going Paleo and cutting out all the grains, I stopped taking the two Prilosecs a day and have never looked back. My doctor is intrigued to say the least!

    1. Glad to hear you have improved. It’s really wretched, isn’t it? I Had the same experience long before I went primal, for about a year, even though I’m real healthy with no problems. I was determined to stay away from the witch doctors and their pills. Started some research. Drinking lots of water (Your Body’s Many Cries for Water) helped tremendously, but I still had frequent episodes. I even started having swallowing trouble at some meals, so this was not a good sign. Started taking notes. My worst episodes were starchy meals, especially with dairy. Pizza (one of my former favorites) was the worst, especially bad when any meal was followed by ice cream for dessert. I gave up dairy 4 years ago because of my sinus trouble, and it transformed my life in several ways. The GERD stopped in it’s tracks. A few marginal episodes, only 3 bad ones in 4 years. But why any? The grains were the last piece of the puzzle. Swallowing trouble still occurred, though diminished – starchy meals (with rice and pasta) and lunches (sub sandwiches with big fluffy rolls) were notable. My body was literally trying to reject what I was eating. Switching to flat breads helped some. Then I started taking Primal seriously. My wife loves hot dogs and hamburgers so we had them for dinner a couple times a month. I noticed every time that my dinner would sit on my stomach like lead all night, a rare experience those days. I had been reducing grains by experiment and this was one of my few last hurdles, so I tried alternating the same meal content, but minus the buns. Viola. Felt great with no bread, crappy with it. This was the final straw for my grain-free commitment.
      Those damn commercials drive me nuts. “Everytime I eat (whatever) I get awful heartburn!” Why are you eating it? Are we completely crazy these days? We blame everything but the real cause – it’s not the spices, or the garlic, or the tomatoes, or the meat, etc. Cultures have eaten highly spiced food for millenia and their digestion is HEALTHIER because of it. The spices are terrible irritants when they get expelled, but not the cause. I know alot of Primal enthusiasts eat dairy, fine if you have no problems, but I highly recommend trying to give it up if you have any of the typical problems – especially respiratory. I was a terrible snorer too – my wife was afraid I was getting sleeep apnea. That stopped on a dime as well. I can’t help but wonder how may people are sleeping with those horrid pressurized breathing masks whose only real problem is cheese.
      BTW – I hope your doctor IS intrigued. Mine was really interested as soon as I mentioned GERD, but he turned off immediately when I said I was doing alot better with water and behavior modification. On to the next check box – maybe there’s some other drug he can foist on me. I fear few doctors want to really hear these things. Their business has become dispensing chemicals, not helping you to heal.
      Hope you continue to do well.

      1. Wow, water always made me vomit worse–much worse! And eating wheat makes me super, super thirsty so this was a frequent (and disgusting) occurrence.

        Now that I eat primal I only drink water when I’ve been sweating outside. I’ve switched from watered-down gas station coffee to espresso and get annoyed at all the liquid in tea (I have to pee again?!). Rare juice or alcohol, replaced milk with cream, butter, aged cheese, yogurt, sour cream.

        According to some doctor’s blog (that was linked in a primal blogroll), too much water at meals increases stomach pH and kinda sabotages good digestion. I have found this to be sound.

  20. I recall the first time I experienced the reflux and the time that it awakened me in the middle of the night. It is so awful. I was just telling my son about the fact that I never have it any longer and described my primal diet to him.
    He said I lost him when I talked about giving up grains. That was this weekend! And, today’s post was copied and sent to him. I surely hope he reads it.
    Thanks for a great article and to PB.
    Pam

  21. What about a hiatial hernia?? A low carb diet drastically helps but I still have issues. My doctor critisized my stubborness of taking ppi’s & made it sound like my GERD may not be able to be treated naturally due to this hernia. . Do you think that is true? Everyday my esophogus is getting more irritated and as a result am engaging in this mental battle of whether or not to medicate.

    1. I too have a small hiatial hernia. I am GERD symptom free since going strict Paleo. I only get occasional and very mild flareups if I cheat with my eating.

    2. I was told all my GERD was related to my large hiatial hernia. I had to sleep with the head of my bed raised. Funny thing is that when I started a very strict gluten free diet, all my GERD disappeared. Can’t even have a crumb of gluten. That was 8 years ago. Went paleo about 2 yrs ago and still doing great.

    3. If I understand right, a Hiatal Hernia is when the stomach is pushed up through the diaphragm and all or part of it is in the chest cavity, where the heart and lungs are supposed to be. If that information is correct, my sister’s chiropractor helped her by pushing downward on the area of pressure, til she moved the stomach back down through the diaphragm to where it belonged.

      When I felt pressure in my chest and around my lungs with heart burn symptoms I tried pushing down on it and could feel it gurgling and moving and then I felt much better.

      I’ve also found that excess salt or carbs with fat is a trigger for me.

      FWIW, Kitty

  22. I took PPI’s for over 15 years. Switched to Primal/Paleo. Drug and symptom-free now. I relish that I am able to eat foods I was told to avoid now that I know the true triggers to my GERD.

    Interestingly, I also starting taking an HCl digestive enzyme at the same time I stopped the Prilosec.

    Paint me a believer

  23. NSAIDs can also cause GERD, and a lot of people take them regularly. I used to, and suffered horrible GERD that I mistook at the time for a heart attack. Weaning off excess use of NSAIDs helped me clear up esophogeal pain in days. If your stomach is already irritated, dietary irritants will only exacerbate the issue.

    1. Hear, hear. Had some horrible episodes with NSAIDs (I think they’re also called COX II inhibitors?).

      I had to stop taking them entirely for a while, no matter how bad the pain. Now that I’m primal my pain is less intense and less frequent. I think my inflammatory levels are way down. Don’t eat things you’re allergic to!

  24. The 3rd day after shifting to Primal I went to be dand noticed I hadn’t taken a Tums since I’d started. I skipped the Prilosec the next day and haven’t had it or a Tums since. Such a relief!

    Not sure it’s a processed foods thing. I’d been very whole food in the months prior to my Primal shift, and my GERD was raging, the pain and inflamation choking me at times.

  25. I had terrible GERD for several years at the same time as many other symptoms, I was gulping acid back down my throat all day and night. Cutting gluten fixed it though I still get a little bit at night even though I am now totally grain free. But it doesn’t affect my quality of life like it used to. The only reason it didn’t seem a huge deal at the time was that gluten made me so sick in other ways too!

  26. I suffered with reflux about 18 months ago, my doctor (although prescribing the usual meds) was actually quite clued up and mentioned a lot of what you’ve mentioned here, Mark. Long story short, she suggested playing around with my diet and eliminating anything that irritated my system. The easy culprit to identify was dairy – I had a lot of cow’s milk products in my diet back then, and my symptoms almost vanished when I cut it out. I like my dairy though, so I swapped to goat’s milk products and found the symptoms lessened further still. But going Primal has made the big difference – my digestive system is now very settled (no reflux, little or no gas, and no bloating), so much so that I have reintroduced cow’s milk products into my diet over the summer (strawberries just aren’t the same without cream and I can’t get cream of the goat variety ANYWHERE… as yet…) So for me it was: less dairy (and more easily digestible dairy when consumed) and less carbs…. wait, that sounds familiar… 😉

    1. I know someone who has goats. She said that goat milk is naturally homogenized. The cream won’t rise to the top. She thinks a cream separator would work but it’s not worth it to her.

  27. I developed GERD this past January and did a lot of research. In addition to Norm Robillard’s fine book, I recommend that people read “Breaking The Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall, which discusses microbial dysbiosis in greater depth. While she recommends the diet for Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, it works for the dysbiosis Robillard describes in his book.

    I was shocked (and pleased!) to discover, Mark, that your dietary recommendations are almost exactly the same as the dietary recommendations in The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), with only a couple of exceptions. The key isn’t so much to limit carbs, but to limit all but the most SIMPLE monosaccharides, the fructose and glucose found in fruits and vegetables. Damaged small intestines are unable break down more complex sugars (sucrose, starches), and intestinal damage can be assumed with the acidic activity of fermenting microbes. These un-digested sugars become the food for microorganisms, setting up a vicious cycle of injury and microbial overgrowth.

    Another great resources is Dr. Siebecker’s blog about SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).

  28. I have had wicked awful heartburn while pregnant. I never understood before how heartburn could possibly be confused with a heart attack–but then I had heartburn that bad!

    Being rigorous about my diet helped A LOT. (No grains, dairy or sugar. None.) It didn’t go away entirely, but it made it merely uncomfortable, instead of heart-attack intensity pain.

  29. I was going to mention the info Julia wrote above, about avoid all but monosaccharides. An interesting book is http://www.lowstarchdiet.net/. I am following a strictly low starch paleo diet as I have mild AS, and it has helped my gut with some milder issues that stopping gluten didn’t completely get rid of. If you have any joint issues as well I would definately recommend trying a period of strict low starch and disaccharides.

  30. Perfect timing! i just spent all day yesterday researching this very subject. I’ve been taking Prilosec for 1.5 years. Now that I’ve gone Primal(2 months now, I thought it’s time to get off the med’s. I’m taking HCI/Pepsin with every meal. So far seems to be working. This is a temporary thing as my body adjusts. It’s a slow process but that I think is worth it!!

  31. After having GERD for his entire adulthood my husband was recently diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. GERD CAUSES CANCER. It is too late for him to save his esophagus, but it is not too late for many of you. This is NOT something you want to mess around with. Those drugs made him virtually asymptomatic, but the damage continued. Hopefully he will survive the cure.

  32. Giving up grains and eating lower carbs seemed to do the trick for me. I took Pepcid AC about 3-4 times per week over a year ago. I never take it now.

  33. My GERD only rears its head if I am eating things off the paleo/primal grid, such as any grains, definitely baked goods of ANY kind (even though I only eat gluten-free, doesn’t matter), and a lot of sugar.

  34. I’m a physician and have advised patients for years to do “lifestyle measures” like elevating the head of the bed, avoiding fatty/spicy food, alcohol, chocolate, mint, smoking (and then I usually ended up putting them on PPIs when those measures didn’t control their symptoms). But of all the foods that might cause or worsen GERD symptoms it never occurred to me — nor was I trained — that grains could be the problem or at least part of it. I suffered from GERD too and was on PPIs myself, but not anymore: my symptoms disappeared when I went primal and eliminated grains. I know gluten isn’t the answer for everyone, but it made all the difference for me and I encourage anyone with GERD to at least try a 30-day grain-free trial. And yes, people give me that that “are you crazy? Grains are the basis of the food pyramid” look when I suggest this.

    1. Hi
      I’ve been eating Paleo for the past 2 months and my stomach discomforts have been getting worse, although a bit different than usual(i.e. feeling more like light acid reflux rather than paralyzing heartburn). I’ve been diagnosed with gastroparesis (type 1 diabetic). What can I do and eat to stay paleo and try to manage my blood glucose levels and my general health? Enzymes? Food combining (fruits seem to make me bloat more than ever)? Reduce fats (these also seem to make it difficult for me) Taking ACV? Any suggestion is welcomed since I don’t know who to ask nor what to expect from my own endocrinologist. Thanks : )

    2. Tell them to try taro root. You can cook it in a minute in the microwave.

      Or potatoes. Everyone knows how to eat those. (Not french fries b/c most places they are “dropped” in the same fat with breaded items, meaning they are full of gluten. McD’s fries have their own, segregated Fry-O-Lator, so they’re okay, though certainly not primal with that nasty “vegetable” oil.)

      You can buy cassava/yuca in latin supermarkets frozen and boil it. Good with butter or garlic sauce or in meat stews.

      And sweet potatoes! Nature’s perfect food. Get them to nyam their yams, butter their batatas, roast their red sweets. I ate so many sweet potatoes when I first went gluten-free I didn’t want to see any more orange food after a while.

      Most people have heard that sweet potato is good for them so why not let them try it? There are yellow batatas available in US supermarkets for when you reach your personal carotinoid compound limit. I think I have a higher tolerance now after giving myself WAPF-style Irish butter therapy (plus outdoor time). Up the A, D, K complex and orange is suddenly A-OK. (Are you groaning yet?)

      1. @Another Halocene Human,

        “…McD’s fries have their own, segregated Fry-O-Lator, so they’re okay…”

        McDonald’s publishes that its french fries contain milk, wheat, and rancid oils (a possible cause internal inflammation). Yet, you say they’re ok in the context of this article. Hmmmm…not so much!

        Your statement is inaccurate-they’re *not* OK. See for yourself:
        http://tinyurl.com/3aplt8r

      2. @Another Halocene Human,

        “…McD’s fries have their own, segregated Fry-O-Lator, so they’re okay…”

        McDonald’s publishes that its french fries contain milk, wheat, and rancid oils (a possible cause of internal inflammation). Yet, you say they’re ok in the context of this article. Hmmmm…not so much!

        Your statement is inaccurate-they’re *not* OK. See for yourself:
        http://tinyurl.com/3aplt8r

    3. Tom it’s very refreshing to hear a doctor say that they have not only found that the Primal way of eating helped and that they also now advise their patients of the same.

      It’s very easy for people to blame doctors for putting them on drugs rather than finding the cause but the information on this is just not commonly known (yet?). So often we hear of doctors casting aspersions on the idea that diet can change such things. Great to hear of a doctor that’s open minded enough to have worked this out properly and acted on it.

  35. I recommend digestive enzymes for a few months along w/ a grain-free diet. For immediate, short-term relief, down a spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar. The taste isn’t great but the relief is amazing.

  36. I’ve never been formally diagnosed with anything, but had problems with heartburn for decades (along with other issues with my stomach and digestion). It got so bad I was waking with panic attacks because I couldn’t breathe. I had been to regular doctors over the years and they never helped so this time I went to an allergist. He explained that was because my esophagus was swollen and prescribed me the little purple pill. It worked, and the heartburn, and the late night panic attacks, both stopped but at $50 a month I was not thrilled.

    Then I went primal and it went away. For me, it was the grains. I know because after a few months primal I started eating sugar again (I know, I know! – and not in moderation either) and my heartburn stayed away. I never went back on grains though.

    So for some people it might be low carb, but for me, it was specifically cutting grains. All grains. I went gluten free years ago and it didn’t make as big a difference as 100% grain free.

    1. THE ALLERGIST DIDN’T HELP YOU DIAGNOSE YOUR ALLERGY? WHAT MANNER OF ***KERY IS THIS?

      1. Sorry for shouting. That is just some crazy $&@#, man.

  37. Yep, I had acid reflux, took medication for it, etc.

    Then I became primal and it stopped *that very week*. Haven’t had a single reflux event since then (July 2010).

    It’s one of those secondary bonuses of Primal Life 🙂

  38. I suffered from mild but persistent reflux for a couple of years when I was peri-menopausal. I had good success using HCl tablets with meals, so I assume that low stomach acid was at least part of the problem. Around that time I also became hypothyroid. When I finally got that condition corrected (with Armour thyroid), the reflux stopped. I read later that low stomach acid can be a result of hypothyroidism, so that may have been a factor.

  39. Another miserable GERD sufferer for many years. I had an upper endoscopic done about 4 years ago which confirmed I had esophageal damage, a hiatal hernia and polyps in my stomach (proabably caused by the PPI’s) I was on the drugs for over 15 years. I shudder to think of all the damage that has been done. Several years ago I had severe anemia mostly likey the result of a combination of factors including the PPI’s which block the absorbtion of minerals like calcium and iron.

    Nearly, 2 years ago I went LC for health reasons: to avoid getting T2 diabetes like my brother and father. I actually didn’t lose much weight even though I ate less than 40 grams carb for a month. But what I DID lose was my GERD! In the first week, I tried to taper off the meds but by the 2nd week found I didn’t need them at all! Like most, grains are the primary culprit and too much sugar. Now, I know if I decide to have a small amount of GF grain, I’m going to pay a price. But instead of PPI’s, I reach for Alka Seltzer heartburn relief and it works great!

  40. I had complete cessation of GERD on my first low carb experience–immediately before any significant weight loss. This time around it’s still a problem, but I had 10 years of additional damage :o( It is much, much better on low carb, though.

    People should not overlook another connection with GERD which is sleep apnea. Dr. Steven Park hypothesizes that when the airway is closed off during sleep, the struggle to breathe causes a negative pressure in the upper airway, and that pulls gastric juices up into the airway. People with GERD should be evaluated for sleep apnea and vice versa, EVEN IF THEY DON’T FIT THE USUAL PROFILE (middle-aged, overweight male who snores).

  41. I had gerd so bad it was making my ears hurt.. I would take HCL and antacids and I would still get heartburn. Went Primal about a month ago and no more heart burn.

  42. That’s it, we’re changing our diet. My husband’s family has a history of reflux which usually clears up by the time they turn one. My nephew, however, is 11 and will vomit after eating too fast or drinking soda.

    My son had horrible reflux as a baby, but since he never acted like he was in pain my pediatrician didn’t think we needed to do anything about it. He has severe cavities from the reflux and getting his first teeth at 3.5 months, he looks like he has bottle rot (never had a bottle, though).

    Well, the last few weeks my son, now 3.5, has informed me that he still has reflux (“Mommy, I throw up in my mouth.”) several times a day. A few days ago he told me, “When I eat sweet things the sugar makes me throw up.”

    So! I’m feeling we need to just bite the bullet and go primal. Thank you for this article, it was very enlightening.

  43. Thanks Mark! Started Paleo, lost twenty-five pounds and GERDS. No more medication or antacids. Have started a new life at 53!

  44. Reflux is actually one of the main reasons I ended up here. I had a HORRIBLE case of GERD, and felt like I was dealing with absolute IDIOTS at the hospital. I was told to try an “easily digested foods” diet which meant rice, potatoes, sugar, and all that other garbage that is horrible for you. My symptoms of course got WORSE. I was very heavy…around 325 when this started. I lost about 40 lbs in little over 2 weeks, as I could not swallow. The hardest things to swallow were water and yogurt. I choked down broth and boost shakes and slowed the loss. I ended up getting down to about 260 until my swallowing got better (after starting a PPI and about every diagnostic test known). I had ulcerations from the back of my throat to my jujunem (the farthest place a scope goes in an endoscopy..just before the intestines). The PPI pill eventually gave me the WORST reflux I had ever experienced. I finally found a good doc (still with him today) and started modding my diet. It has been almost 2 years, and I still have side affects and occasional dysphagia (trouble swallowing), but with my primal diet (for about 7 weeks now) I have definitely been feeling much better.

    I never felt so helpless, and had so many problems like the ones I had with GERD….Hell is an understatement!

  45. i’m glad to see you recommend bitters! herbalists differentiate the bitter herbs a little more. if you can find calamus, you’re in luck — it not only has the bitter principle that stimulates healthy digestive juices, it also has a tendency to normalize stomach acid levels, bringing them down if they’re too high, up if they’re too low.

    marshmallow root is another very helpful herb for heartburn, reflux, and GERD. just drop a tablespoon of the cut root in a quart of water, let it sit overnight in the fridge, and you’ll have a slightly thickened, mucilaginous drink in the morning. you can water it down further if the texture is displeasing. another way is to just put a pinch in your water bottle and leave it there through the day. this is soothing to irritated tissues in the throat and esophagus.

  46. I had heartburn for years. I ate Rolaids, and never went any furhter into diagnosis or treatment (Army doctors are great at patching up war wounds, less good at treating illness). One thing I did know was that the ususal things such as spicy and greasy foods did not send me off, but that eating bread to moderate symptoms just sent me over the roof.

    I have not had heartburn since going primal. I’m not going to dig too far into any cause and effect relationships, but I’m not going to eat grains again without a ready supply of antacids, either.

  47. I got rid of it by going low carb. It was amazing to not need a super size bottle of tums at hand.

  48. I had been on Prevacid for almost 10 years! Every doctor just said to cut down on acidic foods and soda. Despite all of the info stating it is not for long term use, they continued to assure me of it’s safety. My GERD was painful and if I missed a dose, I was almost paralyzed with discomfort. Once I went Paleo almost 10 months or so ago, I am glad to report that I no longer need Prevacid or any antacid (except for the occassional Friday night – my “cheat day” – pizza.) I knew I wasn’t imagining things. Thank you for this post.

  49. again, it’s not the saturated fats from meat that is the problem….it’s the starchy carbohydrates and bad trans-fat oils that many people ingest mindlessly along with it

  50. I suffered from gerd took pills every morning and ate tums every night for years.. Even went so far as to have my stomach scoped to check for cancer or physcical cause. I have been eating primal for 4 months and have now been free of symptoms for over 3 months. If being ugly and an early death wasn’t enough motivation to eat primal you can also know that eating primal will prevent you from waking up choking with lungs full of stomach acid. But hey if you like death, obesity, and waking up in horrible pain then by all means hit up the extra pasta. 🙂

  51. I have been almost 100% GERD-free since I quit grains. I don’t knowingly eat grains away from home, but may once in a while, have grains or sugars added to a food. I am quite convinced that, for me, grains are the culprit. It is very easy to live grain-free at home, and I find myself more discerning when away from home.

  52. I had neurological damage about 10 years back, and while my brain was healing, I suffered from GERD. It came back when I started working out again. And stayed until I discovered Primal Blueprint and stopped eating the SAD. I’m so relieved that I don’t have to pop pills every day anymore!

  53. Another great article Mark. Thanks!

    I’ve been on PPIs for years, and anytime I forget to take them I suffer. I’ve been mostly grain-free/low-carb for almost 2 years now, but the tummy symptoms persist.

    I’ve been taking digestive enzymes, probiotics, Omega 3’s, about 11,000 IUs of D3 daily…still no improvement in GERD(but my overall health is much improved). I still drink alcohol occasionally, and too much coffee (20+oz/day)…

    When I haven’t had my reflux pills available, I’ve been able to successfully fall back on Aloe juice…but I’m not sure if that’s swapping one dependency for another.

    Sounds like I could conceivably cut PPIs entirely and treat with aloe until I overcome the rebound effects of the PPIs but that sounds like mostly uncharted territories.

    1. alcohol and coffee are stomach irritants–you may want to consider cutting back. Take a few days vacation and just sleep and detox. (Drink water, or water with electrolytes for the caffeine headache, but avoid aspirin and NSAIDs, as both destroy your stomach lining.)

      Too much w3 can apparently lead to GERD so maybe you should make sure you aren’t over-supplementing.

      Also, if you’ve had stomach/intestinal problems for a while, look into FODMAPS. I no longer have reflux but I had a tiny amount of raw garlic today and I am expelling ridiculous amounts of garlic-flavored gas (as burps), which is way too close to the reflux line for my comfort.

    2. Coffee has caffeine, which relaxes the LES and promotes reflux. Also, coffee is relatively acidic so it can activate pepsin molecules that are still present in your esophagus.

  54. It was after I read Healthy Skeptic Chris Kessler’s heartburn article a that I went low carb. I had been on H2 blockers and all the rest for years. But I was haunted by Chris asking (I paraphrase) “If hyperacidity is the cause of GERD/IBS/etc why isn’t it a disease of young people since stomach acid declines with aging?” Plus all the things he pointed out about how protective stomach acid is of our lower gut.

    After a year and a half of low carbing I can say my IBS/GERD has been gone for over a year, I can eat coffee, tomatoes and other trigger food. It was all a matter of diet. I am so much happier and healthier today!

  55. I was on prilosec for 10 years and that was with tums but as soon as I went paleo all my symptoms vanished…I’ve been asymptomatic for 3 months now and I’ve never looked back!

  56. Anecdotally… My wife has GERD, and her symptoms are dramatically lessened when we’re grain-free (to the point where a bottle of antacid will actually last a couple of months, versus a couple of weeks).

    I don’t have GERD, and I don’t get heartburn at all so long as we’re grain-free, but if we start eating grains again I’m popping Tums like candy.

  57. Recently my 50 year old husband had an ingual hernia repair. Over and over again throughout his pre-operative care, doctors and nurses were amazed when he reported that he was not taking any drugs. They would probe and prod, thinking he’d forgotten something, or wasn’t understanding that they meant any and all drugs, even NSAIDs.

    It was as if they’d never heard of someone his age not being on a drug.

  58. I’m surprised no one has mentioned d-limonene yet as a helpful supplement for GERD. I’ve seen this stuff work over and over again in friends and clients. 1,000 mg every other day for 20 days (10 doses total) and that usually does it. The research on this showed some people having persistent relief for 6 months after the 20 day treatment period was over. It might not actually address the root cause, but it sure helps the symptoms in the meantime.

  59. I had gastroscopies, barium meals and used meds for years to manage GERD, which began when I was about 22. I used to find my esophagus was so sensitive that the various hideous liquids I ingested to help (Gaviscon in the UK) actually burned and irritated my esophagus as I took them. A glass of wine would literally bend me over double in pain. I couldn’t understand why curry, spice etc had no effect, and skipping meals made precious little difference either. Looking back now I see it was all about the grains and as soon as I stray (like I tend to do on holiday) towards cereals and bread then I end up in pain within hours. I’m so delighted paleo saved me from what I thought would be lifelong discomfort.

  60. I have tried primal/paleo for breakfast to replace my cereal and that is when I get reflux. I am gluten free and my cereal is corn based (I know, I know), and when I gave it up and tried eggs one morning, even a salad another morning, I got horrible reflux; where it is controlled with the cereal. Interestingly, I don’t get reflux from eggs or salads if eaten for other meals. Could it be I have high acid levels in the morning and add protein from the eggs or fat from the salad(put avacado on it) and not much to absorb the acid? Whereas the cereal absorbs the acid setting me up for the rest of the day?

    Any suggestions are appreciated as I would love to get off grains entirely, but for the time being I need them for my breakfast.

    Thanks!

  61. I had only begun to suffer from GERD and IBS over the last year– coincidentally I also started Weight Watchers during that time. One of my favorite foods was the low calorie bread that I convinced myself was guilt-free.

    I’ve only been primal for a couple of months, but the difference has been significant. Not only have I not had any heartburn, but my joints (I have severe osteoarthritis) have been much, much better. I rarely need to take Ibuprofen any more (I used to take 4 tablets at least 4-times daily). Eating bread is not a good enough reason to be in that much pain.

    Thanks for the reminder about the fermented food. I’m going to make a concerted effort to add them to my diet.

  62. I had chronic GERD and was prescribed medication that didn’t work. However, I removed ALL starches and dairy from my diet, and have been completely symptom free for years.

    I eat plenty of non-starchy fruit, so in my experience carbs have nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s the TYPE of carbs that factor in.

  63. bingo mark. we all know what causes pregnancy, as for flatulence, it comes from bacteria munching on undigested food. chasing the mighty margin has us rushing through mealtime. thus creating undigested food for the hungry bacteria, which then creates gas. a primal lifestyle as well as diet will cure what the problem. people of zee world relax! (play more)

  64. I have had GERD for the past 3 years. It started after my third C-section. Life is a living Hell. I have tried everything, including PPIs, but I have received no relief. How long after starting Paleo and eliminating grains did ya’ll start to feel relief? (I’ve also tried fasting, ACV, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.)

    1. Have you been examined for a possible hernia post-operation?

  65. I’m surprised that no one has suggested the Water Cure. This is based on the old Chinese cure-all of drinking large quantities of water at one time, basically flooding the system. I read about it years ago in a small book; title and author long forgotten, but the one thing I took from it always gave me immediate relief from the pain. Get up and drink 3 large glasses of water one after another. The result is immediate relief. Of course there are several trips to the aptly named water closet (WC) for some time after wards! This may help fellow sufferers whilst changing to the Primal diet and take care of any relapses.

  66. Interestingly I’ve begun having heartburn when eating more primally. If I eat grains I don’t tend to have heartburn but my lower digestive track is unhappy. If I eat more primally I tend to have heartburn following meals but my lower digestive is happy as a clam. Reducing meal size, slowing eating speed, and avoiding excess acidic foods (e.g. tomato soup) and too much dark chocolate (my one remaining vice) helps. I wonder if it’s just a transition stage as my system adapts to different consumption patterns.

    1. Do you suspect a “trigger” food? You could have an undiagnosed food allergy. Eggs or dairy may be a culprit.

  67. I was one of those people who was getting acid reflux and I had one of those terrifying nighttime choking events after inhaling acid in my sleep. As soon as I started eating paleo/primal ALL my “heartburn” went away. Yay!

  68. Slippery Elm helps . Also if you get acid reflux at night in bed lie on your left side. Our anatomy is so that when you do your esophogus is above the acid level and the acid does not come up, stays where it belongs.

    Aloe Vera seems to help heal my esophogus after acid reflux episodes

  69. Great article Mark!
    I’ve been a GERD sufferer for over a decade. My med journey started off with the antacid sweets, then to a pharmacy pill then a prescription. It wasn’t until I gave the Atkins Diet a spin about ten years ago that I realised the cuplrit was wheat and grains in general. Over time I found that more highly processed grains such as pastries etc were absolute killers and that also the meds effectiveness decreaed over the years.

    Thankfully now I made the choice to eliminate grains from my diet and hey, guess what… no GERD!

    In a bizarre way I look at it as a blessing – its my body telling me in a very painful way not to eat grains – many people aren’t so fortunate to have these warning signs and suffer far worse consequences with little or no warning.

    Cheers,
    Adam

  70. Count me among the low carb GERD success stories. I experienced the benefits long before I had much weight loss (which was also significant for me). It was amazing. I had been a daily Prilosec user out of sheer desperation. Even with the Prilosec, I had to sleep sitting upright in a chair and about one in four nights, I still refluxed bad enough that I would lose significant sleep. About two weeks after starting low carb, I saw an improvement. About four weeks in the symptoms were almost totally gone. The only time I have symptoms now is when I have a cheat…which ironically was night before last when I had some chips to go with my salsa. I eat lots of peppers and very spicy food, so I know it was all about the chips. It wasn’t terrible, but noticeable when you don’t have any issues at all. Personally, I think wheat is probably my major culprit, but too many variables to know for sure.

    1. I have problems with corn chips. Corn doesn’t cause reflux for me across the board so I don’t know why it’s such a problem.

      (Eating maize does make me feel “weird” so I try to avoid it. But I’m not intolerant to it like I am with gluten grains.)

      It might be resistant starch? I mean, I’m guessing here. I can’t have resistant starch because I still have FODMAPS issues since my guts aren’t totally healed. Plantains and cold potato salad can sometimes explode in my innards… ugh.

  71. Yuk, the article is simply hawking cheesy supplements like a tacky salesman.

  72. Mark,

    I used to get heart burn when I ate crap foods.

    As soon as I started introducing a ‘reckless’ amount of vegetables into my diet (which corresponded with minimal grains), it all went away. It’s been years now.

    In other words, eat primal, lose the heart burn.

    -RD

  73. I suffered from GERD for about 30 years — I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia at age 21 and had problems for years. Started on the first purple pill before it was called the purple pill. It helped with the GERD, but for years I lived under the mistaken impression that diarrhea was normal every morning. I did finally have the hernia repaired (along with my gall bladder removed, but that’s another story.) Stopped the purple pill and ended the heartburn.

    Unfortunately, a hernia is more severe than a simple relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. Surgery is often ineffective, but can work. It was worth it for me.

    Meanwhile, a primal lifestyle and diet is a great adjunct to a GERD-free lifestyle. Even successful hernia repair surgery doesn’t eliminate heartburn if your diet is actively promoting it.

    Also — fascinating info about estrogen and GERD. I developed my first symptoms of GERD in college — and a couple of years after starting birth control pills (much higher in estrogen then than they are today.) Possibly a contributing factor to my hernia? Maybe.

    Still, today you will have to pry my bio-identical estrogen/testosterone/progesterone replacement creams out of my cold dead fingers. But my GERD doesn’t happen anymore, so I can feel good on so many levels!

  74. I had a brief bout with horrendous GERD after increasing my intake of coconut oil to 6 TBS a day in order to see if I would benefit from a ketogenic diet.

    Paul Jaminet, of The Perfect Health Diet, helped me figure out that I had a systemic fungal infection and explained that while ketosis is helpful for many conditions, it feeds fungus if you have an existing infection.

    Went back to three meals a day, added a small amount of “safe” starch and limited coconut oil to <2 Tbs and the GERD stopped immediately.

    1. Wow, good to know. This should be shared more prominently.

  75. I ended up having really bad acid reflux from other medical issues, and needing to take protonix and randiditine daily.

    It wasn’t until I cut out Gluten and Dairy and Sugar, that I don’t need to take the medicine daily anymore.

    I do at times have heavy whipping cream or cheese but not in large amounts.

    I do take the medicine as needed – which depends on the day, week, month I’m in.

  76. I used to suffer from GERD pretty badly. Used to take prescription drugs for it. Mark is right – this really is a crazy way to address the problem. I dropped 30-35 pounds and completely changed my eating style (amount not content) and the problem almost went away completely. I still eat a lot of carbs though I have cut back. My best advice is to get active (aerobically), lose weight, eat small meals and NEVER EVER eat after 6:30pm.

  77. Growing up in an Italian family, Mamma would send me to school with homemade lasagna, pizza, calzones, etc. Most of my life I’ve had all of the symptoms you described.

    The worst was waking up choking, gagging on acid which was traumatic to say the least. My mother’s remedy was, “eat a piece of dry bread, and try to swallow it without chewing. It will soak up the grease.” This would make it worse.

    As soon as I started living low-carb the problem VANISHED. That fact is compelling evidence that this is the way we’re supposed to eat. Most people are astonished when I tell them how I eat. My typical breakfast is 4 eggs fried in bacon grease and butter, 3 strips of bacon, 1/4 cup refried beans, cheese, and salsa. Not a hint of upset stomach, acid reflux, or heart burn. I feel better than ever (and lost 48 pounds).

    Conventional wisdom says that foods high in fat are the very cause of heartburn, or at least exacerbate the condition. The only time I experience heart burn now is when I cheat myself. That’s just more motivation to stick with the plan. This was a great blog entry that confirms my experience is not atypical.

  78. I have been a lifelong gastric reflux sufferer.

    For the last 10 years I have been on a daily PPI pill and got fat doing that. I can’t blame giving up smoking because I was still slim for 6 months before going on the PPIs. Once on, I gained weight.

    I didn’t know that a paleo diet would heal me, but it did – this happened by surprise and I noticed I’m missed pills. Having tried this before and ended up regularly vomiting, I was very surprised that I wasn’t while eating paleo. I went with it …

    I drank Cider Vinegar (one capful in a cup of water) about half an hour before eating and built up my gut with probiotic yoghurt, later finding a good and regular supply of proper sauerkraut.

    That, coupled with paleo eating healed me. That healed me inside two months! A lifelong condition gone by removing grains (I ate a VERY good diet beforehand, no processed food, no sugar, no any of those evil things …) and stimulating my gut!

    I feel amazing. I have won! This is as big a triumph as giving up smoking. I am a normal human being now and that is down to paleo. Okay, down to yoghurt, too … but many primals, functional paleos and archevores are happily endorsing dairy now 🙂

  79. My almost 6 year old started having acid reflux issues just 6 months ago. i could smell the vomit on his breath and he told me sometimes he throws up in his mouth. Great. Explains the cavities. So far, it seems to flare up with grains, especially crackers, and spikes with sugar! So minimizing that stuff has helped a ton. I refuse to put him on medication. Also, we took him off flouride, now that we have learned more about flouride and that one of the side effects can be vomiting or stomach issues. So far so good. I’m thankful for all the posts on how I can stave off incidents when he does indulge, like at a child’s birthday party!

  80. Eating strictly primal never helped me, dairy-free never helped me, I’ve kept a food diary for the last 6 months and I can’t see any trigger foods at all. Going very-low carb for a month never helped me. Probiotics made it worse. HCl and herbal supplements did nothing. I’ve been tested for H.pylori and don’t have that. I’ve had a gastroscopy, no disease detected.

    BUT…PPIs did work. I really hope I don’t have to be on them forever, but seriously they’re the only thing that’s ever helped.

    1. See my comment on pg. 4 – You might have hyperparathyroidism.

  81. I’m a newbie, having been involved with this style of eating for only about 8 weeks. Before going primal, I had been quite bothered with GERD and finally resorted to taking omeprazole every morning, which did help a lot. However, after a couple of weeks of staying around 50 gm of carbs a day, I found I no longer needed the medication! SO, hurray for Primal Blueprint! I initiated this plan to help me lose some weight, never realizing it would also “cure” my GERD! Glad I found you guys!

  82. Even if I had never learned about paleo or gluten intolerance, I knew from personal experience of dealing with GERD since teenage years is that acid reflux occurs more frequently during non-active high-carb intake.

  83. What I find interesting is the connection to excess estrogen. I’ve been researching a lot about excess estrogen lately and it appears to be quite the trouble maker on many fronts.

  84. HELP!

    MARK:
    (and those of you with advice)

    I have had reflux for many, many years. I have a hiatal hernia. I am 35 years old, thin, very active. I have always had a pretty high carbohydrate diet. For about a year I’ve had GERD daily. I’ve changed my diet (in terms of limiting all citrus, tomatoes, alcohol, coffee, peppermint, onions, garlic, etc). I elevated my bed and sleep on a wedge. I don’t eat within 2 hours of sleeping at night. I’ve tried a myraid of PPIs, with no real success, including herbal remedies. I eliminated gluten in May, and have felt somewhat better, but still get heartburn every other day. I eliminated grains about a week ago, hoping to find true relief, but so far it’s not really helped. I now have 3 questions for you all.

    1) How long after eliminating grains did you find relief from the burn?

    2) I am still eating sweet potatoes, yams, and parsnips, as well as buckwheat (not a grain, but a seed). Also, I bake with chestnut flour and buckwheat flour. How to do feel about those foods?

    3) My diet is still very high in carbs, but it is almost all from fruit and vegetables (some from nut/seed flour). Do I need to limit fruit?

    1. Yes, eliminate fruit. You may also want to see a naturopath who can test you for candida or fungal growth in your stomach. Both conditions are fueled by sugar/mold bearing fruit/mushrooms/cheese, etc. Eating solely meat and vegetables for a while will probably help, but you may also need a supplement to attach the stomach fungus or yeast growth. Just one idea to consider.

  85. I too have GERD, and took prevacid for over a year. I now eat paleo, primal, and about eight days ago I stopped taking prevacid. It was tough for a few days as I did have pretty strong rebound effects, but I am already better by about 95% with no drugs, I’ve also tried ACV and Now foods super enzymes and find that both of them help a lot. Good luck to all those who are about to stop PPI’s, it’s not as bad as you may think.

  86. All I did was get rid of the helicobacter pylori . 2 antibiotics per day for one week and the everything has been fine for several years .

  87. Another thing I found awesome for sufferers of hiatal hernia, go to youtube and there are videos showing how to manually manipulate you’re stomach down from your diaphragm essentially curing the problem within a couple of weeks, definitely worth checking out. Good luck.

  88. It wasn’t until I cut out most carbs execpt from fruits and veggies my heart burn went away! I lived on antacids, what a great thing!

  89. I found that using a quarter tsp. of L-glutamine dissolved in water eradicated flare ups completely. Also, for a lot of my friends and myself, getting off grains eradicated the problem. The estrogen link was interesting. I starting to have acid reflux for the first time in my life when my weight went up to 230 lbs from the normal 190 lbs. All that excess adipose tissue converts testosterone into estrogens. I lost most of the weight and the problem went away. I only have flare ups again when I cheat and eat grains. (Which is rarely).

  90. I have suffered quite a bit of hearburn over the years, and got relief from Nexium. My doctor told me to avoid fatty foods.

    Once I switched to a Paleo diet, the heartburn went away. When I go off the wagon, like I did two weeks ago, and eat bread and pasta, the heartburn comes back. Instead of Nexium, I get relief from HCl tablets (100-200 mg). In contrast to what my doctor told me, I NEVER get heartburn from eating fatty foods, but often get it from eating grains.

    …. wait, i lied, i have gotten heartburn from eating ice cream also… but still, if I stick to Paleo, I simply don’t get heartburn

  91. I just went through this last week. The Deglycerinized licorice definitely helps with the stomach burn. The cause/effect is almost instantaneous for me right now. Each grains or fruit = sleepless night with terrible stomach burn. But eat Paleo and I haven’t had any pain. Be careful about using the HCL for long periods of time as it can negatively affect your pancreas.

  92. Great article, Mark! I had GERD a few years ago and kicked it in the butt by taking a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar whenever I experienced symptoms. Eventually it went away for good. Now that I’m primal, I don’t expect to ever have to deal with it again.:)

  93. People need to be careful discontinuing meds prescribed for indigestion/GERD. There can be some serious effects of “cold turkey-ing” off them. If there is any underlying illness, it can flare, and symptoms can be extreme. Reducing the dosages over time is probably safer. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist about how to discontinue a medicine.

    While I agree that diet changes might help, too much histamine can be a culprit in digestive difficulties. Mast cells produce histamine which stimulates acid production. A low histamine diet might be helpful. This diet eliminates not only foods that contain histamine, but also foods that can cause direct histamine release from the mast cells. If the diet helps, then a mast cell disorder might exist that causes the symptoms.

    This site has an easy to read low histamine diet chart telling what foods to eliminate and which are acceptable:
    http://www.urticaria.thunderworksinc.com/pages/lowhistamine.htm

  94. When it wakes me at night, I have done the Aajonus Vonderplanitz Primal raw guy’s remedy of apple cider vinegar and raw honey…..it has worked most every time in the past!

  95. I ate mostly whole grains, legumes and veggies for 40 years. A few years ago I developed GERD so severe that several times I found myself in an emergency rooms thinking that I was having a heart attack. I also developed severe arthritis in my neck and shoulders. I decided to go lowcarb and cut out all grains and legumes. The GERD WENT AWAY IN TWO DAYS. The arthritis in ten days

  96. Thanks! I had no idea i wasnt alone with this! My pain was quite acute in my life but I almost had my gallbladder out cause the docs couldn’t pinpoint the problem. I took time out to do some self-testing and lowcarb/primal is the only cure for me. I kept my organs and my money and lost 20 lbs instead. Couldn’t be happier!

  97. Wow, this is a dilemma for me. The same day I started on Atkins induction I started Prempro–I’d suffered for EIGHT SOLID YEARS of hot flashes, day and night, and never got more than a two hours of continuous sleep at a time.

    Now I’m sleeping much better and don’t sweat through the days, but have “silent reflux”–which is affecting my ability to make a living as a singer.

    I’ve cut way back on dairy and coffee and chocolate and try to remain upright for a few hours after eating–all of which are difficult to maintain day after day.

    I’ve also started taking melatonin, which is supposed to help the lower esophageal sphincter. Only been on that for a few weeks, but it seems to help a little. I’d love to get off Prempro, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has made a difference (and I tried all the other remedies) but synthetic hormones.

    I take 80 mg Prilosec and 300 mg ranitidine, and have seen some reduction of symptoms, and would love to taper off those too. A real trade-off and none of them are good ones.

  98. I had terrible heartburn for over a decade. I was taking Aciphex every evening for over 10 years. Even with insurance it was costing me $40 per month. That’s $480 per year I was paying for that darn med! But compared to the pain, it was well worth the money.

    If I skipped just one day’s dose, I’d get terrible heartburn the next day. No matter what I ate or didn’t eat.

    Then I gave up wheat and the chronic heartburn went away. Now the only time I get heartburn is when I eat something bad, or if I’m under a lot of stress and/or lack of sleep.

    So now, heartburn is almost welcome, because it’s a painful incentive to get back on track and eat right, sleep more, and let go of the stress. 🙂

  99. I suffered from GERD and embarrassingly excessive flatulence for years. I had little stashes of Zantac everywhere – my computer desks, my laptop bag, the glove compartment in my car. I went low-carb due to feeling like I was knocking on the door of type-II diabetes. After a month on low-carb it suddenly hit me one day I had not needed to reach for the Zantac for weeks. The gas problem had gone away too. You could have talked me into low-carb on the no-gas proposition years earlier. Interesting article – I hadn’t realized that the gas issue may have been a contributing factor to GERD – I had always considered them as separate issues.

  100. Have had heartburn only a couple times in my life, and considering what I ate to cause it, I deserved it!

    I’ve had PPI once for an entirely different issue. I had a stomach virus during my undergrad and the campus doctor gave me a two weeks supply to create conditions in my stomach to help defeat the virus and heal the damage. I was also put on a liquid diet for those two weeks. It did help my body; I wasn’t keeled over in agonising pain. I’m also glad that he chose to treat the virus first because my symptoms were similar to a certain bacterial infection (he didn’t specify which) which would have had to been treated with antibiotics.

    So PPIs aren’t entirely bad; it’s the context that makes them good or bad. I only took them for 2 weeks vs the long term use others have done.

  101. I had never had significant reflux, even when eating the thrice-damned low-fat, high-carb, de minimus protein “Mediterranean (HAH!) Diet”, although I did have plenty of gas and bloating, and wound up fat and with a permanently damaged metabolism (Thanks, CW!).

    However, GERD DID rear it’s ugly head when I developed primary hyperparathyroidism, a disorder of calcium metabolism that is much more common than most Docs know.

    So for those of you who can’t seem to rid yourselves of this beast, check out http://WWW.PARATHYROID.COM, the definitive site on the subject, and get your calcium and PTH levels checked. This might well be your problem.

    Surgery is curative of the underlying disorder, and therefore, assuming no permanent structural damage, GERD goes away.

    Oh, what a relief it is…!

  102. Hi,

    I’ve never had heartburn in my life but after 4 weeks of low carb I started having it. It’s some kind of gastritis thing. I’m still doing exams. I feel it specially when I have an empty stomach and the symptoms aren’t very strong (unless I stop eating for a long time). I have no real reflux, just heartburn and a lot of gases. I notice I can make it better by concentrating, relaxing and breathing deeply, mostly with my belly. I’ve noticed that after a long period of fasting if I eat cheese alone It gets worse. I got very stressed since the first symptons appears and I couldn’t help but blame the diet. I still think it played some part. First because I wasn’t used at all to meat and vegetables living basically on bread and sugar my whole life (35). Second because I started cooking for myself and being single I might have stored too many vegetables for too much time which may have caused me to ingest a huge quantity of two week old bell pepper. We’ll see if examens show bacteria. The problem is, it’s been two months already and no matter what I do the symptons are always the same. I’m tired.

    1. Maybe you should go back to your old diet. Your body probably doesn’t create enough enzymes to break down the meat and is compensating by ramping up acid production (because acid activates the enzymes).

      Another choice would be a gradual diet change and take some of the supplements suggested here. Have you tried papain?

      Also–trust me–you are tired because you are a sugar burner. You are not doing yourself any favors depriving your body of food (glucose). Nobody goes from sugar burner to fat burner overnight. Eat whatever healthy starches you can handle and introduce the novel foods more slowly.

    2. You could probably use some “digestive support”. I must admit to being rather sceptical of this – but I’ve found that I was wrong! Digestive support works exceedingly well for me.

      Mark mentioned the Now Food Super Enzymes (that Robb Wolf likes) at the end of the post. Take one with a meal. If you get a warming sensation, you’re done! Stop (try something else!).

      If not, keep taking one per meal for a three days. Then take two per meal. Keep that up until either you feel warmth (in which case, drop back to the number below that, where you felt no warmth) or you hit a maximum of five tabs (note that’s Robb’s recommendation – Chris Kresser works on a much larger dose of pure HCL/Pepsin being okay – I personally take that much larger dose of HCL/Pepsin (look for Thorne’s products) and find it helps more and more…)

  103. OMG! I had never had acid reflux or heart burn until I was pregnant with our 3rd child. After that, each year got progressively worse. I discovered ACV after doing research because I was sure as he** not going to be on Zantac for the next 50 years. It definitely worked, but I wasn’t satisfied and kept digging. In the meantime, I went primal. Two months after going primal, I realized I had not had an episode of heartburn the entire time. Now, like Belinda, I only get heartburn if I over indulge in chocolate…cutting back on dark chocolate, I can live with…a lifetime on scary drugs, I cannot.

  104. My MIL suffered with a hiatal hernia for years. She started reading about herbal remedies and discovered fresh cabbage juice. She couldn’t stand the smell and taste but it DID work. I have no idea why she stopped doing it. After taking the purple pills, she experienced damage from the medication which scarred her esophagus more. She ended up going through a horrific surgery and having to use a feeding tube while it healed. It took a few years. I think she is fine now. Though she didn’t treat the root cause. There’s always something wrong and it’s always complicated. It’s just not the esophagus now. Poor dear.
    I have suggested natural remedies many times. She could even go to Dr. Mercola because we are in the Chicago area. I think her faith is in conventional medicine.

    1. Raw cabbage is a potential goitrogen, and I wouldn’t go to Mercola if my life depended on it. And it probably would–the man is an utter quack.

  105. If diet changes dont work – get tested for H. Pylori – my wife suffered for years and was finally diagnosed with H. Pylori – a short time on antibiotics cured it – she took kefir for a couple of weeks afterwards to rebuild her probiotics. she has been good for 3 months now – and can eat pretty much anything.

  106. I had daily heartburn from age 12 until about age 27. Tums for a long time, then added a Zantac 75 habit, with Tums to back it up. It was just getting worse.

    In the summer of 1998 I tried The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet. Only lasted 3 months on it, but one thing happened that greatly improved my life: no heartburn. And I’ve never had it since, even when I went back to a high-carb diet and continued to gain much weight. I have literally not had — nor needed — a single antacid of any kind since 1998.

  107. I also had GERD and each year it got worse. It seem to occur more when I ate fatty foods, so in my mind I connected the two. I cut out grains and no more GERD or upset stomach, no matter how much fat I eat!!

  108. I’m on my twelfth day of primal eating and my heartburn is the worst it’s been in quite some time, occurring several times every day. I’m eating no grains, no dairy, no alcohol, but coffee daily. I’m not overweight, I don’t smoke, and I don’t use hormonal birth control. The daily coffee isn’t new and is usually two cups or less. Aside from the heartburn, I’m thrilled to be eating this way and I already see some physical benefits. I can’t pinpoint what’s causing this, so I hope it goes away as the weeks go by and my body adjusts to this different way of eating.

  109. I used to have heartburn so bad that I carried a full-size bottle of Tums with me everywhere. Tums in my purse, my cubicle, my car, next to the bed….I couldn’t make it more than a couple hours without popping an antacid. I had it for years, and it had become a constant part of my life. This past July, after just a couple weeks of changing my diet, I realized I hadn’t had any Tums in a while. It’s just gone. I’ve only had it twice since then, and those were both days that I took ibuprofen for pain from sinus pressure.

  110. Hey Mark- Great article.

    Ironic I was reading it while waiting for my doc to re-diagnose a stomach ulcer caused by NSAIDs from before and after recent major knee surgery. So while I’m not excited about the acid reduction meds, they do help out with the damage the NSAIDs do to me. And the NSAIDs have a huge impact on knee pain and swelling so I need to take them.

  111. 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.

  112. 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.

  113. 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

  114. 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.

  115. 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.

  116. 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!!

  117. 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.

  118. I started low carb and high fiber diet last year. My chronic GERD disappeared.

  119. 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.

  120. 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!

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

    1. 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.

  123. 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.

  124. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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

  125. 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!

  126. 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

  127. 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).

  128. My experience with probiotics is that they are a massive waste of money. Raw dairy and meat FTW

    1. 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).

  129. 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.

  130. 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.

  131. 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!

    1. 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.

  132. 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 …..

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. 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.

  136. 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?

    1. 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.

  137. 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.

  138. 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!

  139. 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.

  140. 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.

  141. A heaping teaspoon of sugar usually knocks heartburn down instantly!!

  142. 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.

  143. 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.

  144. 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.

  145. the gluten in wheat and other grains was causing my GERD. now that I stay away from gluten the GERD is gone!

  146. 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 🙁

  147. 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 🙂

  148. 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,….

  149. I did not realized this until I read this article but I have had no signs of heartburn since I started. I love this lifestyle.

  150. Eliminating wheat eliminated the heartburn that I had been suffering from for 10 years (I’m 33). Eliminating coffee also helps – I can only drink it once in a while. Thankfully, I can still drink alcohol, and as long I don’t over-indulge, I’m fine.

  151. I have been suffering from GERD since mid of 2008 and have been taking 2 oeprazoles since Jan of 2009. I would like to try primal diet. Do i need to get “The Primal Blueprint” book only or would I also need “The Primal Cook Book”. Thanks.

  152. Old trick that works if you can stomach it.

    Take 1 cap full of white vinegar. You don’t need a lot sometimes half a cap full. In 5 minutes you will be without any discomfort. Yes, vinegar tastes gross but the trick is to swallow it and keep your mouth closed, press your tongue to the roof of you mouth and exhale out your nose. Continue breathing through your nose of the next 30-60 seconds. Don’t knock it till you try it

    1. Hahahahahah, there are people on this thread swearing you need organic apple cider vinegar “with the mother” (nasty!) and here you are blithely asserting that distilled low molar acetic acid will do the trick.

      Look out, the Braggs people will be coming for you… how dare you suggest the same benefits from (gasp) laundry vinegar.

      I will, for my part, recommend apple cider vinegar because it tastes great!

    2. Sorry, I’m going to knock it. There’s no research to support what you wrote. The entire medical profession is not that stupid. Plus undiluted vinegar is bad for your esophagus…

  153. Mark, Thank you for writing on this topic. Would you have any additional suggestions on infants/kids born with acid reflux – He is almost a toddler now so eats solid foods.

  154. I had GERD for two years, but one week after I started eating paleo, it went away and I haven’t had any symptoms since!

  155. My wife was suffering 24/7 from acid reflux. But since we cut out all grains,dairy and processed foods she has not had acid reflux. It’s been over a year now reflux free. Boy does she luv me for making her eat healthy.

  156. I don’t know the whys or hows, but I suffered from acid reflux since I was in my early teens (I’ll be 30 this year). Now, after eating primal for a month (not really exercising like I should yet), I dropped ten lbs and my reflux disappeared!

  157. I have a hiatal hernia and was on Prilosec for 4 years until I went on Atkins. I have not had heartburn in the past year. My constant flatulence also went away. Thanks for the theory on why it worked.

  158. Whatever you do for your GERD do not get a Nissen Fundoplication surgery for it. You will regret it for the rest of your life!

  159. My chronic heartburn was scary. Three doctors, including a specialist, immediately gave me free samples of OTC antacids, without doing a single test. I had read that GERD might be a result of LOW stomach acid, not HIGH stomach acid . . . the symptoms are the same. I took betaine hydrochloride from Country Life (relatively inexpensive) for a few months, and cured my GERD by doing only this, and it has never returned.

  160. I went through a period of GERD about the time I started primal earlier this year. Went through the standard OTC drugs to no avail. A continuous burning was my symptom for over two months. Finally I broke through with this system:

    1) Using raw honey to control immediate symptoms, particularly esophageal burning

    2) Using process of elimination of food products over several weeks to determine if there were exacerbating factor in food selection

    Turns out it was cheap coffee. Coffee with lots of fillers or cheap beans tends to be more acidic. When I cut the cheap coffee, symptoms went away

  161. I was on Prilosec for years for GERD until I stuck to a low carb diet and lost 30 lbs. I stopped having symptoms, so I stopped the pills and have been fine since, except for an occasional Tums.

  162. Had terrable gurd for years, read a
    mixture of one cup of apple cider v
    one cup of honey and eight cloves of
    garlic blend let set in refrig five
    days take one tablespoon in the evening
    it is gone completely never felt so good

  163. My gastro doc had me on Aciphex since 2006 for hiatal hernia and GERD. Last October, I gave up wheat and dairy. All of a sudden symptoms got worse. Fortunately Because I was seeing a nutritionist, he had my doc check me for low stomach acid, and after an endoscopy, it was confirmed. I was supposed to be weaned off the aciphex, but he took me off it pretty much cold turkey and I developed the worse heartburn I’ve ever had! I started taking the HcL before meals and it usually works, sometimes I think I don’t eat enough protein for the dose I’m taking. My nutritionist is ignoring my emails for some reason, but I’m struggling on my own, reading everything I can get my hands on, and trying to get through this until my body figures out what’s normal. I just discovered this website, and thank goodness I have a place to go where people don’t think I’m crazy. Oh, and by the way, I’m so done with doctors!

  164. MArk, I’m sure you have a relevant sample size at this point, but add me to the list of people’s whose terrible GI problems went away once they went Primal. I ma a changed man. Thank you!!

  165. My bout with GERD included a few trips to the ER; lasting two to four hours a pop. The remedy: The dreaded “GI Cocktail”. All I know it was a chalky, green, slimy, thick liquid that arrested the pain and burning almost immediately. I was diagnosed with GERD while serving in the Army.

    After a few episodes, the Army Docs prescribed the *purple pill* twice a day; and later recommended surgery. Other symptoms were bad breath, peeling skin, and bad dandruff.

    My diet definitely *high carb* and included Raisin Nut Bran, Cheerios, oatmeal. I later switched to the Atkins Diet on the suggestion of a friend. The symptoms went away and I got off the meds. Now I’ve adopted Paleo living. Life is good…

  166. Has anyone heard of GERD that started when going low carb and giving up grains? I wasn’t having any problems until I changed my diet. Any ideas on why this is happening? Eating more carbs actually makes me feel better, but I would like to maintain a low carb lifestyle.

    1. Yes, that happened to me when I went LC paleo. I added back “safe starches” a la Perfect Health Diet and things improved. It corrected some other problems I developed after going LC too. Seems some people might need moderate carb to fuction and feel better.

  167. after 10 years!!! One cup apple cidar
    vinager, one cup honey, eight cloves
    garlic, blend for a few minutes, put in a glass bottle in the frig. Let set five days!
    then one tablespoon everday!!! been
    doing this for three years. Thank God

  168. There are a huge number of comments on this thread that are making the case for one cause or another being “THE Cure”.

    From that evidence alone there isn’t just one cure for everyone. Each person may have a different set of causes (though it seems likely there is a huge common set!).

    Also, there may be many factors in why a person has GERD (or GORD!) and changing any one of the factors may relieve the symptoms but leave some of the underlying problems un-addressed.

    In other words, if you need to fix this, don’t dismiss anything until you’ve tried it, and preferably try all you can at once (change in diet, change in eating behaviour etc.) since sometimes you need to get several things in order before a problem resolves. In other words, if it doesn’t resolve with some changes, I’d always consider going full-on, all-out Paleo for a month+ before trying anything else (cut out grains, legumes, dairy, nuts, seeds, nightshades, get good sleep in a dark room and proper high intensity exercise!).

    Oh – and although it’s been mentioned above – this is the starting page to Chris Kresser’s excellent series of articles on GERD:

    http://chriskresser.com/heartburn

  169. Hey Mark,

    I was psyched to see you recommend bitters. I tried everything for my GERD. Diet didn’t do it, low carb, very low carb, no veggies, you name it. No obvious food allergies, either. I have IBS, too, so I know it was part of the issue. I finally ended up taking a HANDFUL of HCl capsules (as in 10) per meal, and that helped. What finally did the trick was BITTERS. Amazing! All I need is the slightest bit, 1/2 teaspoon, and then a few HCl, and I’m great. Also, black tea (decaf) seems to function like the bitters. It helps, too. But bitters, that’s the ticket!!

  170. I was diagnosed with Chronic Acid Reflux four years ago and took medicine for 2 years on and off then did research that sowed the medicine can cause ulcers and tear my stomach lining up, then doctors telling me if I dont take medicine, the acid will tear my stomach lining or cause ulcers/cancer. Ive felt completely stuck for a long time. I first gave up meat my freshman year of college and felt like that helped so ive kept that up (now i cant seem to go back to eating meat), then i tried glutten/dairy free and now im mostly grain free but have a hard time giving up tortilla chips since I feel like my diet is always what im not eating rather than what I get to actually eat. Im trying to go primal but just get really discouraged (and primal is expensive for a college student). Still scared about not taking medicine but scared to take medicine. Hoping to be truly Primal starting now.

  171. Thank u for this informative article.my story? I had horrible heartburn and took ranitidine when it got real bad. Within 2 days of the paleo diet I was cured completely!!!

  172. Apple cider vinegar causes instant, terrifying throat constriction for me, but red delicious apples and raw honey have worked wonders with my GERD as well as allowing me to eliminate the expensive and not-very-effective medications.

  173. Try raising the head of your bed up 4 inches…..my mom swears by it (and she eats low/no carb – no meds….)

    1. I don’t have GERD, but I agree that elevating the head is generally a good practice, I don’t wake up with puffiness any more since I started doing it. Just make sure you don’t do it to an extent that your neck is at an uncomfortable angle because it could cause spine problems. Just a bit!

  174. Someone tell me what you think about this. I had suffered from GERD for a few years and had been taking Prilosec. I ran accross the Paleo through crossfit and begin the diet, but I was still on my medicine. I was just doing it for the general health benefits. I ran out of my medicine and noticed that I wasn’t experiencing Acid Reflux. BUT HERE IS THE KICKER. I stayed on the Paleo for about 8 months and then was at a camp where I just couldn’t manage paleo and ate pretty bad for about 3 months, yet never got Acid reflux, and then one day it just started happening again. It was like I built up a tolerance for a while, and then after eating poorly again (mostly grains) for 3 months, I was right back where I started.

    Now I am trying to do paleo again but I have NO TOLERANCE. As soon as I eat anything the least bit iffy, I get Acid Reflux. This is the first article I have read where I felt like someone somewhat understood my probelm

  175. I take Betaine HCL (hydrochoric acid aka stomach acid) for my LOW stomach acid problem so that I can digest protein more efficiently. My nails and hair have never been better!

  176. I read this with interest as I have just recently been diagnosed with reflux and Barret’s esophagus which is the pre-cancerous condition where some of the cells in the esophagus have changed to resemble intestinal cells. An endoscopy was done and samples taken to analyze the cells. So now I am taking the Prilosec generic daily along with a Pepcid generic twice daily for the last 3 months

    I am a 58 year old male, smoked for 40 years and drank a good deal of Makers Mark bourbon nightly for at least the last 20. It sounds bad but I have always kept in very good shape, weight good and lots of exercise and sports like windsurfing and Telemark skiing, I look 40. But I was starting to feel a little run down. Anyway I am done with smoking for good now and also swapped the bourbon for 2-3 beers nightly back in January. My body fat is 18% right now, I just started doing the body weight routine the last few weeks and have built up a lot of muscle already, look great and feel like I’m in my 30s again.

    The weird thing is I never had any notable heartburn. I hardly ever touched an antacid although I may have had excess gas pressure. What sent me to the doctor was a persistent low grade sore/funny feeling throat after I quit smoking in April this year and an increasing tendency to choke while eating or drinking. The medications don’t seem to have any adverse effect on me but I hate taking pills every day and hope to quit them at some point. When I wake up in the morning I still get the sense that somethings been irritating my throat, it feels slightly inflamed.

    Anyway, I have just started easing into the primal eating style the last week and we’ll see how it goes. The thing is my main diet has been well marbled ribeyes, NY strips, spareribs and pork chops for many years, I thought I was being a bad boy. I will miss the BLTs and pizzas.

  177. I’m another one who suffered frequently from acid reflux before going low-carb. I haven’t had it a single time for five months now, not even after a lot of food or alcohol.

  178. I have sufferered from GERD for 10 years now. Prevacid, Zantac, Prilosec, zegarid… And none have helped. My doctor recommended that I take probiotics. For whatever reason, when I took the probiotics, my stomach would get even worse. Is this unusual? I’m about to give apple cider vinegar another try as well. I hate GERD and I really am not a fan of medicine.

  179. Does anyone have any tips for silent reflux… I have just been diagnosed. I gave up grains a year ago and never knowingly eat them. My symptoms are a horrid dry tickly cough and occasional wheezing in my chest. No heart burn. My ENT wants me to take proton inhibitors but I really want a natural alternative.

  180. Im 23, lift weights stay in shape etc. But as of late get terrible daily acid reflux. Going to try this, i will keep anyone reading this informed. Lets kick gerds ass.

  181. I’m really stumped here. Been gluten free for nearly a decade, due to intolerance/celiac, and Paleo for the last year. In the middle of doing both a Paleo challenge AND starting the Candida diet and I’ve got acid reflux that’s as bad as when I was suffering from wheat consumption. Every little thing I eat, even though I’m low carbing right now, gives me the “churn and burn.” This is day two of taking Zantac to alleviate symptoms but even that isn’t enough to provide total comfort/normalcy. Anyone have suggestions? I’m dying here!

  182. I have pain in my lower right side been told I have IBS and later Gerd. But I am trying to take some source naturals Daily Essentials Enzymes and Citrucel for consipation. I only have one thyroid left and take Amour Thyroid 90 MG and Rampril 2.5 MG for high blood pressure. I am 56 yrs old and also am type 2 border line. Can you please help me with some advice? Tried of sleep nights.

  183. Used to suffer terrible GERD attacks including hospitalisation a couple of times. I now follow these principles:

    1. Ceased coffee 2. Reduced carbs 3. Reduced sugar.

    No longer require PPI’s due to the above, but keep somac 20mg around in case.

    If I get tempted and have a coffee and later get an attack, at the first sign of symptoms:

    I take a somac and go for a brisk 10-15min walk.

    The walking stimulates digestion and encourages burping which reduces the terrible pressure.

    This has made an enormous difference in my life, not to have frequent pain and not to take medication daily.

  184. This sentence in Mark’s blog make a whole lot of sense:

    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.

    I have been suffering with GERD for most of my adult life. Putting me on Prevacid for 10+ years just gave me license to continue a lifestyle where my stomach just never got better – but I couldn’t feel it. That is until the meds stopped working.

    For the past 18 months, I have been on a journey of exploration about eating, digestion and “cures”. Finally, I think I may have hit on something. I stopped glutenous grains and most dairy. But more importantly, I have started taking l-glutamine to help heal my stomach. If you don’t heal your stomach, it’s like continually burning something that is already burned. Think about how your finger would feel if you just kept putting a match to the same place several times a day. It would NEVER heal.

    So, in addition to minding your diet, I believe that healing your stomach environment is crucial to getting well.

  185. I was just diagnosed with acid reflux. I suffered an array of health issues, but the most common was that I would have mucus all day long and then have my nose stuff up at night, waking me up repeatedly — no fun. After I was diagnosed, my doctor presribed me omeprazole. After 3-4 days, it seemed to work, but on days 5 and 6, I felt so tired I had to lay down all afternoon, and also had mild diarrhea. After reading about the long-term effects of omeprazole online and how hard it is to quit, I stopped. The first advice I looked at on-line also said no fatty foods, so I cut out high fat foods and quit coffee in 4 days… Over the past week, I actually put on weight (i’ve always been thin) eating lots of rice and veggies, probiotic foods, and just fish and poultry for meat. The thing is, I read about the zone diet in high school, which is basically high fruit and veggies, and lots of protein and healthy fats. Thus even while suffering badly from acid reflux, I would rotate between steak, salmon, pork, and chicken, and eggs for breakfast, usually with salad and fruit as a side. However, I’ve never tried a truly low-carb diet, but after reading this message board, I’ll give it a go, along with the HCL, and post the results.

  186. I’m envious of those who cured their symptoms by just “going primal” or taking betaine HCL. Betaine HCL did nothing for me, and there are definitely people who are skeptical of its use for that purpose. I’ve been limiting all carbs and following a pretty tight specific-carb diet — no grains or dairy — but three weeks in I’m basically no better off than before. I’m definitely jealous of all those posters “completely healed in two days” of going primal. Also a tad skeptical.

    Eating fish for dinner at 5pm, tilting my bed, and taking a load of Gaviscon at 11:30 when I sleep are seemingly the only thing that helps…

  187. With blogs like this around I don’t even need website anymore.
    I can just visit here and see all the latest happenings in the world.

  188. if 300 grams of carbs a day are in the danger zone why do daily guidelines say a man can have 2500 kcal a day of which 180 grams from complex carbs and 120 from sugar carbs which equals 300 recommended by health professional’s? these guidelines are imprinted on the back of food packaging.

    i myself have 180 grams of complex carbs daily, 30 grams from oats, 2 x 35 gram portions of potatoes, and the rest from wheat if i take my ppi’s i can manage, if i excess even by 10 grams complex carbs i get dry mouth, breathing difficulty and cold shivers with acid refluxing into lungs, i can only do this diet as it is for example if i switched the 30 grams ready brek oats to weetabix it would increase acid refluxing by 100% if i had 180 grams of just wheat i would be vomiting acid. what is going on? anybody understand any of this? oats are also a grain by swapping for a portion of wheat it reduces acid slightly? but dont get confused it’s only fine ground oats i can digest ie ready brek, whole oats is like eating a 3ft cardboard box and messes my digestive system up.

    i get about 50 to 60 grams from, milk, a sugary treat ie a triffle pot or small chocolate roll bar type thing and the rest from unavoidable sugars that come with complex carbs taking my carb total to 240 daily, is this bad? i cant reduce carbs and increase fat and protein because i’m at digestive limits also if i increase protein and fat further i break out in bad acne, i’m stuck. ive already lost half a stone this week because of acid refluxing from slightly over eating grain and appetite loss, if i cut anymore carbs i will be underweight, any ideas? anybody?

    1. Consider this, is it possible that what you think you think is a correct way to eat is no longer correct? I had a similar problem to you. My was bad enough I wanted to do anything to fix it. I cut out all wheat, grains, and dairy. I also only eat about 70 grams of carbs per day. Acid reflux is gone and I am way more healthy. Through that process I read a ton and went to a non-standard nutrition school to get the correct info. It sounds like your stomach lining is compromised like in leaky gut. Cutting out wheat, milk and other grains for a while should help your stomach heal. It should also help the acne. Also, cut out the treats for a while while your stomach heals.

      1. thanks for the reply erik, your most likely right, my symptoms sound like they are gastritis symptoms. probably down to excessive carb intake.

        back in the prophets era 2 to 3 thousand yrs ago it was customary for people to eat twice a day as is still practised in the middle east today however me personally i have a high metabolism and even with a sedentary lifestyle at 2000kcal daily i bearly make the healthy range on the bmi ie skinny.

        although grains bread were mentioned in the bible and q’uran the grains were not processed as grains today are processed also back then they didn’t binge on grains they ate straight after they baked “i think”, today with preservation of bread, (refined wheat even whole grains are said to be processed differently compared to how grains were cultivated thousands of yrs ago!) with easy convenience and availability people opt for sandwiches at work rather than take in a paelo meal in a lunch box, maybe there should be more shops available for gluten intolerance sufferers and for people who wish to eat similar to paelo because carbs in general are causing gerds.

        i don’t believe in eliminating completely only rationing but maybe i have an allergy to gluten so maybe i should eliminate wheat.

        one thing i don’t understand is paelo diet advises carbs not from starch but instead from vegetables which is odd because vegetables are low gi meaning slow digestion equals gas equals acid reflux? care to comment on this last part?

  189. I found out that the burning sensation (no reflux ) I had for more than 3 years was heartburn last month, my md prescribed nexxium…I did not take the rx….I am primal for 1 year 80% (no Milk,no SUGAR, no grain) i take ACV with mother and started aloe vera gel, every day….but it does not get better. I have the heartburn every day, and yesterday my md told me that if i was not going to take the nexxium, she did not want to talk about it (heartburn) anymore!
    I am afraid of the pill but don’t know what i should do??

  190. Anyone know whether the following is a GERD symptom?

    Esophagus will occasionally become constricted, preventing even water from going down.

    My m-in-law who eats terribly SAD has always been in and out of GI doc’s office having her esophagus stretched. Now my husband is afraid his esophagus is starting to do the same (although we eat fairly Perfect Health Diet). He had a scary episode a few weeks ago. Couldn’t swallow & felt like he was having a heart attack.

    I’m having him take probiotics, and GI-capsules, plus eat fermented vegetables, etc. But he is considering having the stretching procedure done.

    1. Hi, I tried omeprazole and lansoprazole both of which didn’t work for me. Esomeprazole ( nexium) has worked and healed my stomach and oesophagus. As for referral time, are you in the UK? I know that here you have to be seen within 18 weeks, no comfort when you are in pain, I know, but my waiting time for gastroscopy was about 3 weeks. Hopefully yours will be the same. Also have you tried elevating the head of your bed, plus I take Gaviscon Advance (10ml) after every meal. You can get it on prescription here

  191. Hi Mark (or anyone else who wants to answer my question) I’m curious as to why you recommend bitters? I was under the impression bitters was just an alcohol (like in lemon lime & bitters)? What effect does it have, and how should one consume it if not in LLB? Just in water or?

    I’m also curious as to whether progesterone would have an effect as well as estrogen? Two weeks ago I had a Mirena (hormonal IUD) inserted which is progesterone-only.

    I’ve been wracked with coughing fits for the past week, which start any time I take a deep breath (which tends to be often, as a singer and voice coach). Went to the doctor last week and he said it was too early to tell as it could have been a developing cold or flu or something muscular, because it wasn’t bothering me at all at night when laying down. But last night it definitely started messing with my sleep and I had a coughing fit at 2am and felt like I was about to puke and had to have a couple pieces of toast because I felt like I needed something really bland and basic to calm my stomach down. Bleh.

  192. Hey guys! Hoping someone can share some insight or advice. Around last July on a long car ride down to a vacation spot I started to feel dizzy and nauseous. That whole week I had those symptoms as well as strange things such as tingling and numbness in my right arm, chest pain, etc. ran to ER they couldn’t really see anything wrong, came home and after a few more ER/DR visits later I was put on pills for super high blood pressure. Thinking that was the end of it. Well after that I started to get my glands / throat swelling up or least it felt like they were swelling up. I thought maybe a tooth issue, so after ruling that out I went to a ENT (Ear Nose Throat) DR. and she diagnosed me with LPR (Reflux). Now I’ve read other peoples stories and I never get “burning” or heartburn or even upset stomach. I was just getting the throat swelling feeling and a slightly nauseous blah feeling. Now just recently I ate a spicy dish of pasta and did get a burning that lasted days, not a typical heartburn burning feel but almost like a menthol cigarette burn if that makes sense. I also noticed the back of my tounge on the top was maybe “burnt”. Has since gone away but I’m wondering if anyone else has been diagnosed with LPR? I’ve been on Omeprazole (40MG) for a few months now can’t really tell if it works or not. I try my best to stay away from tomato based foods or spicy but seems just by eating 1 spicy dish (in one case 1 spicy noodle) and BOOM I’d get that burning. Has anyone ever gotten other weird symptoms with reflux like myself? As of now I get very odd things like it feels like the back of my neck hurts or has pressure, if I eat semi bad for days in a row I get a blah feeling that’s hard to describe but its enough to where you wouldn’t really go out. And I’ve had tons of tests on head, spine, etc. (not stomach yet, but I did one in 2011 and all was clear). Blood work multiple times, I’m 99% sure its reflux just haven’t seen anyone else mention the symptoms I have. I’ve yet to go to a GI DR. or have a scope down my throat yet, guess that’s next.

  193. I have been suffering for years with Gerd nothing seems to work i have done everything that has been mentioned .I am now in a situation going through tests i have been unable to tolerate solid foods even oatmeal or pudding for 26 days now it just sits right under my sternum and causes spasms.my scope showed slight narrowing it was stretched and biopsies were negative just showed constant reflux .My modified swallow was of course inconclusive they were only able to get through oatmeal it causes so much pain to eat they just kept asking was a doctor helping with this pain i said no they told me to take tylenol of course because of all the abuse this is what everyday people have to go through .They did say its like my food just sets at the bottom of the esophagus then eventually goes down and comes back up with bubbles .I have seen a Gastro doctor which was horrid he told me he thinks this is stress induced because at this point there is no medical knowledge why i am unable to eat .He did however after a struggle order a mobility test of the esophagus and tell me no worries i can live on fluid forever .I feel so lost my regular doctor left the practice .I did have a recent death in my family so i don’t know i just feel the doctor immediately jumped on that for reasoning but i know my body and feel something is wrong .Still with the fluids ,my protein shakes i suffer daily with Gerd and i am miserable to say the least hoping to get help at some point .

  194. I used to take Pepcid AC two or three times a week. I would mainly get acid reflux when drinking gin and tonics. Eventually I lost my taste for tonic and I also started taking probiotics and digestive enzymes. Now I get heartburn or acid reflux about 2 or 3 times a year, at most. It only happens when I get out of the habit of taking probiotics.

  195. It’s interesting that you mention hormones playing a part when it comes to GERD.

    In my first pregnancy I had hyperemesis gravidarum (vomiting around the clock).
    Whilst bed bound and google symptom checking I noticed alot of my symptoms tied in with GERD.
    -Waterbrash (excess saliva I had to spit in cup)
    -Dry wretching
    -Nausea
    -Trapped Air
    -Regurgitating bile
    All of this occurred on week 5 of pregnancy so I doubt it was due to pressure due to the growing baby and more to do with hormones. As soon as I gave birth everything went back to normal.
    Hyperemesis Gravidarum like GERD is also a scientific mystery and continually linked to h. Pylori bacteria in the gut.
    Could Hypermesis Gravidarum be an extreme form of GERD?
    Could the remedies suggested here benefit a HG sufferer? I and so many other women can only hope for a cure for Hypermesis Gravidarum.
    I’d suggest if you have GERD to go go 5o the doctors and checking that your hormones are in balance.

  196. Hi Mark,

    I found this article really interesting, but it didn’t address the topic I was initially researching, namely infant GERD and silent reflux. My 10 week old baby seems to have the symptoms of silent reflux and he is breastfed only. I tried an all natural gripe water with ginger and fennel which seemed to help, but after a week he developed a rash on his face each time I gave it to him, so I had to stop. Any thoughts? Recommendations? I’d be very grateful! (And so would my baby!)

  197. Not sure if anyone will see a post on a very old article, but the community here is incredibly knowledge and I thought I would try. I have had extreme GERD for 9 months now and was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis and low-grade gastoparesis. Have been eating Paleo + rice for over 7 years, so all I could really think to do for diet adjustment was to cut coffee and nightshades. Have been doing HCL with ACV for 1 month now and although I can pass a bowel movement now finally, it’s mostly undigested food. I took 3 allergy tests and came back off the charts allergic to all of the main 6 allergens. That seems totally crazy but I cut out eggs and nuts from my strict Paleo diet too. Does anyone know of any other tips to try, or whether a person can be stealth-allergic to coconut or avocado? I eat a ton of both and feel no instant issues but am questioning whether to pursue an autoimmute diet. Thanks for any advice!

  198. I have never had this problem until I went off all grains a few months ago, and now I notice I get a burning sensation in my stomach often after I eat. What’s up with that? I’m grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, red-meat free, and processed food free, so I don’t really know what the deal is.

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