If you or a family member are chewing up Tums, popping Pepcid and Zantac, and using antacids and over-the-counter medications, you’re playing with fire.
I’m not telling you to throw them out. I’m not telling you that the pain, indigestion, acid reflux, GERD, bloating, and gas are not real.
What I am saying is there are natural remedies that have been shown to work better than over-the-counter medications for acid reflux, without the risky side effects.
I am going to cover these remedies below, but first, it’s important to know why those over-the-counters are so risky.
Why Antacids Taken Long-Term Are Bad For You
Another popular over-the-counter remedy is Alka-Seltzer. My father used to take that often.
This introduces too much calcium into your system and can create a whole host of problems, including:
- Calcium buildup in your arteries
- Mental status changes
- Increased risk of developing kidney stones
The main problem with Tums, Alka-Seltzer, and antacid reflux drugs in general, is that they inhibit your body’s ability to produce its own acid.
If you eat a steak or a burger, it’s a protein that has to be broken down. It requires acid to do that. If you take an antacid with it, you are blocking the body’s ability to produce the required acid.
Eating steak with potatoes minimizes the acid because the potatoes actually need more alkaline release inside of your digestive juices.
When we take acid reflux drugs, we are nullifying the acid in our stomach. Our body then has to create more. It tries to balance out again and creates more and more acid, which can give you that burning feeling in your throat.
You have asked the body to crank up and counteract the antacid that you put in. That’s why the long term, these drugs are detrimental. It makes the problem worse over time, as opposed to helping.
Prescription Drugs For Acid Reflux And Stomach Issues
Pepcid and Zantac address ulcers or irritations inside of the gut but say on their websites that they’re not to be taken longer than a couple of weeks.
Trying to help an ulcer for a couple of weeks is fine, but a lot of people take them for years. Long-term use of these has been directly linked to dementia.
Prilosec is another drug for stomach acid that is “recommended” for longer-term use.
However, Prilosec taken long term has been shown to increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease by 128% more than someone who doesn’t take it. The increase in renal failure is almost two times greater.
Tums, Alka-Seltzer, and antacids, are creating problems. H2 receptors (What the antacids stimulate to stop stomach acid production) are creating problems within a couple of weeks and taking Prilosec long-term will put our kidneys at risk.
So what do we do?
5 Natural Solutions for Acid Reflux
Mint is an herb that is good at settling your stomach. It refreshes your mouth and might be helpful for when you have sensitive gas too.
Using mint not only helps soothe the stomach but also helps soothe the mouth all the way down the esophagus. If you experience acid reflux that feels like it’s coming up into your throat, that’s where mint is going to be most beneficial.
It’s very easy to put into tea right after dinner. Carbs and proteins need to be broken down using two different types of acid in your stomach. If you’re consuming both of these at the same time, it’s going to cause digestive stress.
I recommend adding a vegetable to meals that have meat in order to prevent this.
Ginger tea is very effective for indigestion which feels like gurgling. It’s also very good for women to block off nausea during pregnancy.
Like mint tea, ginger tea is great to have right after a meal in order to prevent stomach pain or nausea.
I put together a few recipes of my favorite ways to use ginger tea here.
This one might be the most powerful, and you can have it in plant form or gel form.
There was a study done on aloe vera and Esomeprazole, an anti-ulcer medication.
The participants had the following symptoms:
- GERD like symptoms
- Food regurgitation
- Acid regurgitation up into the throat
Those with the symptoms were assessed for 2-4 weeks.
One group was given an aloe vera mixture in water. The others were given Esomeprazole with water. It was shown that aloe vera reduced the frequency of all of the assessed symptoms with no adverse events, better than Esomeprazole. They used it once and it fixed the problems.
Aloe vera might just be the thing you need to add to your diet for all indigestion.
If you’re not breaking your food down you are asking for digestive distress. There is an enzyme for each form of food, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
So different digestive enzymes are gonna help break your food down from your mouth all the way in.
Now foods like papaya and pineapple contain higher amounts of digestive enzymes, or you can take them in supplement form. Putting those in before you eat or throughout the day, a couple of times is going to start to replenish and repopulate the enzymes needed.
So when foods are introduced to your gut, your body has what it needs to start breaking them apart. So it doesn’t take so much energy and so much indigestion to digest your food.
Your liver is making bile. Your gallbladder is storing it. Because of the fattiness forming around the liver, overconsumption, and too many carbohydrates, our liver is bogged down. We’re not releasing the bile that we need, or it’s slow to get out.
When our liver becomes bogged down, we don’t break down the fats inside our small and large intestines. We have problems with our bowel movements. Plus, food and fat-soluble vitamin are not absorbed properly and our bowel movements are fatty. We have fatty bowel movements and we’re not absorbing our foods, but more importantly, we’re not absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K have to be absorbed with fat, which means fat has to be broken down for you to get those vitamins in.
Shortages of those can start creating skin issues, blood vessel issues, blood flow issues, and immune function issues just from not getting your fat-soluble vitamins. So we wanna make sure we’re breaking down fats, adding in bile salts. Adding in ox bile can help stimulate that.
Decreasing the amount of inflammation inside your gut is going to help repair your liver. For more information on how to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself, check out my free book.