News: Safe, drug-free cures for heartburn

Heartburn + insomnia?

Melatonin is a well-know sleep aid, but it’s especially helpful for women whose heartburn keeps them up, says naturopathic physician Tara Nayak, N.D. “Melatonin has a similar chemical structure to PPIS, so it inhibits the secretion of gastric acid, though in a gentler way.” Plus, it improves the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter, valve above the stomach that keeps acid from splashing into the esophagus. Indeed, a study in BMC Gastroenterology found that taking 3 mg nightly eased heartburn symptoms within four weeks and eliminated the symptoms within eight weeks. As for the sleep benefits? They kick in immediately.

Heartburn + sore throat?

As many as one in three heartburn sufferers also experience sore throats, says Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., author of The New Fat Flush Plan. The reason: Acid washes up into the throat, cruising irritation and inflammation. The remedy she swears by: Siberian pine nut oil. “It helps to heal the tissue damage that gastric acid can do the throat. I’ve never seen anything work so quickly to soothe heartburn pain,” she says. Credit goes to the oils’ pinolenic acid, a fatty acid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Gittleman advise taking 1 tsp 30 minutes before meals for three weeks. “After that, you can switch to a single tea-spoon daily another three weeks.

Heartburn + belching?

It may sound too simple to have such a significant effect, but belly breathing reduces acid levels reaching the esophagus by 48 percent, easing burping and burning by up to 78 percent – even in people for whom PPIS didn’t work, according to studies in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. As Dr. Hyman explains, deep breathing tames stress and strengthens the diaphragm. ”That’s important because the diaphragm supports the lower esophageal sphincter to keep acid from gaining access to the esophagus. “To do: Five minutes a day, take five deep breaths, inhaling through your nose for five seconds, then exhaling through your mouth for five seconds. “This nips symptoms in the bud, especially when performed before mealtimes and whenever stress strikes.

Evidence of the health-sapping effects of heartburn medication continues to mount – but new science reveals the natural remedies that quickly ease symptoms and heal the body

Go to the doctor to complain about heartburn and odds are you’ll be handed an Rx for proton pump inhibitors – PPIS are one of the most widely prescribed drugs. And while they’re certainly effective at blocking the production of stomach acid, they’re also overused: Research shows PPIS are prescribed without a clear reason up to 70 percent of the time. Now doctors are sounding an alarm. “Stomach acid is critical to digestion and absorption of nutrients, so taking the meds for more than six weeks, which many heartburn suffers do, can lead to nutrient malabsorption and intestinal imbalances that trigger bloat, brain fog, blue mood and fatigue, “ says Mark Hyman, M.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Plus long –term use is linked to heart and kidney problems, bone fractures and more. That said, several natural cures work as well as PPIS without side effects – picking one that targets your symptoms can help you feel your best!

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