Managing Stomach Acid? This Is For You

Managing Stomach Acid: This Is For You

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food,” sayeth the great old Hippocrates. And while I couldn’t agree more, what if that food is not being digested properly? Or if the healing foods are giving you so much acid reflux that you feel like you are just biding your time until esophageal cancer strikes?

I ordered this book, Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux & GERD, because I can’t believe how many people I know – friends and family, young and old – who are taking daily antacids or acid-blocker medication due to mild or very serious acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). I wanted to know if there was an alternative to the party line being pumped out by pharmaceutical companies and well-meaning doctors alike.

What a surprise: there is! And not only that, but the remedy for acid reflux is – wait for it – THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what every single doctor or advertisement is telling you to do.

Obviously this is contrarian advice, and that is why I am drawn to it. But if I was suffering from this condition, I would not wait another minute before reading this book. This is the real “second opinion” that you need to get for yourself and your best health.

The cause of acid reflux, where stomach acid leaks up through the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and burns the delicate lining of the esophagus, is not an overabundance of stomach acid. Instead it is an underperforming LES due to low stomach acid. When the stomach acid is too low, it lets the LES be lazy – which allows leaks. When stomach acid is high, the LES must be on guard and stay strong and tight, because it knows its job is to protect the esophagus from acid. If it doesn’t detect much acid, it doesn’t bother doing its job. Chronic low stomach acid leads to a very lazy underperforming LES. This can be remedied by increasing the acidity of the stomach acid through time-tested methods like ingesting bitters before meals, or with stronger medical interventions like capsules of hydrochloric acid.

Now before you start mowing down on hydrochloric acid, maybe you should take this book to a doctor or some kind of healer. Let’s not get all your information from an untrained but enthusiastic hobbyist from the internet, please.

Also, some conditions are herniated – which means the LES is not located right in the diaphragm where it should be, but has been squeezed up above where it cannot benefit from the muscles of the diaphragm to help keep it closed. These conditions probably need surgery to fix, or else can remedy on their own by losing a tremendous amount of weight. (This is what happens in pregnancy – the LES is squeezed above the diaphragm and then acts leaky until the baby is delivered and the LES has room again to gravitate back to the diaphragm. Most cases of pregnancy reflux completely disappear the minute the baby is born.)

What is so interesting is that the conventional medical response to reflux is to prescribe antacids to lower stomach acidity or acid-blockers to block acid production completely.

Creating a low-acid environment in the stomach is going to lead to a lazy LES, which will not solve the problem of acid getting into the esophagus. All it will do is neutralize the digestive juices. Which means you will not be able to properly digest food. And that just doesn’t make a lot of sense. The stomach acid is there for a reason; it’s not just some bothersome pool of corrosive liquid that you are meant to destroy.

If you remove your ability to properly digest food, and all its enzymes, vitamins, minerals, macro- and micro-nutrients, what are you left with?

A low level of health.

If this is all news to you, and you want to read more about it, please check out Chris Kessler’s great five-part series online: What Everybody Ought To Know (But Doesn’t) About Heartburn and GERD. You can thank me later.

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3 thoughts on “Managing Stomach Acid? This Is For You

  1. Amy Brown says:

    I’m keen to try some bitters. I have kale and dandelion leaves daily, but I imagine myself sipping from a tiny bottle before meals. Any suggestions?

    • I noticed a spray bottle at Whole Foods called Urban Moonshine Citrus Organic bitters that I thought I might try. Technically, aperitifs like vermouth, pastis, calvados, ouzo and even champagne are considered bitters meant to be imbibed before a meal to stimulate digestion. However the most famous choice is Angostura Bitters. You need to really feel the puckering sensation in your mouth in order to benefit, so just taking a capsule of bitter ingredients that bypasses the mouth won’t work.

  2. What’s up, just wanted to say, I loved this article.
    It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

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