Reflux - When not enough acid is the problem.
Acid reflux is a common and uncomfortable condition that many people experience today. Most people believe that acid reflux is caused by excess stomach acid and this belief is reflected by the widespread availability of Antacid medications to treat symptoms. What most people don’t realise is that acid reflux is more often a LOW stomach acid problem.
While antacids can work to suppress symptoms in the short-term, in the long-term they also make digestive health worse and lead to deficiencies in important nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, zinc and folate. Increasing stomach acid and improving digestion is often a more effective solution, which resolves symptoms in the short-term and improves overall health long-term.
How can Low Acid Cause Acid Symptoms?
The idea that low stomach acid leads to acid reflux symptoms can seem confusing at first. Let me explain how it works. When we have low levels of stomach acid our food is not broken down properly and as a result starts to ferment in the gut. This process of fermentation produces acidic substances and gas. While the bottom of the esophagus (the sphincter) usually remains tightly closed to stop stomach acids from splashing upwards and irritating the delicate mucous membrane, a build up of gas in the stomach can place pressure on the sphincter and cause it to open. This allows stomach acid and acids from fermentation to escape into the esophagus, causing burning, irritation and discomfort. This process explains why many people with acid reflux find supporting digestion and improving stomach acid works very well to relieve symptoms.
Please Note: There are many other causes and contributors to acid reflux to consider and seeing a nutritionist or other health professional for a thorough investigation and individualised approach will always be most effective. You should also speak to your doctor before coming off antacid medication.
If you would like to find out more about causes of acid reflux and how to fix your digestive health, please come along to our digestive health workshop "Love your Guts" on the 12th June at 7 pm. We will be talking all things gut and digestion and how to improve your health from the inside out.