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The All-Natural Regimen That Has Helped My Reflux Problem

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  • The All-Natural Regimen That Has Helped My Reflux Problem

    Hi All,

    I posted this information in another thread, but at the risk of duplicating, I really hope I can help some other people on this board, so I think it's worthy of its own thread.

    I've had a terrible time for the past 4 months with reflux. I finally went to see a Naturopath. I'm feeling dramatically better. So I want to tell you what I've been doing and you can all give it a try if you want to. I hope it helps you.

    The Naturopath has done acupuncture on me once a week for the past three weeks.

    In addition:
    I chew two DGL Licorice tablets 20 minutes before each meal and at bedtime. (very soothing to digestive tract and supposed to help build up mucous layer)
    Before breakfast and dinner, I drink a tablespoon of black raspberry powder mixed with water. (very good for esophagus, supposedly helps reverse Barrets)
    I take 3 digestive enzymes after each meal. (I take "AbsorbAid")
    After that, I take 1/4 teaspoon of powdered calcium mixed in yogurt or applesauce in a spoon. (powdered Calcium Citrate absorbs faster than a tablet and the idea is that it help close your LES).
    If I feel some heartburn, I open two capsules of digestive enzymes and put them in room temperature water and drink it.
    Just before bedtime, I chew two Gaviscon Extra Strength tablets with water. (do not eat or drink after taking the Gaviscon - it will not work the way it's designed to.)
    I've been doing this for 2-1/2 weeks and MY SYMPTOMS HAVE IMPROVED DRAMATICALLY.
    You can pick all that stuff up at a health food store - except Gaviscon at any drug store.

    And it's all good for you.
    By the way, make sure you're sleeping with your head and upper chest very elevated, so you don't reflux into your throat at night.

    Here's more detail on what each thing does and how I think it's helping me:

    The digestive enzymes made a big difference. After one day of taking them after each meal, my were more substantial and more regular and have continued to be so. Plus, I don't feel bloated after I eat like I had been.

    You know, what's interesting about that is that the GI was ready to do a gastric emptying study. And if he had found that I had slow What was he going to do? Put me on Reglan and give me new side effeccts? Well, the digestive enzymes proved to me that yes, I wasn't digesting well. And that's probably because I don't produce enough of my own the food is sitting there waiting to be digested. There is no down-side from them. What you don't use, you excrete.

    When I had the Heidelberg Capsule test, it showed that I produce low acid. So it makes sense to me that if there is less acid, there re probably less enzymes, too. Either way, I was still refluxing.

    I don't know exactly what the acupuncture is doing. But I do know that when I mentioned to her the other day that I had a pain in my back (due to a bad massage earlier in the week), she put a needle in my left hand specifically to adress that pain in my right lower back. It worked! The pain that had been there all week was gone (and stayed gone). So she does know what she's doing and I have to assume that the acupuncture is helping the reflux.

    DGL: Well, I hate the taste of black licorice. The first time I took the DGL, my fiance couldn't stop laughing at the face I made. I hated it. But I know it's supposed to help so I actually got used to it. I don't love it now but I'm kind of indifferent to the flavor, surprisingly. I do think it helps soothe things. Sometimes if I just start to feel somee throat-burn, I chew one or two and it does seem to help.

    Black Raspberry powder: I have no idea if it's helping but it tastes really good, it's really good for you as far as nutritionally. And it's been written up in studies as incredibly good for your esophagus. Apparently, it's actually been shown to reverse the cell damage of Barrets. I don't have Barrets so I don't know.

    Calcium powder: It's supposed to help keep the LES closed. That's good enough for me, because, hey...I certainly need to supplement with calcium anyway. Don't know what it's actually doing.
    By the way, you should always supplement with magnesium when you take calcium. Since the doctor told me to take the calcium this way, I also added in a magnesium supplement. You should always take a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium (i.e., 1000 mg calcium / 500 mg magnesium).
    So I take magnesium, too. I found a nice powdered magnesium that dissolves in hot water and you drink it like tea. It tastes like Tang and it's not sweetened. It's called "Natural Calm".
    (Don't overdo the magnesium - follow the directions or you may get loose poops.....and too much Calcium may be constipating.)

    Gaviscon: I find Gaviscon to be useless as a daytime antacid. And I don't use it at night to be an antacid. Gaviscon, apparently, creates what they call a "raft" that floats on your stomach fluids, blocking anything from getting through it and refluxing into your esoph. I take it before bedtime.
    I no longer wake up with heartburn. I think the Gaviscon is a big help for that.
    Oh, and by the way, as of tonight, I'll be taking the Canadian Gaviscon - not the American Gaviscon. The Canadian has no aluminum in it. If you want more info on that, see my earlier post:

    What's really nice is I was suffering from anxiety big-time since this all started. I'm not anymore. I have a theory about that. I think that when I was getting reflux while I was sleeping, it set my autonomic nervous system to "ON" and my system was working when it should have been resting. So as soon as I woke up, after my body/brain weren't sleeping properly, I was in overdrive. I was shaky and nervous and anxious from the moment I woke up.
    I'm not any of those things now.
    I do think acupuncture is part of that, but I also think the Gaviscon helped me with that, too.

    All that said, I'm not cured. I still get heartburn and throat-burn only not as often and not as severe. I still get shortness of breath pretty regularly and sinus issues, too. I get wheezing but far less frequently.

    But I'm able to eat three full meals a day (of course, I'm only eating the right foods), which I could not do before. I'm not getting bloated after meals.
    And all this is only within the past 2-1/2 weeks, so maybe those things will get better in time, too.

    So I think that it's a combination of doing all of these things that is helping. None of them can hurt. It just takes more diligence than I'm used to in sticking to the ritual of taking all the things when I'm supposed to. I carry around a notepad and write down what I take and when and that helps me to make sure I'm taking everything. It's worth it. I felt horrible for 4 months - I don't mind working to make sure I get better.

    I hope this helps everyone on this board.


  • #2

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write all that down for us...I'm definitely gonna give the black raspberry a try...I do have barretts and will love to see if this helps and like you said it can't hurt...and I love the fact that it tastes good...that will be a big change from most medicines...I have a problem swallowing pills so if I can't get the med in liquid I end up chewing the tablet and there is some of them that is just plain glad to hear your doing so much of luck to you...


    • #3
      Hey ThelmaLou!
      You're welcome. And yes, the black raspberry tastes's simply dried raspberries ground into a powder. You just mix it with water. And the DGL chewables are growing on me taste-wise, but again, they're chewable. And the AbsorbAid digestive enzymes capsules can be opened and mixed with water and you drink it. So I didn't even think of that, but for people who can't swallow pills, this is really easy.
      Good to hear from you.


      • #4
        I've been snooping around here for a couple of months just trying to get as much information as possible. I'm definitely going to try some or all of these things. As you say, it can't hurt so it's worth a shot. Thanks NYer for sharing this information.



        • #5
          You're welcome! Thank you for posting that - It makes me feel good to be able to give back and help other people. This site has been a Godsend. I like to be able to "pay it forward".


          • #6

            Thanks for sharing your successes going the natural route...I'm so glad you're seeing results. I decided to again try the digestive enzymes to see if I could get any results. The ones I've tried in the past gave me a headache but I bought the Digestive Advantage and I do see some thanks for the encouragement.

            DGL gives me a headache now but I did try it for about 9 months but must have developed some allergic reaction to it...just one tablet gives me a headache now. I find that this happens to me alot if I take herbs over a long term...go figure.

            Just a word of warning about taking Gaviscon on a regular basis. There is alot of aluminum in it and the warnings are not to ingest too much aluminum over long term. Although I'm not too thrilled about all the chemicals in my Nexium. These meds were never meant to be taken long term.

            Thanks for giving back and continued successes!


            • #7
              Hey Lil!
              Yes, you are right about the aluminum. That's why if you look through my long post, above, you'll see a link to my other post regarding buying Gaviscon from Canada where it's aluminum-free!
              Here's the link again:


              My Mom had Alzheimers...I don't want to help my brain go there any faster by ingesting aluminum.

              Digestive Advantage is a probiotic - not a digestive enzyme. Probiotics are excellent stuff, but it's a totally different product from digestive enzymes. The enzymes are what's in your stomach that does the actual digestion (part of the digestion) of your food. Probiotics are good bacteria that you need in your digestive tract.


              • #8

                Maybe that's why I'm not getting a headache with the Digestive Advantage. Everytime I ever tried the digestive enzymes I would get a headache. Anyway, I'm seeing good results with DA as far as gas bloating is concerned.

                Yes, I see at the bottom that you mentioned no aluminum in Canadian gaviscon. I think the Canadians are much more intune with avoiding harmful ingredients in their products. They banned Aspartame along time ago and it's in almost all diet products here alongside sucralose (splenda).

                I wonder if the Canadian gaviscon will work as well since it's the aluminum that apparently helps with heartburn. Keep us posted. I am going to try the black raspberry powder also because my throat is really burning alot lately.

                Another natural thing that really helps the esophagus heal and also the stomach is cabbage juice. I've made it several times but you can't make it ahead of time and store it because the stench is so bad....must be consumed right away. The raspberry powder sounds much more appealing.


                • #9
                  I read recently that cabbage juice and carrot juice are good for GERD. I haven't tried that yet.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the tips! I am glad that this has helped reduce your anxiety. Maybe I wouldn't need the anti anxiety medicine if I tried your tips.

                    I'm going to look for the black raspberry powder. It sounds like it would add a nice flavor to my bottled water and help me at the same time.


                    • #11
                      I think that what made the biggest difference is the digestive enzymes. And I noticed that different brands contain different things. One brand, I noticed, contain HCL (hydrochloric acid) and pepsin. That may be good for some people and (who knows?) maybe not good for others.

                      SillyLilly, maybe you should try the kind I'm taking, "AbsorbAid", and see if you still get headaches. You were probably allergic to one of the ingredients in the one you were taking.


                      • #12
                        Article on Soothing Reflux Naturally

                        This article from confirms the validity of the natural steps I've taken that have helped me. It's basically a transcript of an interview on the Today Show with Dr. Leo Galland. The URL is at the bottom of the article if you want to see a formatted version of it or see the video of the show.

                        Have acid reflux? Soothe it naturally
                        Try these tips and remedies to ease your pain without taking a pill

                        Last year alone, Americans spent $942 million dollars on over-the-counter antacids, and a whopping 13.6 billion dollars on prescription acid suppressants. So how can we manage our acid reflux disease, and other similar symptoms? Are antacids always a good idea? Dr. Leo Galland, a medical advisor to the consumer newsletter "Bottom Line Personal" and author of the book “The Fat-Resistance Diet,” offers tips and natural remedies that could make us stop popping those pills.

                        Millions of Americans take drugs to relieve excess stomach acid. In fact, acid-suppressing drugs are among the most frequently prescribed medications in the US. They fall into two categories:
                        # Proton-pump inhibitors like Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, Aciphex and Protonix. What they do is inhibit the enzymes that transport acid from the acid-secreting cells into the lining of the stomach.
                        # H2 blockers like Zantac, Pepcid, Axid and Tagamet. H2 blockers inhibit the activity of histamine in the stomach. Histamine stimulates stomach cells to secrete more acid.

                        Although these drugs can be effective at relieving symptoms like heartburn and abdominal pain, they may have serious long-term side effects. Regular use of acid-suppressing drugs is associated with increased risk of hip fractures, probably because of impaired calcium absorption. Taking acid-suppressors also increases your risk of acquiring a food-borne intestinal infection or experiencing the overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach and small intestine. Overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach probably explains some other risks associated with regular use of acid suppressors including pneumonia, stomach cancer and vitamin B12 deficiency.

                        Gastroesophageal reflux vs. gastritis
                        Acid suppressing therapy is primarily used to treat two kinds of problems — gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining). In gastroesophageal reflux, contents of the stomach flow backward up the esophagus and may reach all the way to the mouth. Symptoms include heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation of food, sore throat, hoarse voice and cough. Although acid suppressors are commonly prescribed, GERD is not caused by excess production of acid. It is caused by failure of the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach (the LES or lower esophageal sphincter valve).

                        The good news is that there are natural remedies for these GERD problems that work even better than drugs and without the side effects:
                        # Don’t stuff yourself. When you eat a lot at one time it causes stomach distension, which triggers relaxation of the LES.
                        # Avoid high fat foods such as fried foods and cream sauces. These weaken the LES.
                        # Don’t smoke. This also weakens the LES.
                        # Don’t eat for three hours before lying down. When you’re upright, gravity works with you.
                        # Maintain a normal weight. Being overweight increases your risk of GERD.
                        # Don’t eat just before strenuous exercise. Strenuous exercise increases the tendency to get GERD.
                        # Avoid foods that you know cause you discomfort until you’re better. So-called “acid” foods, like oranges and tomatoes, do not cause GERD, but they may irritate an already inflamed esophagus

                        These simple steps prevent symptoms of GERD in the majority of people and may allow you to avoid the use of acid-suppressing drugs. If not, try:
                        # Calcium. Calcium tightens the LES valve. This is not an antacid effect. In fact, the best type of calcium, because it is the most soluble, is calcium citrate, which is itself mildly acidic. The most effective preparation is calcium citrate powder. Take 250 mg, dissolved in water, after every meal and at bedtime (for a total daily dose of 1,000 mg). Swallowing calcium pills does not prevent reflux because the calcium is not instantly dissolved.
                        # Digestive enzymes. These appear to work by decreasing distension of the stomach. The enzymes should be acid-resistant, so they work in the stomach itself, not in the small intestine. A powdered enzyme preparation (1/2 teaspoon) can be mixed together with the calcium powder above and taken after each meal. Digestive enzymes are available in health food stores and pharmacies.

                        The leading cause of gastritis (inflamed stomach lining) in the U.S. is the regular use of aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Other causes include cigarette smoking, regular use of alcohol and the irritant effects of other medications, especially antibiotics.

                        For some people, infection of the stomach is the underlying cause of gastritis and anyone with gastritis should be tested for Helicobacter pylori, the most common cause of bacterial gastritis. If H pylori is found, treatment with antibiotics is necessary.

                        When the stomach is inflamed it becomes sensitive to its own acid. The usual symptom is burning pain in the middle part of the upper abdomen, above the belly button. This pain is often affected by food (food can ease the pain or make it worse) and may be associated with nausea and changes in appetite. Antacids like Maalox or Mylanta and acid-suppressing drugs may relieve symptoms by buffering or decreasing acidity, but do not address the underlying cause of gastritis.

                        The diet I developed called the Fat Resistance Diet is helpful in preventing or relieving gastritis. The diet is rich in anti-inflammatory fruits, vegetables and fiber and gentle herbs and spices with anti-inflammatory effects.

                        Certain dietary supplements also can support healing of an inflamed stomach, making it less sensitive to its own acid. Scientific studies have shown benefits from the following natural therapies:
                        # Carrot juice and/or cabbage juice, one cup per day. The addition of aloe vera liquid, up to four ounces a day, can also help, though aloe has a laxative effect.
                        # DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). This herbal extract — 600 mg taken twice a day with meals — helps the stomach lining to heal, and can be combined with other soothing herbs, like slippery elm (200 mg twice a day) and marshmallow root (400 mg twice a day).
                        # L-glutamine powder. L-glutamine is an amino acid. A teaspoon of L-glutamine powder in four ounces of water taken with each meal can help heal gastritis and even stomach ulcers.
                        # Mastic gum. The sap of the Mediterranean plant Pistacia lentiscus, mastic gum has been used to treat stomach problems for centuries and is now available in capsule form. Take 500 milligrams of mastic gum twice a day after meals (for a total of 1000 milligrams a day).

                        Leo Galland, M.D., is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of Nutritional Medicine for advancing the scientific understanding of nutritional therapies in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. He is the author of more than 30 scientific articles for publications including The Journal of the American Medical Association. He is also the author of two highly acclaimed books, “Superimmunity for Kids” (Dell 1989) and “Power Healing” (Random House 1997). For more information on Dr. Leo Gallard's newsletter, visit Bottom Line/Personal.
                        © 2008 MSNBC Interactive

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                        • #13
                          Update: I'M FEELING REALLY GOOD - all naturally!!!

                          Guys, it's been two months that I've been doing everything described above and I feel like a new person!!! I'm 90% better and even AFTER JUST A FEW DAYS of this I started feeling much better.
                          I very rarely get heartburn now and most of the time if I start getting it, I open a couple of capsules of digestive enzymes and mix them in water and it kills the heartburn. I have no more stomach or chest pains at all. I am able to eat three full meals a day without bloating or any other problems. I'm still very careful about what I eat and I am still sleeping with my upper half elevated because I'm paranoid about it. I do still get some wheezing and also shortness of breath from time to time but it's like night and day compared to how I was for the four months prior to this when I lost 26 pounds from not being able to eat!!
                          I no longer take ANY antacids of any kind (I don't even have to take Gaviscon before bed anymore).
                          I cannot recommend this regimen highly enough.
                          Get off the PPI's and the H2 Blockers. They didn't do squat to help me and they caused all kinds of side-effects.
                          I recommended this to someone else and she had been on Nexium for a really long time. She was afraid to go off because in the past when she had, she had bad rebound problems. This time, she started the natural regimen while she was on the Nexium for a week and then she weaned off of the Nexium and now she feels great!!
                          Please give this a try, I am soooo thankful to the Naturopath who got me doing all this. I'm still doing the acupuncture once a week, too.


                          • #14
                            Does any-one have any links to any studies that support the theory that calcium helps keep the LES closed?

                            I'd be interested in seeing if there is any basis for that claim.


                            • #15
                              I second that. I've only read it from Leo Galland as the source. Did some research and didn't find a second source to back up Galland's claims. I take calcium for other reasons anyway. But am interested because he's so specific about the type to take. If he's right, I want to make sure I'm taking the right kind.