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The All-Natural Regimen That Has Helped My Reflux Problem

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  • Originally posted by betsypear1
    Hi NYer,

    Thanks for the reply. I appreciate you typing on your cell phone. I hate doing that myself! Need to upgrade to one of those sorts that has a keyboard on it.

    Will look forward to more discussion. By the way, I am starting to think I agree with you about using a wedge pillow versus tipping the bed up. I've raised the head of the bed for years but now it's at a ridiculous 10 inches and yesterday I was walking around with my left hip hurting and wondering if it was the slant of the bed. I did some searches for the type of wedge you recommended and believe I've come up with one that gets really good reviews so will have to order it. At the very least, it would be efficient for traveling, as it folds up and comes with its own carrying case. Cool.
    Hi Betsy,
    A few weeks ago, I bought a foam mattress topper - not memory foam, just regular. The design was that it's 5 inches thick (high) at the head end and gradually becomes 1 inch thick at the foot end. Seemed like a good idea and it would elevate me without having to use a wedge. Well, good idea but poor implementation. The foam is soft, so my body compressed it enough that the upper half was probably only elevated by 3 inches. Woopie - I need about 10 inches. So much for that. So it didn't work and after a few days on it, I started coughing in my sleep (reflux) and waking myself up. It was $70 down the drain (can't return mattress and stuff you sleep on) so I gave it to my friend to use on her futon that she has guests sleep on (and it makes it more comfortable - but I would still need to use my wedge on it).

    I can't remember if I've already posted this in this thread and I'm too tired from my hectic weekend to look so I may be re-posting this info, but anyway, this is the wedge I use - and I like:
    It's not's $75 and I haven't found it for less. But it is much longer than most others and it's got memory foam in the padding, so it's really comfortable. And, no, that's not me in the picture!

    I also use a knee or leg wedge which is good for my back and also serves to keep me from sliding down on the wedge.

    Betsy, you mentioned that you're trying a 14-day Prilosec treatment. I hope that works out OK for you. I had bad side effects from Prilosec and every other PPI. Some people handle them OK. Just be aware, also, that many people have a "rebound" effect after stopping PPI's and they get worse symptoms than they started with. Although, I don't think a two-week treatment would do that. Keep doing all the healthy stuff, though, in the meantime.

    It's really nice to get the kind of feedback that you gave in your first post! It's helpful to me to hear what other people do and I like to know that my taking the time to update everyone on what I do is, ultimately, helpful to people. This thread has had over 12,000 hits on it. Obviously, there are a lot of people who would rather get help the right way (healthy) and we're all looking for guidance from other people with the same issues. Makes more sense than advice from someone who read it in a book and never had the problem. We know what it feels like and we know what works! on another forum that someone thought taking too much magnesium was causing their LES to relax too much at night and cause reflux. Had never thought of that. One has to have the correct ratio of the two minerals, obviously.
    Really interesting point and makes a lot of sense. And too much calcium is constipating and also, if you take too much without enough Magnesium, it sort of negates the Magnesium that you do have in your system and you can end up with symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome and other unpleasant side effects. But, yeah, too much Mag - aside from the diarrhea that it would cause, could certainly relax things you don't want relaxed, like your LES.

    And then there's Thistle, whom we love, and who, so far as we know, may be unique in having been born without an LES and got a bionic one instead! She pays attention to what she eats and does the right things. A good role model for everyone here.

    Thanks again for your good input Betsy!


    • in terms of diarrhea magnesium citrate is the worst for me. I stick to albion magnesium or magnesium malate. I think the range is 400-2000mg.


      • But however much you do take of any kind of magnesium, make sure you take twice as much in calcium, too (if you take 400 mg of mag, take 800 cal). That's the necessary ratio.


        • Hi NYer,

          Thanks very much for the link to the wedge. That's really too bad about the mattress topper....hate it when things like that happen. I'll have to wait and see about getting the wedge or anything else, till I figure out whether I'm going to have to resort to sleeping in a recliner or something. Even with the Prilosec and sleeping with the bed propped to 10", I still wake up with the sour taste in my mouth. How on earth does that happen, anyway? You'd think at that angle, it would be prevented...I'm now going to try not eating 5 hours before bed instead of the 3 I've been doing. Maybe that will help.

          Thanks for the warning about Prilosec. I'm already not liking it very much...not getting any of the side effects on the box, but feeling very tired and spaced out. Wondering if that's a side effect they don't tell you? Also, it doesn't seem to be helping the reflux very much, although I guess it's lessened the acid production. And I tend to wonder how that's really supposed to help in the long run, because doesn't your stomach need to have acid to digest food?? Sorry, it just is all difficult to comprehend. But I felt desperate to perhaps at least tone things down for a couple of weeks while I tweak my diet and lifestyle changes...I'll watch for that rebound effect.

          Yes, it really is awesome this thread you created. 12,000 hits is amazing! I'm sure a lot of people have been helped. I'm going to have to go back through and make a list of the things you suggested so I have them on hand.


          • Ha, I just checked and it's up to 13,198 hits. Must be heartburn season.
            Yes, unfortunately there are LOTS of side effects from the PPI's that aren't listed in the typical places that you find that information. Dizziness, anxiety attacks, severe dry eyes and dry mouth, muscle cramps, chest pain, increased blood sugar levels, and on and on. And I had all of the above (not all at the same time ) from all of them. One caused one effect another caused another.

            Sleeping with the wedge doesn't stop just helps a lot in the prevention of it happening while you're laying down. But hey, we all get reflux while we're standing up, too, right? What the..? I would sleep in a recliner but I'd miss my man too much! In fact, I'd buy an adjustable bed but that would force me to adjust him, too. If I had the room, I'd get two adjustable twins next to each other so I could raise up without raising him...but I can't fit it in here.

            If you can stop eating 5 hours before bedtime, I salute you! haha, One of the biggest things I had to cut out when I did all this was snacking before bedtime in front of the TV. But we do what we gotta do.

            And I do recommend the Canadian Gaviscon at bedtime. (The American version contains Aluminum, which you don't want in your system..and it tastes disgusting, too.). You may find that'll make a difference in the laying down refluxing. I've mentioned that earlier in this thread - you can get it really easily from .


            • do you think ENO can be a substitute for Gaviscon


              • Hi NYer, yes, heartburn season! Funny, I saw a GP once in California that told me GERD tended to be seasonal with some people. I've actually found that to be the case with me, normally getting flareups during certain parts of the year...

                Anyway, I tried some Gaviscon last night - actually had a bottle I got about 2 years ago but never really used. Expiration date: 8/2010. Ha ha! I had read somewhere that it could aggravate blood pressure, and I tend towards it, so that's why I hadn't taken anymore. But googling last night, could find no reference to that. I checked out - they seem to have the kind with aluminum and also without, and in different flavors! So will be ordering. Too bad the chocolate flavor is out of stock. As far as how it worked, I can't tell yet, but I will keep using it, and get the non-aluminum kind in the meantime. Also need to replenish the DGL. I for one really like the taste of them - always liked licorice.

                Nice to know there are a lot of options of things to try. Have shied away from the idea of trying HCL but may give it a try to see if perhaps am not producing enough stomach acid.

                By the way, I stopped taking the Prilosec today, and started feeling human again. Man! Just taking it for 4 days was making me feel like a zombie and wasn't even helping my symptoms. So - forget that!


                • Mike, what the heck is ENO? Whatever it is, I have no idea if it would work like Gaviscon but I doubt it. Gaviscon produces a "raft" that floats on your stomach fluids and keeps stuff from refluxing (supposedly) so you can't eat anything after you take it.

                  Betsy, I cannot say anything positive about American Gaviscon. I tasted it once a long time ago and spit it out - it tasted gross!
                  But the Canadian version (which is the aluminum-free) I use from time to time. I only find it helpful when I take it at bedtime, though. If I take it during the day, it does nothing for me.

                  Although the chocolate flavor sound like it'd be great, I'm hesitant to eat anything chocolate due to the fact that it can relax the LES. So even if that's an artificial chocolate flavor, I avoid it. Same with anything mint. So I get one of the fruit flavors.

                  Regarding the HCL, I haven't tried it yet and I know I should. It's a really good concept and I know of people who swear by it. I've just started taking other stuff for another condition and I only want to add in one thing at a time, even if it's helpful. But I would recommend it from what I've heard.

                  Congrats on stopping the Prilosec. I hate that stuff.


                  • this one:



                    • Nope on the Eno. Not even remotely similar to Gaviscon. Entirely different principle. It's more like alka seltzer. It's not good to take so much sodium bicarb - too much sodium. And it's only a very temporary relief and then the acid rebounds.


                      • I did a search for the Gaviscon they sell down here and got various formulas:

                        tablet version: Alginic acid 250mg, Sodium bicarbonate 85mg, Aluminium hydroxide dried 50mg, magnesium trisilicate 12.5mg per tablet.

                        liquid version: Sodium alginate 500mg, calcium carbonate 160mg, sodium bicarbonate 267mg in 10ml.

                        Tablet version: Sodium alginate 250mg; sodium bicarbonate 133.5mg; calcium carbonate 80mg per tablet


                        • just another question:

                          is there an advantage to take the digestive enzymes before the meal. I noticed some people do that.


                          • No. Some people do and some people take them after. Doesn't make it a good idea. I take more than the two recommended on the bottle (it says to take more if you have digestive issues). And I take one at the start and the rest at the end. Recommended by my naturopath. You want to have it in the right part of your digestive tract while the food is in there with it. If it's past your stomach when the food hits, it doesn't do any good.


                            • so for example say you have to eat 4 oz chicken breast. you take a bite, then pop a digestive aid pill, then continue eating until you have to take the final bite. after the final bite you pop 2-3 more capsules.


                              • Hi, NYer and others on this thread,

                                Haven't posted in a little while so just checking in.

                                I'm wondering - do you think that L-Glutamine tablets would work okay? I know you said powder, but I happen to have a bottle of L-Glutamine tablets I bought not too long ago and was thinking of taking them.

                                Anyway, I'm still battling the GERD, and I think I also must have intestinal issues, too, so it's a digestive tract issue, not just GERD. What I've done in the last week or so is increase my water intake to 8-10 glasses a day, and shooting for even more. This seems to help a lot. Also, I ran across a website about food combining and it reminded me that I've tried that in the past and it seemed to give some relief to the system. There seem to be different schools of thought on this, but the main principles seem to be not eating protein foods with starches, and also eating fruit by itself, leaving about 3 hours after or before eating anything else.

                                These things help me during the day, but then the nighttime reflux seems to undo it all and I wake up having to get some relief with drinking aloe vera juice or lots of water, and then the only thing I can even handle in the morning is fruit...And I'm elevated up 10 inches already. Either I've got to solve the problem of the LES being open at night, or got to start sleeping sitting straight up, which doesn't sound appealing at all.