Gastroesopheageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as acid reflux or heartburn, is a digestive system disorder that is being seen in increasing frequency around the world today. This heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach irritates the lining of the lower esophagus. According to an article in Health Day, January 2012, 20% of the population experience symptoms of acid reflux once a week and 7% have daily symptoms. These symptoms are commonly treated with a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors that block the production of acid in the stomach.
We are all too familiar with over-the-counter medicines such as Prilosec, Zantac, Zegrid and prescription medicines such as Nexium or Protonix. These are all drugs that are currently used for the treatment of acid reflux. Although they belong to different classes of drugs, the end goal is the same: reduction of acid in the stomach that relieves the symptoms. These medicines are the third-highest sellers accounting for $14 billion in revenues.
General population has not yet realized two important points about acid reflux. One, although some of the medicines used for acid reflux are over the counter – they are not completely safe. And two, acid reflux is essentially curable through dietary changes as most cases are caused by poor nutrition.
So what are the side effects of these acid-blocking agents, and what are some consequences of decreasing stomach acid? Long-term use of PPI’s not only reduce the absorption of key vitamins and nutrients such as B12, folate, iron, calcium and zinc – but can also lead to protein deficiency that can lead to anxiety and depression. Moreover, increasing use of acid-suppressing drugs exposes the individual to a higher risk of developing pneumonia and decreased resistance to infections.
As mentioned above, one of the causes of acid reflux is poor nutrition. So why not cure reflux with dietary changes? Infact, refined carbohydrates and sugars actually promote bacterial overgrowth, which has been linked as a cause of GERD. Including organic produce, natural fats and carbohydrate restriction (less than 20g/day), will help with settling the stomach and decreasing the symptoms of acid reflux in a natural way.
Although the acid-reducing medications provide temporary relief from heartburn symptoms, they are not the end-all, cure-all way to go. With a detailed plan of how to start and maintain a low carbohydrate diet, plus an added benefit of 75 low-carb recipes, this book will positively change the quality of your life, and put a stop to GERD.