Heartburn / GERD

pepto bottleThe mainstream medical approach to treating heartburn and GERD involves taking acid stopping drugs for as long as symptoms are present. Unfortunately, not only do these drugs fail to address the underlying cause of heartburn and GERD, they make it worse. This means that people who start taking acid stopping medications end up taking them for the rest of their lives.

This is a serious issue because acid stopping drugs promote bacterial overgrowth, weaken our resistance to infection, reduce absorption of essential nutrients, and increase the likelihood of developing IBS, other digestive disorders, and cancer. The pharmaceutical companies have always been aware of these risks. When acid-stopping drugs were first introduced, it was recommended that they not be taken for more than six weeks. Clearly this prudent advice has been discarded, as it is not uncommon today to encounter people who have been on these drugs for decades – not weeks.

What is especially disturbing about this is that heartburn and GERD are easily prevented and cured by making simple dietary and lifestyle changes, as I outline in the articles below.

The sad truth is that the corruption of our “disease-care” system by the financial interests of the pharmaceutical companies virtually guarantees that this crucial information will remain obscure. Drug companies make more than $7 billion a year selling acid suppressing medications. The last thing they want is for doctors and their patients to learn how to treat heartburn and GERD without these drugs. And since 2/3 of all medical research is sponsored by drug companies, it’s virtually guaranteed that we won’t see any large studies on the effects of a low-carb diet on acid reflux and GERD.

So once again it’s up to us to discover the truth and be our own advocates. I hope this series of articles has served you in that goal.


Recommended Books

  • Why Stomach Acid is Good For You, by Jonathan Wright, M.D. and Lane Lenard, Ph.D. The title says it all. Great book.
  • Heartburn Cured – The Low-Carb Miracle, by Norm Robillard, Ph.D. Good information on the connection between bacterial overgrowth and GERD.
  • The GAPS Diet Book and The GAPS Diet Guide. Excellent resources for a specific-carbohydrate diet that reduces bacterial overgrowth and repairs the gut lining.
  • The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson
  • Although I don’t agree with everything in this book (ditch the protein powder and antioxidant supplements he recommends), it’s a good primer for how to follow a low-carb, paleo type diet. This type of diet benefits people with GERD.

  • The Primal Blueprint Cookbook, by Mark Sisson. Not yet published, but I imagine it will have some good recipes based on those already published on his blog.

Recommended Websites

  • Mark’s Daily Apple. Great blog on primal/paleo lifestyle.
  • GAPS support options. Includes a Yahoo Group where you can get advice and help from thousands of other people on the GAPS diet.

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