Acid Reflux – Naturopathic Treatment

  • Tara Andresen

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Heartburn or acid reflux is formally known as Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and refers to the repeated exposure of the esophagus to gastric contents leading to the feeling of burning and pain in the upper chest region. Other symptoms can include a chronic cough, hoarseness, nausea and frequent burping. GERD can be caused by many factors including poor esophageal sphincter tone, obesity, age, medications, stress, low stomach acid and specific foods. Long term untreated acid reflux can lead to a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus which in turn is a primary risk factor for esophageal cancer.

Naturopathic treatment for acid reflux is highly effective and includes dietary changes as well as nutrient supplementation and herbal medicine.

An important part of acid reflux treatment is identifying and removing specific foods that can trigger heartburn. These foods can include coffee, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods and spicy foods but there can be other foods that are uniquely problematic for different individuals. As well as food changes, for some people, weight loss is an important part of treating heartburn. Your Naturopathic Doctor can help identify which foods may be problematic for you and whether or not weight loss would be helpful in resolving your acid reflux.

Interestingly, while reflux can be caused by elevated stomach acid levels, it can also result from low stomach acid. In some cases, it can be helpful to lower the pH of the stomach to address reflux and this can be accomplished through a number of options including apple cider vinegar and herbal bitters.

In addition to food changes and correcting stomach acid, a naturopathic approach to heartburn typically includes one or more herbal supplements. Some of the more effective herbs for reflux include Glycyrrhiza Glabra, Althea Officinalis and Ulmus Fulva. Glycyrrhiza Glabra increases mucous secretions in the stomach to improve cell proliferation and healing time. Althea Officinalis provides a soothing and protective barrier on the mucous membrane of the esophagus and stomach.

Typically, naturopathic treatment for acid reflux is highly effective and can result in reducing the need for treatment with medications or eliminating the need for reflux medications all together.

To find out more about naturopathic treatment for acid reflux , contact your local Naturopathic Doctor or book your appointment with Dr. Andresen at one of her Toronto Naturopathic Clinics.