Q. Dear Terry, “I was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) many years ago. I’ve been on medications for many years. When I stopped my medications, my stomach problems came back. I realize taking these medications, for long periods of time, isn’t good for my overall health. What healthier choices are there for GERD?”– Charlene H., Sheboygan, WI
A. Dear Charlene, While the conventional approach to treating acid reflux or GERD involves acid-blocking medications, I believe there are natural options that are safer and more effective. In fact, one of the primary causes of acid reflux is not producing enough stomach acid and also inflammation. Other triggers of acid reflux include eating before bed, fried or spicy foods, infections, alcohol, caffeine, chronic stress, and smoking. Even though stomach acid production decreases with age, diet and lifestyle modifications can greatly reduce the occurrence of acid reflux. In addition to these changes, I believe there are natural medicines that can help.
Two of my favorite ingredients for acid reflux are d-limonene and sea buckthorn oil – they both can greatly improve digestive function. Sea buckthorn has been clinically studied for healing ulcers and other gastric lining inflammation that can also cause heartburn, and d-limonene has been studied for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Both are also very soothing to the mucosa of the digestive tract. I would take these two ingredients 2-3 times daily. Make sure the sea buckthorn you choose features both the seed and pulp oil to receive the full benefits of this plant. Be patient, as it may take a month or two to see improvements.
You may also want to consider adding in deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). DGL is a powerful antioxidant, works as an antimicrobial agent, and helps reduce inflammation. The DGL I recommend is standardized to at least 3.5% glabridin and greater than 10% flavonoids. I would take DGL once or twice per day.
I think human strain probiotics would be very beneficial. I prefer probiotics that have a long history of human use, like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. I would take these with each meal.
You may also want to consider a blend of Ayurvedic herbs that has been used for thousands of years to support digestion. These herbs help to fight inflammation, stop stomach and digestive disorders, soothe and relax intestinal tissues, bolster the ability of the liver to detoxify, and much more. I would take a combination of turmeric, greater galangal, andrographis, boerhavia, Indian laburnum, gotu kola, cyperus, licorice, East Indian sarsaparilla, long pepper, chebulic myrobalan, Indian tinospora, ginger, and curry tree each night before bed.
Terry . . . Naturally
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