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My elderly mother-in-law recently started experiencing acid reflux when she eats.

Q. Dear Terry, “My elderly mother-in-law recently started experiencing acid reflux when she eats. Her appetite has gone down because she’s afraid of the reflux. She is already quite skinny and I don’t think she can afford to lose any more weight. What can she try?” — Leon A., Lubbock, TX

A. Dear Leon, While the conventional approach to treating acid reflux 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 your mother-in-law chooses 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.

She 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.

Lastly, 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.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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