Digestive issues are an indication that something is wrong within your digestive tract, not a reason to immediately turn to drugs. Studies show around 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month, and about 15 million suffer from acid reflux almost everyday. The majority of people head straight for the Prilosec or some other antacid, H2 Blocker, or PPI to alleviate the problem. Now, I realize there are instances (e.g. gastric ulcers) in which these drugs can help, but for most, the drugs can actually wreak more havoc on the body by interfering with the stomach’s acidity level.
The bottom line is your stomach NEEDS to be acidic in order to digest the food you eat. Every time you eat, your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid (HCL) so your food can be broken down into a liquid form and passed on to the small intestine so nutrients can be absorbed into the body. HCL is crucial for preventing harmful bacteria from entering the GI tract and releasing the enzyme, pepsin, which digests protein that is necessary for staying healthy. When people take antacids, they are negating the natural process of digestion by neutralizing stomach acid for long periods of time, leading to an array of additional stomach problems. In a nutshell, the drugs stop the stomach from doing it’s job, and as a result the stomach will try to combat the drugs by secreting even MORE acid to try and start digestion again. These drugs create a vicious cycle, leaving the food you ate in your gut about 8-10 hours longer undigested, which will cause it to ferment, leading to gas, bloating, indigestion and a lack of energy.
So what do you do? Listen to your body. If you find yourself experiencing digestive issues, such as gas, bloating, indigestion, or acid reflux after eating certain foods, your body may be telling you to change your eating habits. Educate yourself and keep a food journal. Slow down and chew your food at least 25 times. Work with a health coach or a health practitioner to guide you through natural ways to improve and heal your gut, so you can enjoy the food you eat without any negative feedback! Find more ways to find balance in your diet and lifestyle by scheduling a FREE health consultation ($75 value) with Lisa Breitenwischer, Holistic Health Counselor.