Alternatives For Acid Reflux

One in 14 persons in the United States are taking Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medications for acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD). These popular drugs account for $9.2 billion in sales each year and this number does not include over the counter sales. These drugs include:

Lansoprazole (Prevacid®)

Omeprazole (Prilosec®)

Pantoprazole (Protonix®)

Rabeprazole (Aciphex®)

Esomeprazole (Nexium®)

A recent study by researchers from Houston Methodist and Stanford University concluded that adults who take PPI’s for digestive ailments were between 16% and 21% more likely to experience a heart attack.[1]  This is just another reason that people should be looking for alternative treatments.

Other known side effects include headache, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, pneumonia, hip fracture, nutrient deficiencies, and rash.

Most of my patients with acid reflux do not require these medications to control their reflux. Diet changes are helpful for most people. Reducing or avoiding carbonated beverages, alcohol, coffee, non-herbal tea, cow’s milk, citrus, chocolate, peppermint, and spicy foods are often helpful. Food sensitivity testing at my clinic helps people identify offending foods.

Herbal extracts such as aloe vera and DGL, a type of licorice extract soothes and heals the lining of the stomach and esophagus. And one interesting supplement we use at the clinic known as D-limonene, an extract from orange peel, has been shown in research to reduce heartburn symptoms and for 89% of participants it kept the symptoms coming back for 6 months or longer with just two weeks of treatment.

A recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center demonstrated that patient visits with integrative doctors (holistic doctors) had a greater success rate than with conventional doctors for this problem.[2]

At the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine we find that we can help the majority of patients with acid reflux. The key is treating the root causes of acid reflux. This may include being overweight, food sensitivities, undiagnosed infections in the stomach, stress, and imbalanced nerve flow from the spine, especially the neck and back.

Contact our clinic if you have a chronic problem with acid reflux.

[1] Shah NH, LePendu P, Bauer-Mehren A, Ghebremariam YT, Iyer SV, Marcus J, et al. (2015) Proton Pump Inhibitor Usage and the Risk of Myocardial Infarction in the General Population. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0124653. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124653

[2] Michelle L. Dossett, et al. Patient-Provider Interactions Affect Symptoms in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Pilot Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (9): e0136855 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136855