Updated: Mar 20, 2022
It might surprise you to know that 60 percent of us have occasional acid reflux. More than 30 percent have it at least once a week. These stats make reflux seem almost normal, but don't ever confuse normal with #healthy.
When your stomach acid and digestive enzymes urp up into the esophagus (swallowing tube), mouth, sinuses, breathing tubes, and even lungs it means trouble. In your mouth, it washes away your enamel and inflames your gums, in your lungs it causes #asthma, and in your esophagus, it puts you at risk for #cancer.
The most common remedy for reflux is a drug group called PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) such as Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, etc. These prescription and non-prescription meds are so commonly purchased they represent $14 billion in US sales a year. I recently noticed my local grocery store sells PPIs right with the checkout goodies, in case you forgot to pick them up while shopping for your food. Now read the PPI warnings: "Use as directed for 14 days to treat frequent heartburn". You're left saying, "Wait, what?! Only 14 days?"
So what's the harm? By reducing stomach acid PPIs can alter the absorption of important dietary minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and B12. Over time any of these deficiencies can be hazardous but the links between extended use of PPIs and bone fractures (and #osteoporosis) are significant.
Maybe it's time for you to focus on a cure rather than a drug. If you're ready to fight reflux before it destroys your teeth and bones, consider making these changes:
Lose weight. Obesity (especially abdominal fat patterning) puts pressure on the stomach and pushes the contents upward.
Stop late-night eating. Not eating anything within three hours of bedtime will help you digest some of your food before you lie down and add gravity to the mix.
Eliminate All soda! Also coffee, black tea, and other bottled beverages. Soda, bottled beverages, and processed foods have been acidified with chemicals that only add to your reflux.
Eliminate all processed foods that have chemical additives and toxins.
You will miss your old habits for a very short time, but have no fear. Our #brains are good at helping us adapt and prefer a new healthier normal. Now is the time to prepare for a New Years' resolution of health!