I suffer terribly from acid reflux in my throat with burning and severe pain, sometimes even nausea. My doctor advised me to try the over-thecounter medicine Tums in order to neutralize the stomach acid, and if this does not work he will start me on proton-pump inhibitors. I really don’t want to start taking medication, so he suggested I get some advice on changes in my diet. Can you help? Rivka, Jerusalem
Hi Rivka, Often the reason we get this acid reflux in our throat is because we have a low level of stomach acid. The “opening” between your stomach and esophagus in the throat usually closes when food arrives so that nothing refluxes back into the throat. At least this happens when stomach acid levels are normal. When stomach acid starts to get low, this opening remains open, and that’s when the little bit of acid in the stomach refluxes back up into the throat and can cause all that discomfort you mentioned. Many people use antacids to relieve the pain of heartburn. The tricky thing here is that by reducing acidity, they cover up the symptoms and also limit the body from effectively digesting the food. Prolonged use of antacids quite often causes maldigestion of food in the stomach, since Vitamin B and calcium (dairy), for example, need acid to be absorbed.
Here are some ideas for you to try: In general, it’s a good idea to avoid very acidic foods such as citrus, tomatoes and tomato sauce, spicy foods, alcohol, high-protein meals and vinegars.
Instead, you should try to increase your intake of cooked vegetables, puréed soups, and cooked fruits. Most of my patients notice a significant reduction in their acid-reflux symptoms when they remove the most common inflammatory foods from their diets. I recommend eliminating gluten, pasteurized dairy, soy, corn and refined vegetable oils. Replace these with a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as sweet potatoes and other root vegetables, green tea, organic eggs, turmeric, ginger, garlic. Cook with olive or coconut oil.
Aloe vera juice works wonders! Buy a bottle and drink it daily – morning, noon and night. Aloe vera contains a natural buffer system that helps restore a healthy level of stomach acid by raising the pH just enough to relieve the discomfort of reflux. The Israeli vitamin and supplement company SupHerb have a great kosher aloe vera juice, available in natural health stores all over Israel. To find out where’s there is one near you, go to: supherb.co.il.
You can also start to drink licorice tea and/or chamomile tea. Both these teas have fantastic effects on our digestive system, and are often used to ease the pain caused by stomach ulcers and other digestive upsets.
Licorice soothes and moistens the lining of our gastrointestinal tract. By protecting the mucus membrane in the esophagus it can really help to prevent reflux.
For those who suffer very badly, I always recommend trying apple cider vinegar: Take 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 4 oz. of water about 10 minutes before each large meal. It is rich in acetic acid, digestive enzymes and probiotics, which is particularly helpful at improving stomach acid levels in preparation for digestion. It’s also great when used as a salad dressing.
It’s important to note that when we are stressed, the cortisol also reduces the digestive enzymes and the stomach acid. So if this is the case, try to do some relaxation technique, maybe yoga or breathing meditation. I run tailor-made yoga sessions for all kinds of health problems. Trust me, there is a posture for everything! Let me know if you are interested, and good luck in the meantime.Dear Natalie, For the last few months I have experienced severe bloating after meals, and particularly embarrassing flatulence. I have tried all kinds of restricted diets but nothing seems to make a difference. With Passover coming up (and all the meals I will consume!), are there any specific homeopathic remedies you can recommend that can help.
Thank you so much.
Eliot, Tel Aviv
Hi Eliot, There is absolutely nothing more irritating than enjoying a good meal with loved ones, and then experiencing the very common after-effects, which can, as you say, feel rather uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Despite having tried various food elimination to see what may be the cause behind the bloating and flatulence, I do encourage you to begin your day with a warm glass of water with lemon, to cleanse the stomach and liver. Try slightly smaller servings at each feast, and instead of having several food groups at one meal, perhaps try separating them.
Occasionally, to achieve optimal enzymatic action, we need to separate eating proteins and carbohydrates together. The reason for this is because proteins need acid enzyme digestive juices, whereas carbohydrates need alkaline enzyme digestive juices. When eaten together, some fermentation and gas accumulation is more likely to occur. As a nurse working in a post-operative ward, I see bloating and flatulence on a daily basis. Homeopathy may have some positive effect in eradicating bloating and flatulence. The closer we are able to match the remedy to your symptoms, the more accurate and likely we can be in achieving complete healing.
The following few remedies are the favorite homeopathic remedies when it comes to digestive issues. See which one most fits your complaint and begin with one tablet at 30c potency three times a day (15 minutes before a meal).
Based on the minimal information you gave, the remedy that springs to mind is Natrum carbonicum. This rcan be helpful to those who have trouble digesting and assimilating many foods, and have to eliminate various foods. In particular, this remedy is indicated when dairy products lead to flatulence and even sometimes diarrhea. There is often a craving for sweets and potatoes, also for milk, but these make the person feel worse, so they have usually learned to avoid them.
Probably the most commonly prescribed homeopathic medication for common gas and bloating is Carbo-Vegetabilis. This remedy is very effective in treating bloating and gas in the upper abdominal area. I usually prescribe this when I see symptoms that include sour burping with a burning sensation, and where there is relief with passing wind. The patient may also show slight difficulties in breathing. For those who like to dine out a lot and suffer from common digestive disturbances, I recommend they keep a bottle of Carbo-Vegetabilis with them at all times.
Although the remedies are many, the final one which closely matches your individual symptoms is Lycopodium. This remedy relieves discomfort from bloating around the waist, and from gas, especially after eating onions or garlic. Since you are based in Tel Aviv, there is a wonderful homeopathic pharmacy (Homgalil) on Ben Yehuda St. 80, and there is always a homeopath working on site that can help direct you to your most indicated remedy. Homgalil: 03-522-3358.If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer, email Natalie at: email@example.com. As well as working as a nurse, Natalie runs a clinic in Moshav Yanuv that offers a wide range of natural treatments. Healing is achieved using homeopathy, reflexology, massage, flower remedies and nutritional wisdom. To make an appointment, please email.
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