Gastric reflux or GERD is most often thought of or diagnosed as ‘too much stomach acid’.
Whilst this may be true in some cases, excess stomach acid is actually very rarely the cause of gastric reflux.
The impact of processed, refined and high calorie foods
Believe it or not the exact opposite is often more likely to be occurring – that the stomach acid is relatively low compared to what may be required for appropriate digestion in the ‘stomach phase’. Consider this scenario: before the sphincter at the base end of the stomach will open to allow the contents of the stomach to pass into the small intestine for the next phase of digestion, the pH of the stomach contents must fall to a very low acidity level. It is this low acid pH level that triggers the sphincter to open.
The typical standard diets globally are consisting of larger proportions of refined carbohydrates -which are more alkaline. It therefore takes longer for the acidity level of refined processed foods within the stomach to drop to an adequate acidity level for the base sphincter to be opened. The longer food contents remain in the stomach, the more they ferment, causing gases that ‘reflux’, giving rise to the typical heart-burn and discomfort of gastric reflux.
It usually takes 20-30 minutes for solid foods to leave the stomach. Liquids leave the stomach much faster. Regardless of consistency, foods that have a lower caloric value leave the stomach much faster than those with higher calorie count. Higher calorie food and drinks take longer to leave the stomach, sometimes up to as much as 2-4 hours, allowing more time for fermentation of the stomach contents to occur. This prolonged time in the stomach and increased fermentation can cause the uncomfortable symptoms of gastric reflux.
A diet consisting mostly of unprocessed unrefined lower caloric foods.
Digestive enzymes when initially consuming a diet higher in fibre than what you may be used to.
A TBS of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in 125 ml warm water 30 minutes before eating.
Disruption of the gastro-esophageal sphincter
The gastro-esophageal sphincter or junction (GEJ) is the point where the end of the esophagus joins the stomach. A strong intact GEJ prevents gastric juices in the stomach from leaking up into the esophagus, causing the painful uncomfortable symptoms of gastric reflux.
The GEJ is an area of the digestive tract that is commonly exposed to the harmful effects of Helicobacter pylori, aka the notorious H-pylori infection.
H-pylori is highly contagious and can be easily transmitted through unhygienic/contaminated food and kissing.
An active H-pylori infection is easily diagnosed with a stool sample. A positive blood test for H-pylori may not be accurate as an inactive strain may still produce a positive blood test.
H-pylori is just one variable that may compromise the GEJ. When a person regularly over eats or is overweight (obesity, diabetes, fluid retention etc), the stomach swells and puts of lot of excess pressure on the GEJ. Over a period of time, the GEJ loses its shape and strength, compromising its function and allowing acid to flow upward. Its exposure to acid over a prolonged period of time further compromised the function of the GEJ.
extreme stress can result in more apical or upper chest breathing which over a prolonged period can result in compromised functioning of the diaphragm. The GEJ can be easily impacted by structural and functional changes of the chest and diaphragm.
Increasing tone in the Vagus nerve and improving parasympathetic nervous system function can result in profound improvement in GERD symptoms caused by stress (sustained flight/flight response)
Leaky Gut and an imbalance of the healthy gut bacteria (dysbiosis of the gut microbiome) can also contribute to gastric reflux symptoms
PPI’s or Proton Pump Inhibitors is the fancy term for gastric reflux medication including nexium, trustan, gaviscon, eno’s, rennies etc.
While these may alleviate the symptoms of GERD or gastric reflux in the short term, in the long term they affect the production of stomach acid, disrupting the overall balance of the digestive tract.
Only one biohack here!
Contact your Functional Medicine Practitioner or health and lifestyle coach (firstname.lastname@example.org) to assist you in identifying root cause of GERD, and implementing lifestyle changes that result in sustained improvement in symptoms.
Functional Medicine practitioners/ Health and Lifestyle coaches do not support the long term use of pharmaceuticals. Side effects are still effects and have catastrophic impact on health, vitality and longevity.
Book your Gut Health IV vita drip at www.thedripbar.co.za
To book a Functional Medicine Health and Lifestyle coaching session, email email@example.com
IV Vita Drip therapy is extremely effective in delivering healing nutrients to the gut as well as in restoring micronutrient imbalances resulting from Leaky Gut.
IV Vita drip therapy:
Book your gut healing IV vita drip at www.thedripbar.co.za
BIO: Chantal is a B.Sc.Hons Allied Health with an international diploma in Nutrition and Sports Nutrition. Chantal is a passionate Gut Health advocate and works as a Lifestyle Coach, facilitating the improvement of her clients health conditions through healing leaky gut and correcting dysbiosis (imbalance) of the gut microbiome.
Over her 25 year career, Chantal has held various positions within the health and wellness industry – including 10 years as the Executive Head of Vodacom’s corporate wellness & mobile health programs. Chantal is the owner/ founder of the DripBar which offers vitamin and mineral drip therapy in improving micronutrient deficiencies. She is also the founder/owner of a Kombucha brewery which produces the brand of ‘booch’ called theFarmacy.
Chantal is a competitive cyclist, a plant strong vegan and mom to two grown up girls.
to Book your Functional health and Lifestyle coaching session: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog post contains information that is not designed to take the place of,
substitute, or replace any form and method of professional or medical advice
and treatment or medicine. All content is the author’s opinion and is not
intended to diagnose and remedy. The facts and figures contained in this
document are presented solely for informational and educational purposes