You Should Know this about Heartburn…

Dear Reader,

Do you ever get heartburn?

It’s usually not about stomach acid…

Heartburn is usually a muscle problem. It’s called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It’s a flap that relaxes or opens when food goes down into the stomach. When it’s not being used, it’s supposed to stay shut.

But in the case of heartburn, your LES doesn’t seal completely. This allows stomach acids to back flow into your esophagus. Over time this damages the esophageal lining, leading to inflammation, ulcers, and even cancer of the esophagus.1

The typical treatments for heart burn are antacids such as Tums® and Maalox®. These simple mineral salts neutralize stomach acid and are still popular. Some doctors prescribe H2 blockers like Zantac® and Tagamet®. These medications block the action of histamine, which normally stimulates stomach acid secretion.

You get temporary relief from your symptoms… but they treat the symptom, not the cause.

And here’s the thing: Blocking the production of stomach acid is not healthy. Low stomach acid levels lead to a chronic condition known as hypochlorhdyria. This happens when your body doesn’t have enough stomach acid to digest your food and extract the nutrients. It’s like starving.

This nutritional deficiency opens the door for bacterial and fungal overgrowth and sets the stage for many chronic conditions like adrenal fatigue, high cortisol levels, autoimmune deficiencies, and gastric cancer.2

You don’t need antacids or drugs to fix heartburn.

Start with simple prevention: Try to avoid eating large meals, or to much chocolate, alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine, which are all contributors to LES malfunction. Also choose lean cuts of meat over fatty. Choose olive oil over synthetic dressings, and mild sauce over spicy. This will help keep heartburn under control as well.

If you do get heartburn, try ginger root. Research shows ginger can strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Add one-half teaspoon of freshly grated gingerroot to a cup of hot water. Let the ginger steep for 10 minutes. Strain the ginger and drink.

I also recommend peppermint. Place a wad of peppermint leaves between your molars and chew it for a minute before swallowing. The calming effect on your stomach is almost immediate.

Ginger and peppermint are helpful. But the most effective remedy for heartburn is D-limonene. It’s an extract from orange peel.

In one recent trial, 90% of the people taking D-limonene reported complete relief of their heartburn symptoms in just two weeks. And the effect lasted for six months after they stopped taking it.3

You can find D-limonene at your local health food store.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1. Eckardt VF, Kanzler G, Bernhard G. Life expectancy and cancer risk in patients with Barrett’s esophagus: a prospective controlled investigation. Am J Med. 2001 Jul;111(1):33-7.

2. Sokic-Milutinovic A, Todorovic V, Milosavljevic T. [Pathogenesis of Helicobacter pylori infection–bacterium and host relationship] Srp Arh Celok Lek 2004 Sep-Oct;132(9-10):340-4.

3. Willette RC, Barrow L, Doster R, Wilkins J, Wilkins JS, Heggers JP. Purified d-limonene: an effective agent for the relief of occasional symptoms of heartburn. Proprietary study. WRC Laboratories, Inc. Galveston, TX.