Acid reflux is a common condition that most people suffer from at some stage in their life. The main symptom is a burning sensation in the lower chest as the acid contents of the stomach rise up into the tender esophagus causing an unpleasant effect. This condition is often known as heartburn, pyrosis or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Acid reflux causes include smoking, hiatal hernia, pregnancy, medications, lack of exercise, stress, eating certain foods, overeating and obesity. If left untreated, acid reflux can lead to more serious diseases, including tissue damage and cancer. It is important to prevent the cause of the acid reflux and then treat any residual tissue damage left by the incident.
Here are five supplements that are known to soothe and protect irritated tissue, fight pylori bacterial infections and support a healthy digestive process.
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)
DGL is a natural balm for the inflamed skin in the esophagus caused by acid reflux. This form of licorice has had the glycyrrhizin removed which may otherwise cause high blood pressure.
DGL is known to aid digestion and has excellent healing and antiviral properties. It works by increasing the layer of mucus that lines the digestive tract, providing a protective barrier and allowing the tissue to heal.
Licorice also controls the release of cortisol from the adrenalin glands which is often triggered by stress, so it may help treat the cause as well as the results of acid reflux.
Anyone who has used aloe vera on sunburn will appreciate the cooling and soothing properties of this natural gel. In some forms it may have a laxative effect, but taken as fresh juice (without the leaf latex) it will soothe the symptoms and promote healing in the digestive tract. The recommended amount of Aloe Vera juice is 4-8 fluid ounces a day. This may be taken more easily if mixed with your favorite juice.
Forget those fluffy white sugary sweets; marshmallow root is a natural herb that has excellent soothing properties for the stomach and esophagus. It can be taken as a capsule but is most effective for healing the esophagus if the powder is mixed with 4-6 ounces of fluid and drunk twice a day. Marshmallow root contains many polysaccharides which have been found in clinical trials to effectively soothe, heal and moisturize damaged tissue throughout the body.
Zinc and carnosine are both known to be natural healers and when combined they are as powerful as any pharmaceutical treatment for the stomach. It has been shown to be highly effective in many studies and is used in Japan as a prescription medication for stomach ulcers.
Zinc carnosine increases the insulin growth factor hormone and reduces the inflammatory compounds often present with stomach problems. It also absorbs toxins produced by pylori bacteria which can otherwise cause ulcers and sores in the stomach and digestive tract.
The herb Ulmas Fulva, better known as Slippery Elm, is similar to aloe vera as the extract is high in plant polysaccharides which coat and heal the tissue damage caused by acid reflux. Although Slippery Elm can be taken as a capsule, best results are found when it is taken as a tea or lozenge, which gives maximum exposure of the Slippery Elm to the gastrointestinal tract.
Take Slippery Elm twice a day by dissolving one teaspoon of the elm bark powder in hot water and sipping slowly. Not only is it good for the esophagus, it also treats an upset stomach.
If you have intermittent acid reflux, taking these natural remedies should help counter both the cause and the effect of this unpleasant condition before it becomes more serious.