GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease) or acid reflux disease is not a function of too much stomach acid, but, to the contrary, is a function of too LITTLE stomach acid!
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, it’s true. Here’s the explanation.
When there is sufficient stomach acid (Fire), which contains the healthy flora (bacteria) necessary in the digestive process, the esophageal sphincter knows to close tightly so that none of the acid escapes the ‘safe-zone’ where the lining of the stomach is protected by a mucous membrane. When the acid becomes low or neutralized, the sphincter relaxes, allowing some of the noxious liquid to escape. When the acid comes into contact with unprotected tissues, it causes damage and the familiar pain associated with acid reflux disease.
Here’s the really backward part: we treat it conventionally by further neutralizing the stomach acid with antacids (TUMS, Pepto Bismal, etc.). This effectively takes away the symptoms by putting out the Fire where the acid has escaped the ‘safe-zone’, but creates a dependence on the antacid to continue to neutralize that acid that keeps escaping through the flaccid sphincter. As soon as we stop taking those TUMS, the pain comes back! Why? The problem isn’t due to the acidity of the stomach fluid, the problem is that this fluid is allowed to escape the ‘safe-zone’.
Albeit a good business model, this treatment does nothing to help the patient over time, and does everything to create the dependency necessary to sell more Tums! (Typical, right?)
And when this fails, we’re instructed to take antibiotics!! This kills off all of the bacteria, including all the good ones we need for digestion!
What really needs to happen is that we must ACIDIFY the fluids of the stomach. In doing so, the sphincter is instructed by the body to protect the zone outside the ‘safe-zone’ by squeezing tight, preventing the fluid from leaking out.
Here’s how we should be treating acid-reflux.
In Barrett’s Syndrome (chronic acid reflux), when experiencing acute symptoms acid reflux (burning pain in the area of the solar-plexus) consume one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar stirred into a glass of water. Once the acute symptoms have subsided, continue to acidify the stomach fluids by supplementing with hydrochloric acid pills. This will cause the sphincter to tighten down, preventing the acid from leaking out of the ‘safe-zone’.
Now that the Fire is under control, here are some easy dietary recommendations to maintain this state of balance. Eat warm meals. The Western diet of cold meals (breads, pastries, salads, greasy foods, refined foods) contributes to neutralizing the healthy flora in the gut. Try replacing the ‘sandwich’ lunch with a hot soup containing Gai Lan. Avoid eating too many raw veggies, opt instead to eat them slightly steamed.
It is not recommended to attempt this treatment unless under the guidance of a trained health-care practitioner.