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4 ways to handle heartburn (without using medication).

Heartburn causes so much discomfort it’s easy to reach for a quick fix. However, this approach can make your heartburn worse in the long run. If your GP prescribes proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) you might initially find relief, but before long you will be reliant on them as the rebound reflux without them can be unbearable. The side effects of PPI’s can be harsh. From a nutritional perspective they can leave you deficient in key nutrients and make you more likely to develop digestive issues and food intolerances.

So what is the solution? You must figure out the cause of your heartburn and this can be different for each case. Some of the main options for solving the riddle of heartburn are listed below.

1. Check your vitamin D level.

Check your vitamin D levels and make sure they are around 60 ng/ml. Low levels of vitamin D can cause the lower oesophageal spincter to relax and that means food in the stomach can travel back up the oesophagus causing pain and discomfort.

2. Discover your food intolerances.

Find out if you have any food intolerances that might be affecting your digestion. Often the removal of offending foods is enough to find complete relief. That said the foods causing the problem can be different for each person so you need to test to find out which are a problem for you. If you have been given the standard advice to remove caffeine, fried foods, spicy foods and tomatoes and are still suffering then a food intolerance test is worth trying.

3. Test for H.Pylori.

H. Pylori is a bacteria that can take up residence in the stomach, it can be symptom less but can sometimes be a factor in heartburn. Sometime people taking PPI’s develop H.Pylori because the low acid environment created by the PPI’s is perfectly hospitable for the bacteria to flourish. You can ask your GP to test for H.Pylori, or if they are unable to do you can order a breath test through us. Use this form to let us know what you need.

4. Fine tune your digestion.

If you have heartburn at some point you will need to restore your stomach acid levels. I know that this is contrary to everything you though your knew about heartburn but trust me on this one. It is not too much acid that is causing your symptoms, but rather too little. Your stomach cannot process your meals effectively, because it doesn’t have enough stomach acid to do so. So it sits there for too long and causes bloating, then the pressure increases on your oesophagus and voila you have heartburn. A word of caution though, if you have chronic heartburn you may not be ready to raise your stomach acid at this point. You would need to ensure that there is no low level inflammation in the stomach, a nutritional programme can help with this so do ask for us to help you out.

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Author: Sarah Hanratty

Sarah is a specialist practitioner at the Brain Food Clinic. She has a degree in Nutritional Medicine and is a certified Gut and Psychology Syndrome Practitioner. Sarah helps people to overcome physical and mental health issues using bespoke nutritional protocols.

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