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Holistic Medicine Secrets: Stomach Acid - Discover Why Heartburn Medications Make It Worse

Nov 30, 2007
Ironically, many people take drugs such as Prevacid and Prilosec for reducing heartburn, but in reality, stomach acid declines as we age.

People think they have heartburn, because their stomach acid backs up in the esophagus due to poor digestion caused by a lack of stomach acid.

Put another way, stomach acid is required for absorption. A lack of stomach acid can cause poor digestion which can cause the acid to move up the esophagus. This displacement of stomach acid causes people to think they have too. But in reality, we don't have enough!

How to improve your digestion?

First, stop taking acid blocking medications such as Prilosec and Prevacid. These medications are making your impaired digestion - due to a lack of stomach acid - even worse.

Second, start taking betaine hydrochloride - an acid that can support digestion when taken with meals.

A betaine hydrochloride supplement can be purchased at health food stores.

In order to ensure proper dosage of betaine hydrochloride, you could start out with a dose as low as 150 milligrams and gradually increase this amount up to 600 milligrams. If warmth or burning is experienced in the upper abdomen, you should return to the previous lower dose.

In my practice, I have seen patients clear their perceived heartburn problems by taking betaine hydrochloride, and stopping their intake of acid blocking drugs.

This may seem paradoxical but the key is to do everything possible to improve your digestive function, and adding stomach acid (betaine hydrochloride) is a very good place to start.

It's also a good idea to support digestion by taking digestive enzymes in conjunction with the betaine hydrochloride. Digestive enzymes, such as pancreatic enzymes or vegetable enzymes should be taken with meals.

In addition to perceived heartburn, poor digestion causes our bodies to digest protein (and other nutrients) less efficiently, yet amino acids from protein are critical components of good health.

Protein deficiency can cause muscle mass to decrease. Also, our brain needs protein because the neurotransmitters in our brain are made out of the amino acids from protein. Both the function of muscle building and the manufacturing of neurotransmitters in the brain rely on the amino acids found in protein.

A long term affect of poor digestion is the tendency to develop food intolerances - when our body reacts to certain foods by creating antibodies against them. Food intolerances can lead to many symptoms such as sluggishness, fatigue, migraines, gastrointestinal problems especially diarrhea, inflammation & swelling.
About the Author
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Dr. Lisa Hosbein, MD, FACOG - The Wellness Doctor at Holistic Medicine
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