Find out if you have one of these 11 GERD risk factors, that increase your chances of developing the disease.
In this article, I will show you how to overcome these risk factors and how you can get rid of your GERD for good!
We will cover the following areas:
Simply stated, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is acid reflux that occurs more than twice weekly.
In 90% of acid reflux cases, the cause is due to an issue with the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).
The LES is a bundle of muscles on the lower end of the esophagus.
When it is closed, it prevents stomach contents from traveling up into the throat.
It is not under voluntary control, rather it is signaled to close by the acidity and pressure in your stomach.
Below are some of the risk factors that may be adversely affecting LES function:
- Acid Reflux Medications — Studies show acid blockers and antacids reduce acidity which blocks signals to close the LES
- Hiatal Hernia — A hiatal hernia can contribute to the weakening of the LES or vice versa
- Stress — Like, surgery stress reduces the production of stomach acids, this unbalance disrupts LES function
- Surgery — Surgeries can halt the production of stomach acids, this unbalance disrupts LES function
- Obesity — Being overweight exerts pressure on the stomach which may contributed to regurgitation
- Smoking — Studies have shown that smoking can contribute to a weakening of the LES
- Drinking — Studies have shown that excess drinking can cause a weakening of the LES
- Medications — asthma, blood pressure, depression medications, sedatives, antidepressants, narcotics, and tranquilizers
- Asthma — Studies have linked excess coughing, pressure on lungs, and medicinal impacts on LES strength
- Peptic Ulcers — Causes reflux as food does not move from the stomach to the small intestine efficiently
- Pregnancy — Higher levels of progesterone can relax the LES; in addition, the fetus exerts pressure on the stomach
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If you have acid reflux / GERD, the following may aggravate your condition:
- Alcohol — alcohol has been shown to impair the LES’ ability to contract or close
- Caffeine — All forms of caffeine including coffee, tea, soft drinks, and cocoa can relax the LES
- Trigger foods — Fatty, fried, tomato, garlic, onions, mint, spicy foods
- Foods that relax the LES — (butter / margarine, creamy sauces, mayo, salad dressing, whole milk, peppermint, chocolate)
- Eating at night — Try and eat 2-3 hours prior to laying down as undigested food can more easily migrate when laying down
- Large meals — Large meals can take longer to digest and put pressure on your stomach
- Tight clothing — Belts, tight jeans, and shirts put pressure on your stomach, leading to regurgitation
- Anti-Inflammatory drugs like aspirin — These stress the lining of your stomach
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In response to many of the above risk factors, the stomach reduces the production of stomach acids.
In the case of prolonged use of acid / H2 blocker medicines and antacids, stomach acid is reduced to dangerously low levels.
As a result, digestion slows and there is insufficient intraabdominal pressure to signal the LES to close.
Furthermore, in low stomach environments it is common to experience bacteria overgrowth which produce excess gas.
How to take Betain HCl
HCl is tremendously beneficial to digestive health when taken properly:
- Those with ulcers should not use HCL.
- Individuals taking medicines such as steroids or anti-inflammatories should not use HCL as the combination can damage the GI lining
- HCL should primarily be taken with meals containing proteins as not as much stomach acid is needed for digesting vegetables and fruits.
- It is important to figure out the correct dose of HCL so that your sphincters close and you are able to stop taking your reflux medications:
To find your ideal dose:
- Eat a protein rich meal; vegetarians can try protein rich sources such as beans, soy, nuts etc...
- Start with one 650mg pill (lower dose for vegetarians) in the middle of your meal
- Observe reactions in your body, specifically in your stomach; you are looking for heaviness or warmth
- If you dont observe this, try increasing the dose of HCl with your next meal
- Keep increasing until you notice the heaviness or warmth as mentioned above
- When this happens you will know your ideal dosage is 1 pill less
- Some never experience the warmth, so if your typical reflux symptoms are managed, you are likely at the right dose
- You may find that low to no HCl is for meals that are low in protein (easier to digest)
- Over time, as your acidity recovers you will find that you need less and less HCl
- The warmth will be your signal to reduce your dose
- Note that some do not experience the warmth and will just experiment with lower doses periodically to see if can be reduced
- When you are down to a single pill per meal, and you get that warmth you have fully recovered from your reflux
- At this point, you can discontinue the supplements!
As noted above, it is important to get the right dose of HCl. For more details on this, you can get my transition guide and personal journal sent to you automatically here:
Acid Reflux Drugs and Vitamin Deficiency
If by chance, you have been taking acid blockers for an extend period of time, you are likely B12 and Magnesium deficient (click here for symptoms).You can take the following supplements to reverse the vitamin deficiency created by long term use of these medicines.[/su_note]
For more detailed explanations and a listing of common symptoms and side effects, see this supplements for acid reflux article.
I hope this article was helpful to you!
Now, I want to hear from you:
Which risk factor or symptoms are you experiencing ? What are you most excited to try?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment!
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