Reflux of gastric contents back into the esophagus is normal in human physiology. However, when this reflux begins to present itself with symptoms, mucosal injury, or both, GERD is diagnosed. GERD is typically associated with heartburn but some patients have the same GERD diagnosis without any signs of reflux. Regurgitation can also occur is there is a rise of gastric content up into the mouth without nausea.
GERD is fairly common and has a higher incidence in the west, leading to researchers drawing a connection between obesity and GERD symptoms. A common cause of GERD is transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs). Unlike other reflux causes, this is not associated with swallowing but rather is triggered by gastric distention. TLESRs occurs in 20-second intervals and is reduced when individuals eat less.
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One way to reduce GERD is to “cut the C.R.A.P”. C.R.A.P stands for dietary items that if eliminated, will significantly reduce the frequency of GERD and its associated symptoms. “C” represents coffee, cigarettes, and chocolate. “R” for refined carbohydrates, also known as sugars. “A” acidic foods, alcohol, and allergic foods. Allergic foods represent those foods in which you may have an intolerance or sensitivity to, upsetting the gastrointestinal tract furthermore. “P” represents pop, peppermint, and progesterone.
There are prescription treatments that can help reduce the symptoms of GERD but many reports show that they do not effectively reduce symptoms in most patients. To that extent, there are natural supplements that have proven to be effective in symptom reduction. Depending on the individual, a health care provider might consider adding one or some of these supplements to your daily routine to reduce heartburn:
- Aloe Vera Leaf Inner Fillet Extract
- N-Acetyl Glucosamine
- Licorice Root
When creating a treatment plan, it is important to first correct the underlying cause of reflux. Additionally, improving gastric emptying and motility are also vital steps. Lastly, improve pancreatic enzyme levels. With the right laboratory testing, supplementation, and health care team, GERD symptoms can be reduced!
Similar to other health conditions involving the gastrointestinal tract. GERD and heartburn are not comfortable. There is no reason to suffer through these symptoms when natural treatment plans are available! Similar to other health conditions, ensure you are under the proper care and inquire about testing and treatment options to relieve your GERD symptoms. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Sandberg-Lewis, Steven. “Functional Approach to GERD Diagnosis and Treatment.” 8 May 2020, www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/members/1064.cfm.
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