If you had had no prior experience with the affliction known as heartburn, you might think, given the name, that it sounded like the title of the song you wrote following the break up with your first sweetheart.
But, for the 60 million or so Americans that suffer from Acid Indigestion regularly, many would contend that the pain, while not as bad as losing your first love, is a persistent annoyance.
Heartburn is the common name for Acid Indigestion, or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Most people will experience it at some point in their lives, because many things are thought to trigger it. Overeating or eating certain kinds of foods are well known offenders, as well as drinking alcohol and smoking. Many people say that only eating certain types of food will set their esophagus and chest aflame.
The gut is an interesting, not to mention terribly important, place. Many health practitioners say that good health and strong immunity begin and end with a healthy gut. Even when I was growing up, my dad the doc would tell me even if I was hesitant to eat something like, say, a piece of sushi for fear of food poisoning, “Eat up; your stomach acid will take care of it.”
The acid in your stomach is an important line of defense against many invading microbes. And obviously, it is the place where your food is digested, and therefore the source of your sustenance. When there is a lack of balance in the gut, problems ensue, and often, it is the first place they are noticed. Lynn Jennings regularly says in her newsletter pieces, that if a patient comes in with any sort of systemic problem, she assumes they have dysbyosis in their guts.
So how does someone go about throwing their gut out of balance? Mycotoxins might be the first culprits we should look at; mycotoxins are notorious for destroying good bacteria in the gut. This lack of good bacteria has a number of domino-like effects, but essentially it creates a power vacuum, leaving space for other, less friendly microbes to culture. Interestingly, two of the triggers mentioned above (alcohol and smoking) are two very direct ways that mycotoxins can enter our bodies.
Certain types of food, notably corn and wheat, are universally and commonly contaminated with mycotoxins, respectively. Also, these foods along with sugar are the best nourishment pathogenic fungi could hope for; once on board, these fungi, if allowed to flourish, can produce mycotoxins internally that will aid in throwing your gut off balance. Drugs, especially antibiotics, can also destroy good bacteria. When all of these things are combined, they can wreak havoc on your stomach. It almost comes as no surprise that Americans experience stomach symptoms like Acid Indigestion so commonly.
Acid Indigestion has afflicted many people in my family, self included on occasion. It is so bad for some of my family members that they stay on drugs to get relief from it. These drugs help to limit the amount of stomach acid that gets secreted. But since that stomach acid acts as an integral part of the immune system, it doesn’t seem like the best idea to limit its production. So what are the options?
First and foremost, dietary change is a powerful tool. As someone who has suffered from reflux, I can attest to the Kaufmann 1 diet’s efficacy in eliminating the condition. When I eat Kaufmann 1, I simply do not experience heartburn. Restoring the balance in the gut is perhaps as important, though, and this is why probiotics are so integral. Even mainstream medical practitioners have come around lately on the importance of these “good guy” bacteria. Doug usually recommends including these in your supplement regimen. Plain yogurt (sans all the corn syrup and sugar) is also a good thing to incorporate into your diet.
If you are someone who suffers from heartburn, give the Kaufmann 1 Diet and probiotics a try; you may be able to avoid drugs altogether.