GERD - What is It?

GERD - What is It?

Have you been trying to get rid of GERD or heartburn following all of the usual advice – elimination diets, drinking apple cider vinegar and nothing seems to work?

Maybe there is another reason we get GERD that has very little to do with making too much stomach acid – the usual noted cause of GERD.

Over the holidays, I began to suffer with GERD keeping me up at night and of course, I blamed it on what I was eating and drinking.  I did my usual AlkaSeltzer Gold and baking soda and got some relief but that really didn’t work either.  What did I have at the same time – IBS, Chronic Stress, Insomnia, Sports Injury…

GERD or gastroesophageal reflex disorder is a really a disruption of the normal hormones of our digestive system that regulates the production of stomach acid, digestive enzymes and flow of stomach contents.  Phew!

Hormones that are released from the hypothalamus (brain) signals the release of hydrochloric acid (HCL) and gastrin as soon as we smell, taste, see or even the thought of food occurs.  Enzymes, to break down protein in our food, are also released at this time.  Without HCL and these enzymes, proteins are not completely broken down and that leads to a myriad of side effects including the lack of absorption of vitamin B12, dysbiosis, SIBO and for some chronic fatigue.

In the second phase of digestion, hormones are released that reduce the acidity and instruct the release of the stomach content into the small intestine.  If there is a reduction of these hormones, the content of the stomach just sits there.  Eventually, it can back up and force relaxation of the esophagus – leading to the feeling of heartburn, coughing, pain and even ulcers.

Ever felt like your food is just sitting there?

What causes the disruption of these digestive hormones?

  • Standard American Diet – High in sugar, unhealthy fats, processed food, commercially raise meats and low in healthy vegetables and fruits.
  • Medications – Asthma Medications, Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Meds), Birth Control, Sleeping Meds, Anti-depressants
  • Antibiotic Use – This leads to dysbiosis and eventually can promotes GERD.  This especially true with chronic use of anti-biotics.
  • Gut Flora Imbalances or Dysbiosis – Most people who suffer with GERD also suffer from IBS (constipation and diarrhea), SIBO, leaky gut.
  • Estrogen Imbalance – Estrogen dominance which can occur even with post-menopausal women, has been found to be a factor in GERD.
  • Chronic Stress – The release of digestive hormones are highly dependent on the hypothalamus and the release of neurotransmitters that promote healthy digestion

What can you do to get relief?

  • Most medications like Prilosec, Zantac and even Tums can be even more disruptive over time on this hormonal balance and lead the very cause of GERD – IBS and dysbiosis.  Many of the herbal products can be used for temporary relief but
  • Herbals Recommendation – Ginger, Aloe Vera, Turmeric and DGL Licorice.  I often recommend a product by Designs for Health – GastroMend works great for those struggle with GERD and for those trying to get off of GERD medications.  As my client, you will receive 15-20% off professional products so if you are struggling with GERD, please contact me for your recommendation.
  • Digestive Enzymes – My favorite digestive enzymes are by Integrative Therapeutics – Similase.  Always start with the Similase for sensitive stomach product before using the products as they contain betaine or essentially, HCL.
  • AlkaSeltzer Gold – This product is basically baking soda and can give temporary relief.  Make sure to get the AlkaSeltzer GOLD which does not contain aspirin.  This product like many others that are used for GERD should not be taken on a regular basis.  The discussion of how this effects our total digestion is another blog in itself.

Food Sensitivities Testing – Many times I have relieved client's GERD just with the testing of food sensitivities as it is usually not a food that one would suspect like pineapple or turkey.  LEAP is the comprehensive program that starts the healing process of your gut with lab testing followed by 5-8 weeks of calming and soothing the gut.

Heal the Gut, Healthy You Program – This program includes a comprehensive review of your digestive system addressing these hormonal imbalances, looking at dysbiosis and achieving balance in your digestion.  Included in this program is comprehensive stool testing, hormonal testing for estrogen imbalances and food sensitivities.


How do you control the acid in your stomach? Leave your comments below!