Contrary to the claims of orthodox medicine, stomach acid is NOT the enemy. On the contrary, we need it to digest food and absorb nutrients. Gastric acid is also an important part of your immune system. It helps protect you from harmful bacteria – such as Heliobacter pylori, which feels great in low acid environments and is a major cause of stomach and duodenal ulcers, gastritis or even cancer of the digestive system.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is a very common and usually painful disorder of the stomach caused by overproduction but also by low production of gastric acid.
Painful digestive disorders are related and cause similar symptoms. These symptoms usually develop in phases.
In the case of acid reflux, patients suffer from reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus. As the disease progresses, doctors often diagnose GERD, which differs from acid reflux in severity.
In common parlance one speaks of heartburn. One of the most important symptoms of GERD is frequent chest pain and burning. The English term “heartbrun” is derived from this. Other symptoms include difficulty swallowing, difficulty keeping food or fluids with you (very common in young children), coughing, wheezing and chest pain. These symptoms often occur at night.
It is estimated that 60 percent of Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a year; 20 to 30 percent suffer at least once a week. Alarmingly, the incidence of weekly heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms has increased by 50 percent over the past decade. A Norwegian study conducted by scientists over a period of eleven years found that the proportion of the population suffering from acid reflux increased from 11 percent to 17 percent over the period. A similar increase was recorded in the USA and other industrialised countries.
The occasional occurrence of acid reflux is not a bad thing for most people. However, research shows that people who suffer from chronic heartburn for prolonged periods of time are at higher risk of serious illness. These include esophageal narrowing, esophagitis and inflammation of the esophagus.
Gastric acid is not the enemy
However, stomach acid is NOT the enemy – although it is often portrayed as such. On the contrary, we need it to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Gastric acid is an important part of the immune system. It helps protect the body from harmful bacteria – such as Heliobacter pylori, which is really at home in low acid environments and is a major cause of stomach and duodenal ulcers, gastritis or even cancer of the digestive system.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disease of the esophagus. It is irritated or inflamed when acid enters the esophagus from the stomach. The esophagus – better known as the esophagus – is a tube that extends from the neck to the stomach. Food is transported from the mouth through the esophagus into the stomach.
After a meal, the stomach produces hydrochloric acid so that the food can be digested. The inner lining of the stomach is not attacked by the acid. The cells of the inner stomach wall secrete large amounts of protective mucus. However, the esophagus has no such protective mechanisms and can therefore be damaged by gastric acid. The esophagus is located directly behind the heart. This is why the term “heartburn” is sometimes used to describe the pain caused by gastric acid in the esophagus.
Normally, a muscle ring at the lower end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter, prevents gastric acid from running back. When swallowed, this muscle relaxes so that the food can pass through. It then tightens so that food particles or acid cannot flow in the opposite direction. With GERD, however, this muscle also relaxes when no food is swallowed. The stomach contents (food components and stomach acid) can accumulate in the oesophagus and attack the inner wall.
About one fifth of all Americans are affected by GERD. The disease occurs not only in adults, but also in children and even infants.
The ascending acid can cause a whole range of complaints. Untreated (or incorrectly treated), prolonged acid reflux can cause serious damage.
Gastric acid deficiency
Acid reflux symptoms are not only caused by too much stomach acid. Rather, many experts suspect the opposite, namely that too little gastric acid triggers the symptoms.
Acid reflux occurs when gastric acid accumulates in the esophagus, which connects the throat to the stomach. The acid can enter the esophagus due to a damaged valve, which can have various causes. If the esophageal valve that connects the esophagus to the stomach does not close properly, this opens the door to the intrusion of gastric acid. This changes the gastric acid content in the stomach, leading to altered digestion and often unpleasant side effects.
Now every person is different and reacts differently to different foods or triggers for acid reflux. However, a number of factors have been identified which often contribute to the development of acid reflux or GERD. Read more about acid reflux from Coach Frog website and learn more about common causes of reflux and how to treat immediately.