October 6, 2014

by Margie King, Health Coach

(GreenMedInfo.com) Here are five natural heartburn remedies that went head to head with drugs and won.

Whether you call it heartburn, acid reflux, GERD, or just indigestion, the discomfort is unmistakable. It’s a sour taste at the back of your throat… a burning sensation in the middle of your chest… a persistent dry cough… a painful sensation in your stomach.

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Over 60 million Americans get the symptoms at least once a month. And millions every day reach for over-the-counter antacids like Tums. Others rely on histamine blockers like Tagamet (cimetidine), Pepcid (famotidine), or Zantac (famotidine).

Heartburn is now so widespread that the third leading class of drugs on the market is proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These drugs include Prilosec (omeprazole), Nexium (pantoprazole), and Prevacid (lansoprazole).

Proton Pump Inhibitors were originally prescribed for short-term treatment of peptic ulcers. But today long-term use of these drugs is common for the relief of heartburn and acid reflux. And they’ve been associated with a long list of serious side effects including:

Vitamin B12 deficiency
Deficiencies of magnesium, zinc and calcium
Increased bone and hip fractures
Irritable bowel disease
Pneumonia
Vitamin C Deficiency
Gastric Cancer
Myopathies
Cognitive malfunction
Food allergies
Clostridium Difficile Diarrhea (C. Diff)

[View the entire list of 30+ adverse effects on GreenMedInfo’s Acid Blocker Research page.]

And none of those pharmaceutical remedies get to the immediate triggers or the root cause of acid reflux. Some aren’t even very good at relieving the symptoms.

Here are five natural remedies that went head to head with drugs and won.

1. Melatonin Beats Prilosec.

Brazilian researchers conducted a single blind randomized study of patients suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Every day half the patients took 20 mg of omeprazole (Prilosec). The other half took a supplement containing melatonin as well as l-tryptophan, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, methionine and betaine.

After just 40 days 100% of the melatonin group had a complete remission of their symptoms. But only 65.7% of the Prilosec group got relief.[i]

Another study of 34 GERD sufferers found that melatonin accelerates the healing effect of omeprazole and therefore shortens the duration of treatment and minimizes adverse side effects.[ii]

And a case study published in Alternative Therapies In Health and Medicine reported that a 64 year-old woman with GERD wanted an alternative to PPIs because she already suffered from osteoporosis. Her doctor found that after 40 days on 6 mg of melatonin she was able to discontinue her PPI without returning symptoms.[iii]

2. Gluten-Free Diet (GFD) Rapidly Improves GERD

Foods containing gluten are a frequent cause of heartburn. Eliminating gluten can resolve the problem.

A study in Argentina evaluated 133 adult celiac disease patients and 70 healthy controls. For four years the participants answered questionnaires about GERD symptoms.[iv]

At the beginning of the study 30.1% of the celiac patients had moderate to severe GERD compared to 5.7% of the healthy controls. After just three months on a gluten-free diet, celiac patients rapidly improved their GERD symptoms. Their symptom rates dropped to those of healthy controls.

And Italian researchers found that a gluten-free diet resolved non-erosive reflux disease in celiac patients after just eight weeks with no recurrence at 12, 18 and 24 months.[v]

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