GERD/Acid Reflux? Don't Take Acid-Suppressing Drugs--Try DGL Licorice

According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month and some studies have suggested that more than 15 million Americans experience heartburn symptoms each day. This condition is also referred to as heart burn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

This is a health epidemic with disastrous consequences. The disaster is made worse by the medications that are commonly used to treat the condition. Every day millions of people are using antacids such as Tums, or acid-blocking drugs such as Tagamet, Zantac, Prilosec, Nexium, etc. As a health-oriented pharmacist, these drugs drive me crazy. I want to explain why these drugs cause additional health problems, and offer a natural therapy that is very effective.

First let me explain the problem with the medications that neutralize or shut down or shut down acid production. Hydrochloric acid, which is normally produced by cells in the lining of the stomach, is critical for the digestion of food, especially protein. A slightly acidic condition in the intestinal tract is also required for the absorption of many vitamins and minerals. Taking medications that neutralize or shut down acid production shifts the acid/base balance in the GI tract to a more alkaline condition which inhibits digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.

One of the books I've written is titled The Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook. In this book I list dozens of scientific studies that acid-suppressing drugs deplete vitamin B12, vitamin D, folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc. Over time, these nutrient depletions create other health problems and then people go to their doctor to get more drugs. Some of the health problems that can be caused by these nutrient depletions include osteoporosis, heart disease, birth defects, anemia and an overall weakening of the immune system. Also, lack of acid enables undigested protein to be dumped from the stomach into the intestinal tract where a process called protein putrefaction occurs. This is the rotting of undigested protein, which results in the production of carcinogens that increase the risk of bladder and colon cancer. Folks, please DO NOT start taking acid-suppressing drugs to treat the symptoms of acid reflux.

Here is a good solution. Go to your local health food store and buy a product called DGL licorice. Licorice has been used for centuries to treat digestive disorders. DGL licorice is a chewable tablet or wafer. When one or two DGL licorice tablets are chewed, they mix with saliva and turn into a rather slimy mass that slides down the throat to provide a protective layer to the cells that line the esophagus. DGL licorice can even help heal ulcers because they promote the release of salivary compounds that stimulate the growth and repair of stomach and intestinal cells. Many people chew DGL licorice wafers regularly before meals and at bedtime. Other people just use them occasionally at the first sign of acid indigestion.

Some other tips to avoid acid reflux include the following:
a) don't go to bed with a full stomach or lie down within 3 hours of eating
b) avoid foods and drinks that can be triggers such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate, high-fat foods, etc.
c) eat small meals/don't overeat
d) eat slowly and chew your food until it turns to liquid
e) avoid processed and fast foods

That's all for now. Eat healthy and be well.

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