FOUND: The REAL Cause of Heartburn (No, It Isn’t Stomach Acid)

In All Health Watch, Featured Article

It’s a game-changer for the millions of people who suffer from heartburn…

Researchers have pinpointed the true cause of acid reflux—and it’s not what doctors have been saying for more than 80 years.

Scientists at the University of Texas and Dallas VA Medical Center have discovered that inflammation—not stomach acid—causes heartburn.

The researchers looked at patients who had been treated for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs are one of the world’s biggest-selling medications. They include Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole).

These drugs block stomach acid production. The research team hypothesized that the subjects’ GERD would redevelop if they stopped using PPIs. This would allow them to analyze the very earliest stages of the disease, something that had never been done before.

When the patients started developing heartburn, researchers found the resulting esophageal damage was not consistent with stomach acid burns. Something else was causing the damage.

It turns out that proteins called cytokines were the culprit. They were triggering the pain and esophagus damage of heartburn.

Cytokines incite inflammation. They have become well known in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. Cytokines can overwhelm the lungs in COVID-19 patients, causing a “cytokine storm.” The massive inflammation can be deadly.

Something similar happens with heartburn, but on a smaller scale, and in the gut instead of the lungs.

PPIs do nothing to eliminate the cytokine inflammation that causes heartburn. They reduce stomach acid, which causes pain when it comes in contact with the already-inflamed esophagus.

In other words, they fight a symptom, not the cause of heartburn.

What’s more, these drugs have serious side effects. They include bone fractures, pneumonia, and weight gain.[i]

Dr. Rhonda Souza works in the department of gastroenterology at the Dallas VA Medical Center. She co-authored the study and suggests that the goal of GERD treatment should be to reduce inflammation not stomach acid.

“Someday, we might treat GERD with medications that target cytokines or inflammatory cells that really cause damage to the esophagus,” she said.[ii]

Right now, there are no anti-inflammatory heartburn drugs. It could take many years for them to be developed and approved by the FDA. And when they are approved, who know what dangerous side effects they will come with?

Fortunately, there are safe, drug-free solutions to reduce the inflammation that triggers heartburn.

5 Natural Ways to Beat Reflux

Don’t rely on Big Pharma for heartburn relief. Drug companies’ first allegiance is to their shareholders…NOT to your health. Profits are their priority. There are better, non-pharmaceutical methods that effectively treat reflux.

Here are five natural solutions that tame heartburn by fighting the root cause of the problem: inflammation.

  1. Aloe vera. It contains compounds that reduce inflammation. Simply squeeze a tablespoon of gel from a fresh aloe vera leaf into water. Mix well and drink. Commercial aloe juice also works. It’s available in health food stores and online.[iii] [iv]
  1. Organic greens. They are rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation. Your best bets include broccoli, celery, asparagus, and green beans.
  1. Wild-caught fish. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Salmon also contains astaxanthin. It’s a potent antioxidant shown to improve acid reflux symptoms in as little as four weeks.[v] [vi]
  1. According to Dr. David Williams, ginger root powder can relieve heartburn more effectively than a PPI. Grate fresh ginger root onto your meals or take a daily 1,000 mg supplement.[vii]
  1. Coconut oil. This healthy saturated fat kills harmful bacteria that can cause inflammation, ulcers. and lead to reflux.[viii]

About 20% of Americans suffer from GERD. Severe cases can lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. It is linked to cancer. Research shows that reducing inflammation—not stomach acid—is the key to ending this health scourge.

Editor’s Note: Unlike much of the mainstream media, we don’t accept advertising from Big Pharma. That’s why you can count on us for unbiased medical information. Our only motivation is your good health.

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[iv] Koufman, Jamie, Sonia Huang, and Philip Gelb. Dr. Koufman’s Acid Reflux Diet: 111 All New Reflux-friendly Recipes, including Vegan & Gluten-free. Katalitix Media, 2015. 50. Print.