Many (many!) people experience symptoms of acid reflux. However, what most people don’t know is that it is very rarely due to an excess production of stomach acid. Most of the time, it is due to too little stomach acid production – a condition often referred to as hypoacidity. The fix then for most people is not medications to suppress or neutralize stomach acid; the solution is to address the reasons for the hypoacidity.
Symptoms of Hypoacidity
There are many ways to differentiate hypoacidity from hyperacidity; while everybody can experience this condition differently, in general, hypoacidity symptoms include: excessive burping, fullness for extended periods of time after eating, bloating, poor appetite, history of constipation, food allergies and having an easily upset stomach. People with hypoacidity often feel like food just “sits like a rock” in their stomach; like it doesn’t digest, but just sits there and ferments.
Luckily, there are several ways to find natural relief from acid reflux due to hypoacidity.
Natural Relief for Acid Reflux Due to Hypoacidity
- Chew your food until it is a liquid (that’s at LEAST 30 times before swallowing). Chewing your food will not only break it up into smaller pieces, the act of chewing stimulates the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid. Your stomach doesn’t have teeth, so the only way it can try to break down food is through contracting the smooth muscle in the stomach wall; the problem is, that too much churning can cause the valve at the top of the stomach to pop open causing acid reflux. You can also try chewing gum after eating.
- Get hydrated. Proper hydration is absolutely essential for proper stomach acid production. Drink one-half your body weight in ounces every day. The real key to proper hydration is spreading out that water throughout the day – aim for 2-4 ounces of water every 20-30 minutes.
- Drink minimal liquids with meals. We don’t want to dilute the digestive juices any more than necessary, so try and limit water and/or other liquids with meals. Skip any drinks that are cold/contain ice altogether.
- Cook/steam most of your food (including fruits and vegetables) until your digestion improves, then start adding back raw produce as tolerated.
- Decrease cow’s dairy, red meat, sugar and gluten. All are difficult to digest and right now, we need to make digestion as easy as possible.
- Try apple cider vinegar. Try taking 1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in water, apple juice or in salad dressing (my favorite) before meals. This can help stimulate stomach acid production and provide natural relief for acid reflux.
- Go for a walk after eating. Research has shown that going for a 15-20 minute walk after eating can get the digestive juices flowing and improve digestion.
- Supplement when necessary. Generally, you should start with a full spectrum probiotic that is dairy-free – like Ortho Biotic – as well as something to heal up the lining of the GI tract. We recommend Glutagenics or GI Revive for this purpose – 1 tsp taken before meals in 4-6 ounces of liquid. If additional digestive support is needed, digestive enzymes – like Ortho Digestyme – or even hydrochloric acid taken with meals can help.
It is possible to find natural relief from acid reflux, especially when it is due to hypoacidity. If you have several of the hypoacidity symptoms, use the recommendations above to find relief.