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What Causes Acid Reflux?

by Dr. Lance McClure

Summer Cookout

Who doesn’t love a good party, especially one with great food? Maybe you didn’t eat as well as you could have, though. Maybe you overate. Now you’re experiencing heartburn, or perhaps you can taste a bitter acid in your mouth. It’s unpleasant and may cause you to leave the party early. This could just be an isolated incident because you overate, but if you experience these symptoms more than twice a week, it’s probably acid reflux disease. So what causes acid reflux?

Causes of Acid Reflux

Along with certain dietary habits, aging is a common culprit. Multiple studies have shown that as we earn more candles on our cakes, we start producing less hydrochloric acid, a component of the gastric acid that breaks down food in our stomachs. This means that our food has to stay in our stomachs longer, which causes it to deteriorate the protective mucous coating that prevents gastric acid from eating a hole in our stomachs. The food eats the mucus away and irritates the stomach, which in turn causes an upset stomach and symptoms of acid reflux.

Options for Treatment

Many people suffering from acid reflux take pharmaceutical drugs called proton-pump inhibitors, which go even further in preventing hydrochloric acid from being produced. Proton-pump inhibitors work to prevent gastric acid from irritating your stomach, and they generally must be taken regularly. Due to the lower levels of hydrochloric acid, however, food is still spending too much time in your stomach because it’s not getting broken down as quickly as it should. This can prevent your body from obtaining essential nutrients from your food. Your body may also fail to break down fats and carbohydrates due to low levels of hydrochloric acid, which, in turn, can cause problems with blood pressure and cholesterol.

A few natural home remedies have been effective for many people, like drinking warm lemon water on an empty stomach. Do this 15 to 20 minutes before eating anything else.

By increasing the amount of hydrochloric acid, your food digests normally and passes through your stomach like it should without eating away all of the protective mucus. Certain supplements can help with acid reflux. Talk to one of our doctors to see which supplement could help you, or schedule a nutritional evaluation to determine your health needs.

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