Do you feel the burn?
By “burn” I mean heartburn, the most common backlash of GERD (or gastroesophageal reflux), which literally flows back and bites you right in the esophagus where there is no protective lining. Roughly 15-million people in the U.S. struggle with heartburn discomfort every single day, according to research from gastroenterologists at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. But the good news is you can put out the fire using antacids along with these tried and tested heartburn treatments…
1. Try Elevated Sleeping
The most common signal of heartburn is a acidic sensation right behind the breastbone that intensifies as stomach acid lurches back up into the esophagus. Sadly, if you’re trying to catch some much needed shut eye, often lying prone to sleep only makes heartburn worse.
Sure, you can try lying in the fetal position (on your side), which is a known sleeping position for forcing stomach acid downwards thanks to gravity. You can also invest in a wedge pillow to elevate your head so that gravity can keep stomach acid down deep in the tummy where it belongs.
2. Flush with Water
When you want to rid an eye of a dust particle or a mouth of a nasty taste, what do you do? You flush it out with good ol’ H20!
So do the same with heartburn and apply water at the first signs of burning in your throat and chest. According to a 2008 study published by the National Institutes of Health slowly sipping water to beat back heartburn can neutralized the pH of gastric acid almost as quick as acid-inhibiting drugs and antacids.
3. Got Any Gum?
Heart burn can be uncomfortable and smelly. Luckily, chewing a stick of gum can squelch the burning in your chest and throat while also sweetening your breath.
In fact, this 2000 study from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Hospital, located in Hines, Illinois, found that chewing gum (or anything for that matter) triggers saliva production and soothes and neutralizes stomach acid.
4. Switch Brews
When I turned 40 I suddenly started getting heartburn after sipping my favorite morning coffee. Indeed, studies show that certain brews wreak havoc on the stomach due to their acidity.
So I followed the advice of this American Chemical Society study that suggested swapping my medium breakfast blend for a darker brew to ease heartburn symptoms. The study notes that darker-roasted coffees (i.e., French roast and espresso) actually help lower acid production.
5. Pop a Melatonin
Even though melatonin is a supplement often associated for aiding sleep for insomniacs, integrative medical practitioner and author of the book, Healthy at Home, Tieraona Low Dog explains that reflux is often the most evil at night because “stomach acid production is at it’s height”.
Low Dog makes further claims that taking a melatonin supplement prior to sleep “tightens the lower esophageal sphincter, preventing the back flow of stomach acid.”
6. Exercise for Less Reflux
Even though the link between stress and heartburn is someone uncertain, research from the University of Maryland Medical Center, notes that you can beat back the searing discomfort of heartburn with a little physical activity, and the more low impact and relaxing, the better.
The study reported that just a half hour of low impact exercise (i.e., yoga, swimming, walking) once weekly can work as a stress-reliever and significantly lower acid reflux by up to 50-percent.