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Home > Putting Out the Fire

Dave Foreman

Putting Out the Fire

by Dave Foreman
Volume 7, Issue 4
- Repair And Recovery
- Homeopathy May Be The Relief You Are Looking For
- Antioxidants For Serious Health Concerns
- Acne (And Other Acne Related Skin Issues)
- Arrhythmias
- Using Tonics To Improve Your Health
- Ask The Herbal Pharmacist
- Herbal Pharmacist Health Update
- Smart Weight Loss Options
- Allergy Relief Alternatives
- Focus: Women's Health
- Menopause Symptom Relief
- Focus: Men's Healths
- Ask The Herbal Pharmacist
- Antioxidants for Blood Sugar Control
- Bone Health 101
- The Basics for Healthy Eyes
- Uterine Fibroids (revisited)
- Wait Before You Cut!

- Holiday Travel Tips
- Time for a Tune Up
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Energy: Who needs more?
- PCOS-Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Heavy Legs
- Stay Hydrated this Summer
- Lower Back Problems-Sciatica
- Antioxidants for Cardiovascular Health
- Prostate Health: not just an old manís concern
- Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Fats? Good for you?
- Prostatitis
- Superfoods
- Timing your Training Supplements
- Juice Up Your Life with Superjuices
- Infant Corner-Homeopathy
- Foundational Health
- Top Toxins
- Fall Cleansing
- Heart Health
- Protein Recovery and Repair
- High Blood Pressure
- Tart Cherries
- Infant Corner: DHA
- Healthy Digestion: Is it possible?
- Holiday Gift Ideas
- Herbal Tea
- Tired, moody, canít sleep? It might be STRESS.
- Infant Corner: Healthy Digestion
- Healthy Aging
- Breast Cancer
- Get a Jump on the Winter Cold and Flu Season
- Children's Essentials: No-Guilt Popsicles
- Infant Corner: Breastfeeding - Energize Yourself
- Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?
- Hot Health Tip: Swimmer's Ear
- Infant Corner: Teething
- Understanding Homeopathy
- Green Foods Supplements
- Amino Acids
- Dry Eyes
- Infant Corner: Diaper Rash
- Blood Sugar Control
- The Herbal Pharmacist Consultation:Blood Sugar Concerns & More
- Sciatic Issues?
- Separating Myths From The Facts About Probiotics
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Infant Corner: Cradle Cap
- Swine Flu and Flu Season Worries:
- The Herbal Pharmacist Consultation:Weight Loss
- Quick Tips For Hypertension
- New Year's Resolutions
- A Natural Approach to Ear Infections
- Unraveling The Vitamin D Story
- Infant Corner: Prenatal Care
- Protein-Hype Or Hope
- Drug-Nutrient Interactions
- PMS-Something New
- Guide To Designing Your Supplement Regimen
- Why Can't I Sleep?
- Infant Corner: Developmental Support
- Hints for a Clearer Complexion
- Dental Tips
- Infant Corner
- Breast Cancer
- Healthy Aging
- Infant health corner
- Immune Support
- Secrets of Healthy Fats Revealed
- 4 Steps to Building a Healthy You–Step 4
- Chia seeds part II
- Healthy fats revisited
- Prostate health
- Infant health corner
- Fish oil & coq10
- 4 Steps to Building a Healthy You–Step 3
- Quick Tips for Women
- Bone Health
- Skin Health
- Quick Tips for Men
- Quick Fix For Allergy Sufferers
- 4 Steps to Building a Healthy You–Step 2
- Beauty Sleep
- Eye Health
- Weight Loss
- 4 Steps to Building a Healthy You
- Holiday Digestion
- Winter Dry Skin Tips
- Alzheimer's Disease
- TMJ Syndrome
- Breast Cancer Facts
- Bone Health
- Healthy Aging
- Children's Supplements
- Chia Seed the new superfood
- Understanding Chromium
- Water perhaps the most critical nutrient
- Stress! Tips to relax
- Allergy Tips
- There's A New CoQ10 In Town
- Tired? Quick tips for getting your energy level up
- Fats: Good For You?
- Flu Season
- Go Away Aches & Pains
- Oh!!My Aching Back
- Ear Infections
- How Sporty Are You
- No Bones About It
- Nattokinase
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Fiber
- Skin Cancer
- Sleep Problems
- Specific Herbs For Men
- Cleansing
- Nails
- Probiotics
- Specific Herbs for Women
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Your Breath Stinks
- Blood Pressure
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS)
- Colorectal Cancer
- Uterine Fibroid
- The Eyes Have It
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
-Putting Out the Fire
- Solving America's Energy Crisis
- Natural Gum Care
- Jazz Up Your Life with Juice
- Natural Relief for SAD
- Immunity Know-How
- Stop Smoking!!
- Let's Talk About Irregularity
- Free Radicals
- Asthma
- Memory Problems
- L-Carnitine
- Men's Health
- Women's Health
- The Four Pillars of Great Health
- Blood Sugar Control
- Probiotics
- Supplement Interactions
- Are You Consumer Smart?
- Digestive Blues
- Taking Control of Stress
- Heart Health
- Pycnogenol®
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Greens
- Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?
- Happy (and Healthy) Trails to You!

Dave Foreman, RPh, ND is a pharmacist, Naturopathic Doctor, author, television commentator, radio host and practitioner of natural living and holistic approaches to better health. His weekly radio program is broadcast throughout North America. Dave is currently a contributing columnist for Pharmacy Today magazine and several other natural health publications.

Have you noticed that a great majority of commercials on television are for heartburn medications? Its probably because an estimated 40% of our adult population suffers from heartburn, a burning discomfort that is generally felt in the chest, just behind the breastbone. Americans now spend more than $8 billion annually on prescribed and over-the-counter medications used to treat heartburn. Recent statistics show that 60 million Americans experience heartburn once a month or more, while 25 million individuals suffer painful symptoms every day. What's even more worrisome are the number of adults that are overusing heartburn medications, feeling better in the short-term but putting themselves at a greater risk for more serious, long-term health problems.

The most common cause of heartburn is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, caused by a malfunction of the sphincter (sfingk-ter) muscle, a ring of muscle that contracts to close an opening, preventing food and gastric juices from backing up into the esophagus. A related cause of heartburn is a condition known as hiatal hernia, the protrusion of an organ (usually the stomach) through the esophageal opening in the diaphragm.

Another less commonly accepted source of heartburn is tied to having too little stomach acid. Some experts believe when the stomach is empty, there is a deficit of protective stomach acid. Immediately upon eating, the body reacts by dumping excessive amounts of acid into the stomach, sometimes irritating the relatively delicate esophageal tissues that are not always able to handle the harsh digestive components from the stomach. The result is the discomfort we call heartburn.

You would think that stomach acid is the villain in the fight to end the burn. Quite the contrary, as it plays a vital role in many aspects of good health.

Stomach acid provides frontline protection against bacteria, yeast, fungi, parasites and viruses that are found in our food and water. Look to nature and see a great example of this in the carrion-craving vulture. The acid in its digestive system is so potent that no bacteria or toxin can survive the trip through the vultures's stomach and intestines. It obviously serves the bird's health well considering its voracious diet of road kill and other putrefying foods.

Stomach acid also helps the body properly absorb certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B-complex, including folic acid. People who regularly ÒneutralizeÓor diminish the action of their stomach acid with over-the-counter or prescription medications may be at risk for developing nutritional deficiencies and the health challenges that accompany them.

Last but not least, one of the major functions of stomach acid is to help in the digestion of large protein molecules. If this digestive function is not performed efficiently, partially digested protein fragments may be absorbed into the bloodstream.The absorption of these large molecules may contribute to the development of food allergies and immune conditions.

Regrettably, we live in a society that wants a quick-fix instead of addressing the root issue of a problem. My stomach turns (no pun intended) whenever I hear drug commercials spew heartburn advice like; "Keep on eating the way you do. All you need is our little pill." Sure, that's the easy thing to do. But let's take a look at what the longterm use of these drugs may be doing to your body over time. _

Rebound Acid Buildup
I was taught in pharmacy school that antacids will cause a phenomenon known as rebound acid buildup. Simply put, you'll need a steadily increasing amount of medication over time just to feel better.You may start out with one pill a day, then progress to many more just to keep your heartburn under control. Your body adjusts to the increasing dose, and that will end up producing more problems as time progresses.

Aluminum Toxicity
Some antacids contain aluminum, which may have negative effects on the brain and other vital internal organs.

Malabsorption of Key Nutrients
Drugs like cimetidine and ranitidine fall into the category of H2 blockers.They are called this because they inhibit the action of histamine, which stimulates stomach acid secretion.Yet they can also impair the absorption of calcium and vitamin B12 from food. The most popular prescription medications for chronic heartburn are proton pump inhibitors. These drugs interfere with the secretion of digestive acid by proton pumps in the stomach lining. This class of medication can also block absorption of calcium and vitamin B12 as well as beta-carotene, folic acid, thiamin, iron, sodium, and zinc.

Promotion of Chronic Disease
Too little stomach acid is also linked by natural health care practitioners to a host of other chronic conditions including eczema, allergies, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis and anemia.

So where do you begin in your quest to quell the burn? The Four Pillars of Great Health of course! Making sensible changes to your diet is a good start. Cutting out heartburn triggers like caffeine and alcohol can provide immediate relief. Getting tested for food sensitivities can also be helpful. And slowing down while you eat is a lesson everyone should practice. Take a bite, put your fork down, chew, swallow and start again.

Moderate exercise is a great way to boost your health and aid in better digestion. And don't forget about positive mental health. Stress and depression can make us eat the wrong foods, overindulge, or avoid foods completely. Keeping your mind balanced will help keep your belly balanced, too.

Taking on heartburn naturally with supplementation can be done in a variety of ways. Most people would benefit from digestive enzymes that also contain Betaine HCl (a compound that contains hydrochloric acid) believed to relieve the symptoms of heartburn and improve digestion. This is especially true in people who have low stomach acid.The dose of Betaine HCl varies according to the portion size and amount of protein in your meal. A word of caution when using Betaine HCl - it can cause pain and discomfort with those who have excessive stomach acid or a weakened stomach lining.

Heartburn Free™ by Enzymatic Therapy has been deemed a "treatment" by many natural health experts. This product contains an orange peel extract standardized to contain d-limonene. By taking one capsule every other day for 20 days, you can virtually rid yourself of heartburn forever. Many people I have spoken to have relief that lasts months and even years. It isn't for everyone, though. Some patients experience uncomfortable burping and in some cases, burning sensations. I recommend consulting with your health care provider to see if this product is right for you.

Sometimes just using digestive bitters (stimulants) like artichoke, dandelion or juniper can help relieve the symptoms of heartburn when taken regularly. The theory here is to keep your digestive system moving in the right direction making it less likely that digestive fluids will back up into your esophagus.

Another category that has shown to be helpful for heartburn is the category known as carminatives. Also known as aromatic digestive tonics or aromatic bitters, this category works great for those who not only have heartburn, but excessive gas as well. The herbs in this category help relax the muscles of the digestive tract and can help reduce discomfort caused by spasms. Herbs like peppermint, caraway, ginger and fennel are the most popular and researched. Often times, using these herbs in combination may be the best method of relieving symptoms of indigestion, particularly when there is excessive gas.

Lastly, the quickest results can often be done by using herbs like ginger, slippery elm or licorice root (more specifically DGL). These herbs seem to work by decreasing inflammation and by helping to form a protective barrier against stomach acid. Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties. Licorice on the other hand, helps protect the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract. DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) in chewable tablets is the form of licorice that I recommend since research has shown DGL as effective as some over-thecounter heartburn medications. You can either use DGL 15 to 20 minutes prior to a potentially offending meal or an hour prior to bedtime to help with heartburn issues while you sleep. I recommend DGL as a quick fix and not the long-term solution to your problem.

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