Gastroesophageal reflux disease is common and unfortunately, affects many lives. However, there is a solution for you. We will discuss probiotic supplements and you will learn what acid reflux is as well as why your gut health is important. Let's figure out how to treat acid reflux and what health benefits you can gain from this.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: What is It?
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), is a condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle relaxes more often than it should and/or is weak. Acid reflux can cause heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms including chest pain, trouble swallowing, and a sore throat. There are a number of factors that can contribute to acid reflux including obesity, pregnancy, smoking, certain foods, and certain medications. Acid reflux symptoms usually occur after eating a meal or drinking coffee. However, they can also be triggered by lying down or bending over. Also, acid reflux is more likely to occur if you have a hiatal hernia, a condition in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity.
Certain lifestyle choices can also make acid reflux more likely to occur. These include eating large meals, lying down immediately after eating, consuming fatty or fried foods, drinking alcohol, and eating spicy foods.
If you suffer from acid reflux, there are several things you can do to minimize your symptoms. These include avoiding trigger foods, losing weight if necessary, and elevating the head of your bed. You may also need to take medication(s) like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to reduce stomach acid production. However, long term use of PPIs has been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, clostridium dificile infections, and pneumonia so it is important to discuss treatment with your physician. Probiotics may also help reduce reflux symptoms. Probiotics are live “friendly” bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora. They can be found in yogurt, other fermented foods, and supplements.
A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that probiotics may help reduce reflux symptoms by preventing stomach acid backflow into the esophagus. The study looked at a group of rats with gastroesophageal reflux. Some of the rats were given probiotics while others were not, and the rats that received probiotics had significantly less acid backflow than the other rats.
Another study, published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, looked at the effects of probiotics on GERD symptoms in humans. The study found that participants who took a probiotic supplement experienced a reduction in heartburn and other stomach related complaints.
These studies suggest that probiotics may be helpful in reducing acid reflux symptoms. If you suffer from acid reflux, talk to your doctor about whether or not probiotics might be right for you.
Do Stomach Acid Levels Affect Acid Reflux?
Many factors contribute to acid reflux. One of the most important is the acidity of your stomach. Stomach acid is necessary for the digestion and breakdown of food. However, when there is too much stomach acid, it can back up into the esophagus and cause heartburn and other symptoms.
Another factor that may contribute to acid reflux is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO occurs when there are too many bacteria in the small intestine, which can cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. SIBO has also been linked to heartburn and other reflux symptoms.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for gut health. They can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Probiotic supplements may also help to prevent small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Different probiotic strains can treat pylori infection and other abdominal symptoms, and probiotic supplementation can greatly decrease your stomach acidity.
GERD and Epigastric Pain Syndrome.
Epigastric pain syndrome is a condition that is associated with upper abdominal pain. The pain is usually felt in the middle of the abdomen, just below the ribs. The most common symptom of epigastric pain syndrome is heartburn. Other symptoms may include nausea, bloating, and indigestion.
Acid reflux is the most common cause of epigastric pain syndrome. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. This can happen if the lower esophageal sphincter muscle (LES) relaxes too much or if there is a hiatal hernia. Hiatal hernias occur when part of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm.
How To Heal your Gut from Acid Reflux.
Acid reflux can be treated by making lifestyle changes. Some lifestyle changes that can help relieve acid reflux symptoms include avoiding trigger foods including fried food, fast food, pizza, potato chips and other processed snacks, chili powder and pepper (white, black, cayenne), fatty meats such as bacon and sausage, and cheese. Other lifestyle changes that can help are: eating smaller meals, and avoiding lying down for at least three hours after eating. Acid reflux can also be prevented by not smoking, losing weight if obese, managing stress levels, getting enough sleep, and elevating the head of your bed.
Another consideration is probiotics which are live beneficial bacteria that can offer numerous health benefits when consumed. Some research suggests that probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
In addition to probiotic supplements, there are other holistic ways to heal your gut from acid reflux. Consider some of these solutions if you are trying to alleviate acid reflux symptoms. To mitigate your reflux symptoms, you may want to consider talking to your doctor about incorporating these strategies as well as probiotics supplements into your therapeutic regimen. Probiotics can be taken in supplement form or found in fermented food like yogurt and kombucha. There are many different probiotic supplements on the market, so research is important to find the right one.
Choosing a Healthy Diet:
In addition to taking a probiotic supplement, you may make some dietary changes to help relieve your acid reflux symptoms. Avoiding triggers like caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and fatty foods can help reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can also help as this can help reduce the amount of stomach acid that is produced.
Making these dietary changes can be challenging, but will be well worth it if food triggers are worsening your acid reflux symptoms.
Avoiding Trigger Foods:
There are a few key foods that tend to trigger acid reflux symptoms. To help prevent acid reflux, it's important to avoid these trigger foods. Common trigger foods include caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits, tomatoes, greasy or fatty foods, spicy food, peppermint, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
Managing Stress Levels:
Did you know that stress can make acid reflux worse? When you're stressed, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol, and cortisol increases the production of stomach acid, which is one of the main causes of acid reflux.
So, what can you do to manage your stress levels if you have acid reflux? Exercise or physical activity helps improve sleep. Better sleep in turn translates to better stress management. A healthy diet minimizing sugar and fat can lessen the effects of stress, improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, and boost your immune system. Relaxation techniques including mediation, biofeedback, and deep breathing can also be helpful. Connecting with people who will listen to you is a great way to reduce stress. Talk therapy can help change negative thought patterns.
Let Index Health Help You.
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We dedicate time to understanding your genetics, history, lifestyle, and goals. Combined with advanced lab tests, our functional medicine approach gives you in-depth information about your health and body.
We identify and address the root cause of disease and plan for prevention and long-term health using functional medicine-based changes in nutrition, lifestyle, and targeted supplements.
With proactive 30-60 min functional medicine appointments, primary care, unlimited messaging, and mini visits, we ensure that you achieve your health goals.
Key Takeaways about Acid Reflux.
Gut health is important if you are trying to improve your digestive system and reflux symptoms. Fortunately for you, there are multiple ways to improve your gastrointestinal health including taking probiotics which can improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Take care of your gastrointestinal health to reduce your GERD symptoms.