We’ve been told for so long by the media and some traditional medical practitioners that we have acid indigestion, acid reflux, or heartburn due to an EXCESS of stomach acid, that we all actually believe it. When in reality, it’s more likely a DEFICIENCY of acid. Indigestion is often caused by a lack of hydrochloric acid and/or a lack of pancreatic enzymes, which can also cause a burning sensation as well as bloating when acidic foods are digested.
Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of drugs whose main action is a pronounced and long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production, up to 99% in most cases! This can irreversibly block the enzyme system of the gastric parietal cells. The most common proton pump inhibitors are Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium but there are more, Losec, Zegerid, ocid, Lomac, Omepral, Omez, Zoton, Monolitum, Inhibitol, Levant, Lupizole, Esotrex, esso, the list goes on. Let’s face it, pharmaceuticals is a big industry and their TV commercials tell us what the problem is and then tell us that “this or that” drug can fix it, right? Yet nearly 90% of those diagnosed with too much stomach acid, actually produce too little acid or a condition called hypochlorhydria.
It is not surprising that antacids and other medications like proton pump inhibitors don’t ever solve the problem and usually are the cause of further malnutrition issues later. The good news is that once this drug is cleared from the system the detrimental effect can be reversed and healthy gastric function can be restored. When you understand what is really happening in the body then you can make an informed decision for yourself when faced with acid reflux or heartburn symptoms.
Let’s examine the basics of digestion for a moment. I’ll try to keep it simple. When we eat a meal, our stomach is supposed to produce a strong acid response to begin the digestive process of food, especially proteins like cooked meat. It takes a lot of stomach acid to breakdown cooked meat, and the more cooked it is, the more acid is needed. When there is too little acid, food sits in the stomach too long undigested, and begins to ferment or rot. So, it’s actually the fermenting and rotting process that causes the feeling of acid indigestion, reflux and irritation to the entire gastrointestinal lining.
Okay, so if and when there is enough acid in our stomach, it calls on the small intestine to open up a valve and receive the stomach contents to begin the next phase of digestion. When that signal is too weak, the contents may try to escape in the opposite direction, causing symptoms of acid reflux. Antacids diminish the symptoms AND make the problem worse, kind of like putting duct tape over the oil light in your car, thinking you fixed it. But we really know better and we can really do better for a healthy body.
To recap, antacids and acid blockers like Zantac, Pepsid AC, Prilosec and Privased, and the others mentioned earlier, stop the digestion process, leaving the partially-digested, rotting food to be forced t