Many people think that their bouts of heartburn are due to high acid foods that they ate recently. While high acid foods like tomato-based dishes and high fat, high sugar chocolate desserts, or yeast containing foods can certainly contribute to the burn – they aren’t the real cause of common heartburn.
What many people don’t know is that, often times, an underlying infection is really the culprit. Certain foods that you eat feed this infection and aggravate the heartburn symptoms. When I tell my patients that there is actually a simple method of getting rid of what may be the root cause of their heartburn, they’re usually shocked to learn what it is. You may be too, but if you suffer from heartburn, you’ll want to know what it is.
Too Little Acid, Candida and Heartburn
When you start to experience heartburn symptoms what do you do first? Run for the antacids and chew a few of them hoping to quiet that burn. And, temporarily, they may help because most contain calcium that soothes the burning sensation. But, you may have also noticed that often times they don’t work at all. In fact, you may have found that the more you take antacids the more you seem to get heartburn! This is customary for many people who have common heartburn and chronically use antacids. Why?
Taking antacids actually worsens the root cause of heartburn – too little digestive acid. No, that’s not a misprint, you read it correctly. Too little digestive acids can be the cause of common heartburn. Antacids reduce even more acid in your stomach. Too little digestive acid, especially in people over 30, can cause poor digestion and many resultant symptoms.
Now, there are some people who have overactive proton pumps – the structures that release hydrochloric acid into your stomach. This is a fairly uncommon condition, however, and can cause too much acid to be released. The excess acid can then back up the esophagus in acid reflux disease and burn the tissues there. It can be the source of repeated sore throats, hoarseness and vocal chord changes.
Another condition, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs when one of the sphincters leading from the base of the esophagus to the stomach becomes damaged and is unable to close properly. This allows for all stomach contents, including acid, to back up the esophagus and burn delicate tissues. Both these conditions frequently require medications, or sometimes even surgery, to treat them so the damaged tissues can heal.
Some doctors, though, automatically prescribe proton pump inhibitor medications without really knowing if over-active proton pumps, or GERD, are really the cause of the burning. Unless these conditions are actually diagnosed through specific tests, your symptoms could likely be caused by the more common garden variety heartburn that leads to yet another issue. Let me explain.
After age 30, the production of the very strong digestive acid hydrochloric acid decreases. These digestive acids not only break down your food so it can enter your small intestine, but they also neutralize bacteria and yeasts that may be present in the foods you eat. When digestive acids are too low to adequately perform these functions, foods hang around in your stomach and intestines longer than they should. This poor digestive process leads to bacteria and yeast and other microorganisms which multiply. It often creates an overgrowth of the fungus, Candida, which can lead to inflammation of the entire digestive tract that creates heartburn. Other symptoms include constipation, gas, bad breath, body odor, and skin breakouts, as a result of poor digestive process and Candida overgrowth.
Well-Known Diet Knocks Out Candida and Heartburn
When patients come to me complaining of chronic heartburn, I first try them on a Candida-busting program of specific diet, natural supplements and probiotic enzymes that will increase their digestive acids to more normal levels. If their symptoms are common heartburn, and not the other conditions noted above, this program really knocks out their symptoms.
Now, you may be surprised to learn that the Candida-busting diet I recommend is actually none other than the low-carb diet first espoused by Dr. Atkins for dramatic weight loss. It was noted that people who went on Dr. Atkins, or similar type low carb diets, to lose weight also reaped an additional benefit – their frequent heartburn symptoms disappeared. Even when they increased their carbohydrate intake during maintenance phases, and using only low glycemic index (low sugar) carbs, their heartburn symptoms still did not return. Other low carb/higher protein diet researchers also reported that people who followed their program got rid of their heartburn symptoms 100% of the time. Why?
Low carb diets exclude any refined sugar or high carbohydrate, high glycemic index foods like white and brown rice, corn, noodles, and beer. It limits certain high natural sugar fruits and vegetables. Candida thrives on high blood sugar levels. It is why many diabetics frequently get Candida infections. When you reduce blood sugar levels on a low carb diet, Candida then has nothing to feed on and eventually dies off. Dr. Norm Robillard also notes in his book, Heartburn Cured that a low glycemic approach works to wipe out common heartburn by lowering overgrowths of certain gas producing microflora in the gut. Please also see highlights of my Heartburn Knockout Method on HealthyAnswers.com.
Many people relate stories of suffering from heartburn and the amazing results they got when they tried a low carb diet. Their heartburn symptoms quickly, almost magically, disappeared and stayed gone only resurfacing if they started to eat high refined sugar/ high glycemic foods again. If you suffer from heartburn, give this method a try. You’ll likely find relief of your heartburn symptoms. If, however, you do not, please see your doctor for further tests as you could have other conditions causing your condition.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Low Stomach Acid Can Cause Candida,http://www.drdnaturopath.com/index.php/low-stomach-acid-can-cause-candida/
Do I Have Candida?, http://www.kroegerhealer.com/do-i-have-candida.htm
Low Carb Diet and Heartburn, http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45&m=395023
Heartburn Cured, http://www.heartburncured.com/