Heart Burn and Acid Reflux Esophagitis

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March, 2006 Vol. 3 No. 2
damage over time… and can even lead to
Heart Burn and Acid Reflux Esophagitis
esophageal cancer.

I have been involved in a private family practice The symptoms of reflux esophagitis are primarily
for wel over 30 years. One of the complaints that
heart burn, substernal chest pressure or pain, and
have increased dramatically over the past 10 even choking. The longer this problem exists the
years in my patients is heart burn and acid reflux
greater the possibility of developing “chronic reflux
symptoms. The use of drugs like Prilosec, esophagitis” (esophageal stricture or narrowing of
Nexium, Zantac, Pepcid, and Aciphex has also the esophagus) and a condition cal ed “Barrett’s
increased dramatically. In fact, one of the more esophagus” (a pre-cancerous lesion).
common email consultations I deal with are
questions about acid reflux and what one can do
A symptom that concerns me the most is when
naturally to improve this problem. This issue of one of my patients begins complaining that their
the Healthy for Life Newsletter will explore various
food is actually sticking in their throat or chest. If
aspects of this problem. If you or someone you feels like their food is literally getting stuck before
know suffers from heartburn and acid reflux, you it gets into the stomach. Physicians refer to this
will find this information hopeful and helpful.
symptom as “dysphagia.” This symptom cannot

be ignored. Dysphagia could be a sign of

esophageal stricture, Barrett’s esophagus, or
Reflux Esophagitis Defined
even cancer. When I hear this complaint, I
The esophagus is the muscular tube that immediately refer my patients to a GI specialist so
connects our mouth to our stomach. The circular that they can look directly down into their lower
muscles of the esophagus contract in a esophagus and stomach through a scope—cal ed
coordinated manner to deliver the food and liquid
an EGD.
we eat or drink efficiently into the stomach. While

no actual valve exists between the esophagus
and the stomach, stomach acid normally does not
Causes of Reflux
reflux back into the lower esophagus because of Increased abdominal pressure due to central
“lower esophageal pressure.” However, if this obesity is the most common reason patients begin
pressure decreases for any reason, acid can to reflux their stomach acid into their lower
easily flow backwards from the stomach up into esophagus. When you begin gaining weight
the lower esophagus. The esophagus does not around your middle, the increased abdominal
have a natural protective barrier against acid (as pressure can literally force acid out of your
does the lining of the stomach), and any portion of
stomach back up into your esophagus. This
the lower esophagus that is exposed to stomach increased pressure can eventually force a portion
acid is literally burned. The acid causes the of your stomach back up into the chest, a
release of a tremendous amount of free radicals condition cal ed a “hiatal hernia.” You can have
which leads to oxidative stress and a tremendous
reflux without having a hiatal hernia; and you can
amount of inflammation and damage to the lower
have a hiatal hernia and not have problems with
esophagus. Repeated or chronic exposure of the
acid reflux. However, these two conditions are
esophagus to stomach acid can lead to significant
commonly associated.

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Esophageal pressure can be decreased by many
patient has a chronic reflux problem that requires
things; things like chocolate, spicy or greasy them staying on this medication for the rest their
foods, caffeine (even decaf coffee), alcohol, life. (Drug companies don’t want you or your
aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
doctor to know about this rebound, and that this is
medication, carbonated beverages, and high-
why so many people are just not able to get off
glycemic carbohydrates. You may even be aware
these drugs.) Once I feel that my patient’s
of other foods that can set off reflux symptoms. esophagitis has healed, I recommend that they
Reflux can be experienced after eating a large discontinue their proton pump inhibitors and take
meal; some patients can even have reflux an H2 blocker like Pepcid AC twice daily for three
symptoms if they lie down too soon fol owing a weeks. Since the H2 blockers do not create this
regular meal.
“rebound phenomenon”, they are able to get

through this rebound time. Then they are able to
Another cause of reflux is the result of a GI discontinue the Pepcid and generally do very wel .
infection called “H. Pylori.” Have your physician
check for the possibility of this infection any time
your symptoms of reflux persist or become Nutritional Medicine and Reflux Esophagitis
chronic in nature. Once this infection is effectively
The nutritional medicine approach to improving
treated, the symptoms of reflux usually go away reflux is multifaceted. As mentioned earlier, the
reflux of acid causes a significant increase in free

radical production that causes inflammation of the

lower esophageal area. This area quickly
Traditional Medical Treatment
becomes depleted in antioxidants and their
To treat acid reflux, most physicians will prescribe
supporting nutrients. Since the main concern is
medication that decreases the production of the high risk of developing esophageal cancer,
stomach acid. These medications generally fal aggressive nutritional supplementation is
into two different categories: 1) The H2 blockers necessary. Building up these nutrients to optimal
like Zantac, Pepcid, and Tagamet and 2) the levels and providing an abundance of antioxidants
proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, Nexium, or is a primary concern. My optimal nutritional
Aciphex. Another category of medications—
recommendations are the Usana Essentials, 2 to
include drugs like Reglan and Propulsid (which 3 Proflavanol 90, 2 Biomega-3, 2 Coquinone 30
has been removed from the market), which and 4 Active Calcium daily. Spread out these
increase esophageal motility. These drugs push nutritional supplements throughout the day, and
food and acid into the stomach more effectively always take them with food.
and possibly increase the lower esophageal
I would also recommend that you begin the

Healthy for Life Program located at
The proton pump inhibitors are much more potent
www.releasingfat.com, and jump-start this
than the H2 blockers at decreasing the stomach program with Usana’s RESET KIT. Besides the
acid you can produce and usually improve reflux obvious life-long improvement in your overall
symptoms fairly effectively. However, they are health, this program wil help those struggling with
very difficult to quit once you have been on them
acid reflux for two main reasons: First,
for any length of time. When you discontinue participants in this program will lose a significant
drugs like Prilosec or Nexium, a “rebound amount of central weight, thus reducing the
phenomenon” occurs as the body begins to make
abdominal pressure that can be forcing acid up
more stomach acid than you have ever made in into the esophagus. Second, patients’ symptoms
your life. When that happens, acid reflux improve rather quickly in the majority of cases as
symptoms usual y return with a vengeance. This soon as they begin to eliminate high-glycemic
leads many physicians to conclude that the carbohydrates. I have become very suspicious

Page 3

(although I have never seen any studies that have
continue an aggressive nutritional supplement
documented this) that high-glycemic
program. These changes will do far more than
carbohydrates decrease the lower esophageal give you relief from that nagging heart-burn…
sphincter pressure. All I know is that my nurse they could save you from dealing with life
practitioners and I have noted significant threatening cancer. So get medical treatment for
improvements in acid reflux symptoms in the the symptoms and then begin to optimize your life
majority of my patients with reflux esophagitis if
through the Healthy for Life Program that includes
they combine an aggressive nutritional aggressive nutritional supplementation.
supplement program with the healthy lifestyle
changes that are promoted in the Healthy for Life
Check out the Healthy for Life Program today at
www.releasingfat.com, and get started right away!

If you or someone you know is dealing with
recurrent symptoms of acid reflux, have it
checked out by a physician. If you have an H.
Pylori infection that is not treated appropriately,
you wil usually not see any permanent
improvement no matter what you do. Most
importantly, is critical to find out if you have a
more serious problem like a Barrett’s esophagus
or esophageal cancer. If you find out that you
have Barrett’s esophagus, your doctor will follow
you closely because this is a known pre-
cancerous lesion of the lower esophagus. (In this
case, increase your Usana Coquinone 30 to 4 per
day. I feel that this can give you the best chance
of preventing the progression to esophageal

My best advice is to treat this problem medically
via traditional evaluation and medical treatment,
and begin an aggressive nutritional program and
the Healthy for Life Program
. Once you begin
feeling much better and your symptoms of reflux
improve (usually 6 to 8 weeks), I would try to get
off your medication. If you are taking any proton
pump inhibitor, you may need to fol ow the plan I
have shared above.

If you have acid reflux, hope and help is available.
But don’t just settle for quick relief. Seriously look
at your lifestyles and make a commitment to
permanent, life-enhancing improvements. You
may have to avoid certain foods (especial y high-
glycemic carbs), not eat anything within two hours
of reclining, get down to your ideal weight, and