Average Reading Time: 2 minutes and 12 seconds
Sixty percent of adults in America will experience symptoms associated with heartburn over the next 12 months. Understanding how this develops along with logical strategies to resolve it are valuable tools to keep in your health toolbox. Interestingly, feelings of indigestion and occasional heartburn can be caused by either too much or too little digestive acid!
Step One: Find out if you are producing the correct amount of stomach acid
1. Before a meal, take a ½ of teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. If you feel relief, you have too much acid.
2. Before a meal, take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water. If you feel relief, you have too little acid.
Step Two: Understand the Cause
1. Constipation or loose stools can cause toxins to re-absorb from the intestines into the liver. The liver becomes congested, which thickens or congests the bile in the gallbladder. The bile, among other actions, buffers the stomach acid. If the bile becomes thick or congested, then the acid in the stomach will linger as it waits for adequate bile flow. If bile production never reaches the needed levels to buffer the stomach acid, the acid will stay in the stomach too long and can eventually cause occasional heartburn (this is the excess acid type).
2. If this problem is not corrected, the lack of bile flow will cause such an irritation in the stomach, and the stomach will eventually decrease its acid production in an attempt to protect the stomach lining. Too little acid leads to the proliferation of harmful microbes, like H. pylori, which can irritate the stomach. This lack of stomach acid may also result in discomfort due to poor digestion and stomach lining irritation. It will also affect to ability to digest foods that need acid to be digested properly – such as wheat and dairy!
Step Three: Address the Issue with Soothing Strategies
For those with excess stomach acid:
- Increase bile flow with:
Foods: Cooked beets, cooked artichokes, cooked celery, cooked leafy greens, and olive oil and lemon
Tea: Fenugreek, fennel, cumin, coriander
For those with too little stomach acid:
- Increase stomach acid production with:
Foods: Chia seeds, bananas, cooked greens and cooked root veggies
Tea: Cardamom and peppermint
Herbs: Ginger, coriander, cumin, fennel, and cardamom – all together with meals. These 5 spices make up LifeSpa’s Gentle Digest formula.
For those with either excess stomach acid or too little stomach acid (these work for both situations):
- Support the the imbalanced stomach lining with cooling herbs:
Cooling Herbs: Slippery Elm, Marshmallow root, Licorice root
- Apply Downward Stomach Pressure:
Acid that lingers in the stomach can cause significant upward pressure, pushing the stomach against the diaphragm. This pressure can cause the stomach to stick or adhere to the underside of the diaphragm, causing the stomach to malfunction. If this gets really bad, it can cause a medical condition called a Hiatal Hernia, but years before this happens numerous digestive issues such as occasional heartburn can result. As the result, the stomach will hold excess acid and not contract fully because it is literally stuck to the diaphragm.
Massage the stomach diaphragm area using a technique called “Stomach Pulling.” Literally, help pull the stomach away from the diaphragm with your thumb. Check out the article and video where I demonstrate the technique, “Cool Your Digestion: Self-Massage Technique.”
>>> Learn more in my article and video series, “Cool Your Digestion”.
Important Note: While most of us will suffer from occasional heartburn as some point in our lives, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician if any of the following are true:
- Your heartburn feels more severe or painful than normal
- You have a persistent cough that won’t go away
- Your heartburn occurs several times a week for more than two weeks
- You’ve been taking OTC medications for occasional heartburn for an extended time
- You develop a difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)