Therapeutic options for GERD need to be appreciated and practiced if one is to avoid the many complications secondary to long term pharmacologic agents that are espoused by many physicians. We s[poke of the use of digestive enzymes and Hydrochloric acid, prebiotics and probiotics. All of these have a place in the treatment and prevention of symptoms of reflux and GERD. In addition, we continue the list:
(4) Nutrients for gut repair and support provide the necessary milieu for gut healing. These are tools for correcting digestive problems, healing a leaky gut and preventing recurrence of symptoms. These include Glutamine, a nonessential amino acid that is the preferred fuel for the lining of the small intestine and can greatly facilitate healing. Other nutrients that play an important role in healing include Zinc Carnosine twice daily between meals, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and B5, Quercitin, Vitamin D Ginko Biloba, green tea, licorice and Althea officianalis (marshmallow).
(5) Essential fats and oils that promote healing and minimize symptoms include Omega-3-Fatty Acids and Gamma Linolenic Acid. Anti-inflammatories and gut/liver detoxifiers are also helpful. These include N-acetylcysteine, reduced glutathione, phosphatidylcholine, Silymarin and curcumin.
These therapeutic options are based in science and work well but they need to be utilized along with lifestyle and behavioral factors. Avoid large meals. Finish eating three hours before bedtime. You should practice active relaxation to increase parasympathetic tone (part of the nervous system that aids digestion). Eat slowly and chew food completely. Ensure an adequate amount and quality of sleep. Please stop smoking. Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches and lose body weight if your BMI is elevated. As mentioned in the last blog, common dietary triggers include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, garlic onions, peppermint, spicy foods, fried or fatty, citrus or tomato based and processed or junk foods.
Remember that the other part of the problem may be in other medications that you are taking for other health problems. Medications that may cause or aggravate reflux include calcium channel blockers, alpha adrenergic blockers, theophylline, nitrates, progesterone, aspirin, NSAIDs, anticholinergics, sedative hypnotics including benzodiazepines (valium), tricyclic antidepressants, antibiotics in the tetracycline or erythromycin classes, potassium chloride and bisphosphonates. The good news is that by adopting positive lifestyle and behavioral changes, you may actually decrease your need for many of these medications!
So there you have it! The low down on GERD and all of the non-prescription treatment options available. You have the power to stop relying on pharmacologic agents such as antacids, H2 blockers and PPIs and all of the associated complications the can occur with chronic use. Knowledge is power ladies and gentlemen and awareness will help you appreciate the benefit of approaching an illness or symptom complex in a manner that ultimately supports long term health and well being! Thanks again for taking the time to learn……