Acid reflux, or what is now commonly referred to as G.E.R.D. (gastroesophageal reflux disease) afflicts about 40% of adult Americans. One can hardly watch an hour of television without an advertisement for one of the following drugs appearing to treat it. Drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid. These drugs are classified as proton pump inhibitors (P.P.I.’s) which means they suppress the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. OTC drugs such as TUMS,and Gaviscon provide short term relief by blocking acid irritation, and another group of drugs called H-2 Blockers are also used to treat GERD by blocking histamine production in the stomach. This medical approach as it so often does, treats the symptom but ignores the real cause. Most people would be surprised that many of those who suffer from GERD are deficient in hydrochloric acid.This is especially true for those over 40 years of age.
Where, What, and Why
Where: Acid reflux and the irritation that results is at the bottom of the esophagus, (the food pipe that runs from the throat to the stomach). A valve sits between the esophagus and the stomach. This valve is called the lower esophageal sphincter. The pain does not occur in the stomach. The stomach lining itself is specially adapted to protect itself from the powerful acid. In a normal stomach the pH before food is introduced, is about a 2 on a 1-14 acid scale