(NaturalNews) Larry the Cable Guy is dependable for a good laugh when he appears on TV, but what's the joke when Larry is giving health advice? Larry the Cable Guy is now an official spokesperson for Proctor and Gamble's latest heartburn solution, Prilosec OTC. It's not a laughing matter to see that many people in our society will rely on this advice to manage the fire. Proton pump inhibitors (PPI's) offer immediate heartburn relief, making them an easy choice to reach for when heartburn strikes. In most instances, this quick fix does not correct the underlying cause of the heartburn, and actually sets the stage for serious problems.
The acid-enzyme paradox
An acidic stomach environment is required for digestion and assimilation of minerals. Thus, prolonged use of PPI's (greater than one year) has been linked with increased risk of fracture of the wrists, hips and spine as bone-building materials are excreted rather than absorbed by the body. Prolonged PPI use is also associated with weakening of the stomach lining. A healthy stomach acid production is a primary defense barrier for outside pathogens. Without sufficient stomach acid, the gate is open for pathogens to take up shop in the body, leading to a myriad of health symptoms.
Most people are unaware that the majority of heartburn and GERD episodes are not caused by too much stomach acid, but are a result of not enough stomach acid and digestive enzymes. There are multiple factors that can contribute to the mix. Most people have a significant decrease in acid and enzyme production by the age of 40 due to stress and poor lifestyles and continue to have significant decreases with each decade of life. These poor lifestyle choices include such things as a diet high in refined and processed foods. High stress levels and fast paced lifestyles tend to shift our nervous system into sympathetic dominance which in turns shuts down the production of the necessary acid and enzymes in the stomach which properly initiate the digestive process. How many meals are served through car windows and consumed at 60 mph down the freeway or rushing to our next destination?
How to make a stomach happy?
Ditch processed and refined foods (if it comes in a box or a can) and eliminate sugar. Cut gluten and dairy for one to two months to test for possible sensitivity. Raw, unprocessed foods are Mother Nature's packets of enzymes. Be sure to include some raw foods in your diet to get some extra enzyme support. Beware, people who are severely enzyme deficient, may experience severe digestive distress with raw food intake until enzyme reserves are built up over time. Here, a gradual addition of raw foods along with supplemental digestive enzymes and betaine hydrochloride to the diet is mandatory. Consult with a natural health provider for an individual enzyme prescription. Limit fluid intake 20 minutes before and one hour after meals for full potency of digestive acid and enzyme action, not sluggish and diluted. Enjoy your meals in a low stress environment, with sufficient time to chew slowly and thoroughly, as the digestive process begins in the mouth with the saliva. Herbal extracts that boost healthy enzyme production include Dandelion root, citrus peel extracts, milk thistle, ginger, and gentian root extract. Chiropractic care has proven beneficial in promoting digestive function, especially if subluxations are present in the mid and/or upper back region.
Sources for this article include:
Bryner P, Staerker PG. Indigestion and heartburn: a descriptive study of prevalence in persons seeking care from chiropractors. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1996 Jun;19(5):317-23.
Campbell- McBride, Natashsa. Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Cambridge: Medinform Publishing, 2004.
Morter, Ted. Dynamic Health. USA: BEST Research, 1995
Morter, Ted. Exercise or Diet. USA:BEST Research, 1997
About the author: Kelly Pepper, D.C., is a mother of six, an avid reader, eclectic cook, home manager, and untiring sleuth to natural living. She gathers her experience to share with children of all ages. She is currently working on a wellness book series for children ages 4-7. She and her husband own Affinity Health Professionals www.affinityhealthprofessionals.com.