What You Need to Know
What is Heartburn?
According to the National Heartburn Alliance, approximately 25 million adults experience heartburn on a daily basis. Heartburn is a condition wherein gastric juices back up into the esophagus and create a burning sensation that eventually radiates upward. It is usually part of a broader condition known as dyspepsia or indigestion, and the medical term for chronic or frequent heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)—the muscle that connects the esophagus to the upper portion of the stomach—malfunctions, allowing the contents of the stomach to flow backward into the esophagus. Normally, the LES opens to allow food from the esophagus into the stomach. It then closes immediately to prevent food and digestive secretions from the stomach from entering the esophagus. In cases of reflux, the LES doesn’t close properly and remains open after food has entered the stomach.
A malfunctioning LES can be caused by a variety of dietary factors, including overeating, eating too quickly, eating spicy foods, eating fatty and fried foods, drinking caffeinated beverages, insufficient water intake, and not taking the time to adequately chew your food. It may also be caused by stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, and certain medications that relax the muscles, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Is There Natural Relief?
To help relieve heartburn without relying on harsh antacids or prescription medications, try the following tips:
- Drink a glass of room-temperature water.
- Drink a glass of tea made from ginger or slippery elm, both of which have been shown to help soothe the esophagus and digestive tract.
- Take a daily probiotic formula. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live in the intestines and help digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
- Take an herbal heartburn relief formula that includes ellagic acid (found in raspberries) and fava bean flour for their natural antacid properties, as well as mastic gum to support the health of the stomach.
To help prevent heartburn from occurring in the first place, remember to chew your food thoroughly and eat several small meals throughout the day. Try to take your time while eating, as this will help prevent the stomach from becoming distended and allowing food to push against the top of the stomach where it can force open the LES. Avoid gulping down liquids (especially cold liquids) with meals, since this can dilute the beneficial enzymes in foods that enhance your body’s natural digestive process. Finally, adding a hydrochloric acid (HCl) supplement to your diet supports healthy digestion by ensuring that the stomach has enough HCl to begin breaking down your food.
The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not intended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose, or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.