(The following is a quoted excerpt, pages 133-139, from the Book The Great Health Heist © by Paul Rosen J.D.,L.Ac. Published by Warren Publishing, Inc.)
(Not Just Your Grandfather's Heartburn)
With so many digestive ailments presenting themselves to patients these days, I could write a book on digestive issues alone. However, one particular condition I do see more and more is acid reflux, and I want to address it specifically in a section of its own.
It is estimated that 5% to 7% of the global population, including infants and children, suffer from gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although common, GERD often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are either downplayed or misunderstood. Left untreated, this condition can lead to serious complications, including scarring of the esophagus, and may increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
So how do you know if you have GERD and not something else? While you should be sure to check for a hiatal hernia first, persistent heartburn with acid reflux is the most frequent complication of GERD. Other symptoms include chest pain, hoarseness in the morning, or trouble swallowing. The backup of digestive fluids in the esophagus may also cause dry cough, bad breath and acid indigestion. However, it is possible to have this condition without experiencing any apparent symptoms.
Conventional Western medical treatment involves acid suppressing drugs such as Prilosec, Nexium and Zantac. For advanced cases where there has been considerable damage to the body, surgery may be proposed. But in my experience: GERD began and continues to be a functional disorder - nothing more. And surprise, surprise! The overwhelming majority of my cases reveal the real cause of chronic heartburn to be too little digestive juices like pepsin (the protein-digesting enzyme) and hydrochloric acid. You heard me right! (We'll get back to this in a minute.)
Drug treatments, including the ever-popular over-the-counter antacids, are all about suppressing the warning sign - heartburn. Not only does this overlook the real cause of the disorder, but it is the basis for food allergies, bowel disorders and calcium-related problems including the compromise of our immune system. Some common conditions that may result include chronic fatigue (due to anemia), fibromyalgia, chronic sinus infections, IBS, celiac disease and osteoporosis.
For example, by shutting down hydrochloric acid production you shut down your body's ability to break down proteins and foods containing calcium. Incomplete breakdown of proteins can lead to larger than usual bits that, when absorbed in the gut, may be marked by your immune system as an "invader." Over a period of time, your body's defenders react to the slightest amount of these "bits,” thereby creating food allergies. Food allergies are the basis of so many conditions like fatigue, chronic sinus infections and autoimmune disorders.
Calcium is important for, among other things, maintaining heart, muscle and bone health as well as for your immune system disrupt the body’s proper calcium supply or calcium handling and trouble is around the comer. Shutting down the acid production of the stomach disrupts the proper breakdown of calcium-containing foods. For the body to be able to extract calcium, a highly acidic gut is crucial. Lack of bio-available calcium can lead to heart arrhythmias, muscle cramps, a weakened immune system and osteoporosis.
Okay, enough of the scare tactics. Like I said, acid reflux is a functional disorder. This means the autonomic nervous system is trying to tell you that an organ or a gland is not a happy camper. And over time nutritional deficiencies will compromise the proper function of the endocrine system.
Although we rarely think about them, the glands of the endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ and function of our bodies. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function and metabolism, as well as sexual function, reproductive processes and digestive functions. Yes, the endocrine system regulates stomach acid production.
Dr. Royal Lee observed that stomach acid regulation is related to the pituitary gland. Provide proper nutrition for the pituitary and magic happens. Of course, there may be other stressors involved, but a complete nutrition evaluation using Nutrition Response Testing will reveal the root cause of the problem. I have handled this functional condition successfully many times. Here is a story that is so inspiring I want to share it with you in its entirety.
"SR," a 51-year-old woman, came to my office complaining of a five-year history of acid reflux. She was a blonde woman, small and well-proportioned. She always appeared 'just so" with make up and colorful clothes. She sat on the table and told a story that is a typical one in my clinic.
She began to experience indigestion, which gradually worsened. At first she tried to figure out which foods caused the problem. But even after discovering a few things, like tomatoes, she found no real pattern to her condition. The only thing she realized was that the condition was getting worse - and not better.
She began her medical intervention by visiting her doctor, who prescribed one drug after another, which either didn't work or worked to some degree but caused side effects she wasn't willing to live with. As each drug failed, she became more and more desperate. Feeling hope slip away, she had a conversation with her doctor's assistant, who told her about my clinic and Nutrition Response TestingSM.
As it turns out, "SR" put it off. (Sound familiar?) In fact, in her case she admitted that it was because she was "afraid to fail again." She felt that if Nutrition Response Testing failed she wouldn't know what to do next. It took over a year after first hearing of my work before she brushed aside her fears and finally got evaluated. Her result has been a blessing. Here is how she expressed herself:
"I used to go to bed with horrible heartburn. I would wake up with heartburn that would persist well into the day. I felt like I had swallowed acid. I would continually burpfire! Now, the heartburn is gone; even if I should eat before bed, I wake up without the upset stomach and raw esophagus.
"I suffered from acid reflux for at least five years. I went through all the medical tests and was given drugs. None of them worked very well. One that did caused horrible side effects. I didn't know what to do. My doctor's assistant told me about Paul Rosen but I waited over a year before seeing him. I was afraid that if what he did didn't work then what would I do? After being on my nutritional program for three months I rarely have any heartburn. The nice thing is that I now know what foods I am sensitive to so I have the power to avoid heartburn or reflux. I now have real hope that I won't have to live with this miserable condition."
Again, digestive conditions don't necessarily begin - or end with acid reflux. Recall the veritable "laundry list" of concerns I listed at the beginning of this chapter, including bloating, food allergies and constipation among nearly a dozen others. Don't think that just because what you're feeling doesn't fall under this admittedly large umbrella Nutrition Response Testing won't work for you. It will:
All you have to do is get evaluated ...