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Heartburn. This burning, painful feeling in your throat and chest afflicts up to 14% of Americans on a frequent, if not daily, basis. This is why there are so many advertisements for different medications that claim to either relieve or prevent heartburn. But if you’re like a lot of people and don’t want to take yet another medication, what can you do? This article will cover some of the best home remedies for heartburn.

But do they work? While research into this way of addressing heartburn hardly exists, anecdotal records show these home remedies for heartburn not only work, but you can also use them without concern, as side effects are minimal.

Heartburn Described

An image of a person in the middle of having a meal and looking like he is in painBasically, heartburn occurs when the contents of your stomach back up into your esophagus and your throat. Most of this comes in the form of stomach acid that normally helps digest your food. And while this sounds very unpleasant, it usually causes no symptoms.

However, even though occasional heartburn poses no threat to your health, it can become a more serious form called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition, the most common digestive disorder in this country, afflicts up to 40% of those who regularly feel heartburn. Most of the time, GERD requires medications to control.

How does heartburn happen? The lower esophageal sphincter, a ring-like muscle located where the esophagus leads into the stomach, normally stays closed except when you swallow, burp, or vomit. However, if it becomes weakened or dysfunctional, it can open and allow stomach acid into your esophagus.

Heartburn and Stress

Heartburn can actually be connected to stress and adrenal fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) results from your adrenal glands becoming overburdened and fatigued due to chronic stress and the demands placed on them to supply cortisol and other stress-fighting hormones. The adrenals make up your first responders when stress hits. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response also helps your adrenals deal with the effects of stress.

In the NEM stress response, six inter-related circuits made up of three organs or systems each help you fight against the effects of stress on your body. One of these circuits, the Cardionomic circuit, becomes activated as soon as stress hits. Made up of the adrenal glands, the cardiovascular system, and the autonomic nervous system, this circuit involves the heart and the hormones/neurotransmitters that help it function.

One of the symptoms of heartburn, chest pain, can cause some serious concern in people who suffer from AFS. The involvement of the heart in the Cardionomic circuit can make these people hyper-sensitive to symptoms that may relate to their heart.

However, the chest pain associated with heartburn doesn’t signal a problem with the heart. Medical professionals call this noncardiac chest pain. Yet people with dysfunction of the cardionomic circuit may interpret it as a heart attack.

The anxiety which this misinterpretation can engender becomes another source of stress for those suffering from AFS. It again sets in motion the stress response and adds to the burden on your adrenal glands.

The medications that healthcare professionals prescribe to deal with heartburn and GERD can also lead to added stress. People with AFS often become hypersensitive to medications and may experience paradoxical responses to them.

This makes foods and home remedies for heartburn more important to know.

Home Remedies for Heartburn

An image of an aloe vera plant, ginger, and peppermint leavesThese home remedies for heartburn all come from natural sources and all prove helpful for some people. However, their effectiveness can vary from person to person and depending on the causes of your particular heartburn.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Using apple cider vinegar can help some people with the burning sensation, as in some cases heartburn is actually caused by a lack of acid in the stomach. However, the added acid can make it worse for others. Mixing about a teaspoon of unprocessed apple cider vinegar with 3 tablespoons of water and drinking it may help you digest your food better.

Gum

This remedy can work to alleviate heartburn by reducing acid levels in the esophagus. On the other hand, it may increase heartburn for some people. There is also some studies showing that mastic gum can help relieve pain from ulcers.

Aloe Vera Juice

Some people use aloe vera juice as one of their home remedies for heartburn by taking it internally. Used in this way, it supposedly reduces stomach acid and irritation. However, no scientific evidence backs this up. If you choose to use aloe vera juice, buy it only from a trusted source so you know you’re getting a safe product. Beware also of the amount of sugar content in aloe vera juice.

Eat Bananas

A bland and low acid fruit, bananas help stop gastrointestinal spasms and some people find them helpful as one of their home remedies for heartburn. However, no research backs this up.

Peppermint

Eating peppermint may help some people. But others find it increases their reflux by loosening the lower esophageal sphincter.

Ginger

If peppermint in either pill or tea form increases your reflux, you might want to try ginger. Ginger calms and lowers inflammation in your stomach. It is also great for nausea and detoxification.

Essential Oils

Essential oils containing peppermint or ginger also may help with digestion and reflux. However, you should always consult with your healthcare professional before using essential oils internally. They may interact with medications or contain dangerous filler ingredients. And everyone’s body responds differently to these oils. In addition, be certain you only buy from reputable sources.

Baking Soda

Mixing a little baking soda with water can lower the acid level in your stomach. It works like the over-the-counter antacids. However, it doesn’t taste as good. Reducing stomach acid can also make reflux worse over time as your body produces more acid to cope with the medication.

Fennel Seeds

Another popular home remedy for heartburn involves eating roasted fennel seeds. Several compounds in fennel seeds work to help control the production of stomach acid. In addition to eating the roasted seeds, you can drink a tea made from fennel seeds. In making this tea, you add two teaspoons of fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water. After it seeps for ten minutes, strain out the seeds, and drink the tea.

Mustard

Mustard helps neutralize the acid that brings the burning sensation with heartburn. In addition, using mustard seeds as one of your home remedies for heartburn helps you digest your food better by strengthening the digestive organs. One option for using mustard seeds involves swallowing two teaspoons of yellow mustard seeds with a glass of water. However, do not chew the seeds. Relief should happen in only a short time.

Another option for using mustard consists of mixing two teaspoons of mustard paste into a glass of buttermilk. You can drink this once or twice daily.

Slippery Elm

Used for centuries as one of the home remedies for heartburn, slipper elm thickens the mucous lining in your stomach to protect against acid. To use this remedy, mix one teaspoon of slippery elm powder in a cup of hot water. Drink it after meals and at bedtime.

Pickle Juice

As one of the home remedies for heartburn, pickle juice proves effective. High in vinegar, it adds acid to the stomach, helping to improve digestion and reduce heartburn caused by too little acid. Fermented sour pickle juice also contains probiotics that help improve digestion. Drink a few teaspoons of pickle juice after eating if you suffer from heartburn.

Almonds

Eating a handful of oily almonds can bring relief from heartburn for many people. To use this remedy, eat three or four almonds right after a meal. Chew them until they turn into a paste to release the oil. In addition, eating almonds will speed up your digestion.

Flaxseed Soup

Flax dates from the very early days of cultivation. For centuries, people used flax for its nutritional value as well as its health benefits. Mucilage, one of its fibers, turns into a gel in water. It soothes your digestive tract. In addition, flax contains alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which protects the lining of your stomach.

To make this soup, mix 1 tbsp of flax seeds and one cup of water in a small pan. Cook this over low heat until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. You can mix in raw honey to taste, along with one-quarter tsp of cinnamon. Make it early in the day and divide it into three portions. Refrigerate the soup and eat before meals or in the evening.

Lifestyle Changes

An image of a bowl of nachos, a glass of beer, and a women sleeping in the backgroundIn addition to the food-based remedies above, some lifestyle changes prove useful as home remedies for heartburn as well. The idea here is preventing heartburn before it starts.

Don’t Eat Too Much

The first of these home remedies for heartburn seems simple. Just don’t overeat. Larger meals tend to increase the risk of heartburn. However, it won’t prove as simple as it sounds. Any of you who go through dieting understand this.

Lose Weight

This is another simple-sounding remedy that involves a lot of work. Your diaphragm, a muscle just above your stomach, serves to strengthen your lower esophageal sphincter. With too much fat around your middle, this sphincter can get pushed up away from the diaphragm. This condition is called a hiatal hernia. Your sphincter loses the support of the diaphragm, increasing your risk of heartburn.

Low Carb Diet

Research indicates a low carb diet can relieve the symptoms of heartburn. This may happen because undigested carbs can lead to bacterial overgrowth and increased pressure in your abdomen. Some research suggests this may lead to increased heartburn.

Avoid Sleeping on Your Right Side

When considering home remedies for heartburn, you may not think about sleeping. However, sleeping on your right side may increase symptoms of heartburn at night. Your esophagus enters your stomach on the right side. Therefore, when you sleep on your right side, the acid from your stomach covers the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the risk of heartburn. But, since people tend to change positions during the night, this remedy may not be easy to implement.

Avoid Foods That Trigger Heartburn

A number of foods typically promote heartburn, and you may know of some personal trigger foods as well. Some of the foods in this category include spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, fried foods, and carbonated drinks. Coffee and caffeine tend to weaken your lower esophageal sphincter, increasing your risk of heartburn. However, decaffeinated coffee actually works to reduce your risk of heartburn.

Avoid Eating Late at Night

Another of the home remedies for heartburn consists of cutting out your late-night meals or snacks. Eating three hours before going to bed appears best for avoiding heartburn. At a minimum, you should wait at least an hour after eating before going to bed.

Add an Incline to Your Bed

Sleeping on an incline of six to eight inches seems to reduce your chances of heartburn. If you can’t elevate your entire bed, using a wedge-shaped pillow may also help.

Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco

These two substances increase your risk of heartburn. Both of them tend to increase the production of stomach acid, relax the lower esophageal sphincter, and inhibit your esophagus from clearing itself of acid.

Conclusion

An image of a person with one hand on her chest and the other holding up some pillsWith so many people experiencing heartburn on at least an occasional basis, the market for medications for this condition is huge. However, no matter how effective these medications may prove, they carry with them some potentially serious consequences for many people. The medications can lead to side effects, worsen acid in some cases, increase symptoms of AFS, and add more stress on the body. This is why we need home remedies for heartburn.

These home remedies for heartburn come from natural sources, removing the potential for increased AFS symptoms as seen in prescriptions. But these remedies work on an individual basis. Some work better for some people than others. Try several of the home remedies for heartburn to find the one that works best for you.

If you are suffering from heartburn, here are a few things you can do to help alleviate the situation.

  • Try a number of the home remedies for heartburn to find one that works best for you.
  • Implement some of the lifestyle changes suggested above.
  • If you suffer from AFS, do everything you can to reduce overall stress.
  • Educate yourself on the symptoms of heartburn and how they differ from more serious physical conditions so your anxiety level won’t skyrocket.

Whatever course of action you decide to take, however, please do so with the guidance of your healthcare professional who will assess the benefits of your choice and help you refine it.

If you would like to know more about or need assistance with home remedies for heartburn, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching can help. We offer a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and various options. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Clinical experience and anecdotal evidence suggest home remedies for heartburn can be effective. However, these remedies can vary in their effectiveness from person to person. That makes it important for you to try several of them to find the one or ones that work best for you.

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