I must begin by reminding anyone reading that I am definitely not a doctor. Duh- I mean, come on. That said, I need to share this story because it literally changed my life for the better, and it could for you too.
I was a teenager when I first experienced my first episode of what I would quickly learn was heartburn, aka acid-reflux. By my mid-twenties it had gotten to where I had heartburn symptoms daily, and was eating anywhere between 2 to sometimes 10 extra-strength cherry flavored Rolaid tablets every day. By then they were barely even working anymore. Then somewhere around 28/29 I used Prilosec for the first time, and LOVED it. I only had to take one pill, and my relief was far better than with the Rolaids, and lasted for several days.
Over the next ten years or so my “tolerance” to the Prilosec had grown to where I had to take 1 or sometimes even 2 pills EVERY DAY just to keep the severe symptoms at bay, even if only temporarily. When the symptoms came on they were sudden, and often so painful they were completely debilitating.
In 2015 at only 38, I was facing the harsh reality of having to take these pills that I knew literally nothing about EVERY DAY, FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
There had to be a better way.
I started doing a ton of research online, and what I found shocked me. The overwhelming consensus among health professionals everywhere is that heartburn is NOT caused by too much stomach acid, but from not enough. The drug companies all know this, but they obviously don’t want you to know because of course they need to make their billions- regardless of the fact that these products are literally poison.
One ebook in particular explained it to me in the absolute best way I could understand. I’ll do my best to sum it up here, but I HIGHLY recommend everyone read Heartburn/GERD by Chris Kresser. You’ll need to enter your email to get the free ebook, and you might get occasional emails with other awesome health tips, but it’s totally worth it. Once you’ve entered your email, scroll all the way down to find the Heartburn/GERD book. Seriously, if you’ve ever had heartburn, or had any other digestive issues (who hasn’t?) GO READ IT. BTW, I’m not being paid to advertise here, I just really believe in this important information! It could DRAMATICALLY improve your health, and quality of life, as it has mine.
The symptoms of acid-reflux are caused when the valve (called the Lower Esophagul Sphincter, or LES) at the lower end of your esophagus that opens to your stomach malfunctions and acid comes up out of the stomach into the esophagus. This malfunction is caused by an insufficient amount of Hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach. When you take antacids (especially drugs like Prilosec and Zantac) it reduces your stomach acid to zero, and that can cause intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and a multitude of other very serious health problems (including cancer), not the least of which being MORE HEARTBURN. They actually WORSEN the problem they are trying to treat, making you have to take more, and more. We need stomach acid to digest, and absorb nutrients. I was also highly-prone to food-poisoning, which I now know was also from not having enough stomach acid!
After reading the ebook, I went to my local health food store and bought a HCL (with Pepsin) supplement, and immediately stopped taking Prilosec. Along with some very slight adjustments to my diet ( a little less sugar, carbs) I took the HCL with every meal at first, and slowly tapered off over the next few months. My heartburn was completely gone within the first couple of days.
It has now been 15 months since I have taken an antacid of any kind, and I almost NEVER get heartburn anymore. When I do it’s very mild. I take an apple cider vinegar capsule (I was even able to stop taking the HCL a few months ago), and it goes away almost immediately. I also try to eat fermented foods like raw sauerkraut, raw kombucha, or Greek yogurt, plus I take a probiotic supplement to help out my overall gut-health. It’s likely that my stomach still produces a lower-than-normal amount of acid, (it’s actually extremely common, and is becoming more-so from widespread antacid use) but it’s also likely I permanently affected my body from the years of taking them continuously.
I physically feel better than ever now. I never get sick anymore. Oh and another fun little side-effect of quitting Prilosec? I had been carrying about 25 extra pounds for many years- and dropped it in the first 3 months after quitting, and have kept it off with literally zero effort.
Seriously, I love talking about this, so if you have any questions or just want to chat about it let me know. This has changed my life, and could change yours, or someone else’s too.
Don’t take antacids anymore. Get rid of heartburn forever. Read that ebook. Now. https://chriskresser.com/heartburn/