There are natural ways to combat acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn.
Most acid reflux is caused by NOT ENOUGH stomach acid being produced. The pH of the stomach’s contents should be around 2, or roughly equal to battery acid. Stress and aging can both cause our digestive tracts to not work optimally, not make enough acid, and hence not absorb any of our food as well as we should. Stomach acid helps to start the break down of proteins, and protects us from foodborne illness. When the stomach has enough acid, it signals a muscle at the top of the stomach to close so the contents can be mixed. Antacids lower the amount of acid even more, so that muscle, or sphincter, does not close, but you are no longer burned. You are also no longer digesting well, which is why we can see clinical deficiencies in calcium and magnesium in patients who take antacids. That is why your TUMS has added calcium (not that you will absorb it in that form). Low acid in the stomach also increases the likelihood that you will have food sensitivities, because the foreign proteins in the food are not being broken down, and can be recognized by the immune system as invaders, thereby increasing inflammation, and all kinds of problems.
As an alternative, you can try taking a TBSP of apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water to increase the acidity of the stomach, close the sphincter at the top, and stop the acid from burning its way up the esophagus. Drink the vinegar like a shot, and while it may burn all the way down, once it gets to the stomach, all the burning should go away, including the heart burn. If it doesn’t (and this has only happened once in 10 years of practice) have some milk to coat the digestive tract: this therapy is not for you.
If the apple cider vinegar doesn’t work for you, or you don’t like the taste, Betaine HCl and digestive enzymes can also be helpful. The best way to stop heart burn in my experience, however, is to avoid the foods that cause it. We do the ALCAT food sensitivity test at our office to determine which foods you are sensitive to, so you may avoid them.
If you have a more complex case, come in and see us, we have great results helping people resolve their digestive issues with naturopathic medicine.