Heartburn - Cautions and Solutions
Heartburn (and/or GERD) is miserable and a huge block of the population suffers
from it including those who try to live a healthy lifestyle. It can be
distracting and even incapacitating for many, many guys.
Most of us never stop to think what might be behind the issue and immediately
reach for a pill to help. This can be a dangerous appoach as lowered
stomach acid levels are associated with an increased risk of dementia. 
This may be because stomach acid, interestingly enough, wards off infections,
especially in the lungs. And we know that long term infections lead to
inflammation and dementia is very sensitive to inflammation. (See the PPI
item below for even more reasons.)
Instead of immediately popping a pill, I recommend examining the mountain
of material that researchers have uncovered, mostly in the last decade, as to
what can cause and resolve these issues. Of course, work with your doctor if you have GERD
heartburn as they can be a sign of ulcers, hiatal hernias, gall bladder issues
and other so on.
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1. Nexium, Prilosec and PPI's: Nexium is the very latest
PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) and it is very expensive, especially when compared
to Prilosec which is over-the-counter. Considerable caution should be
exercised in taking PPI's long term: they have been linked to fractures,
pneumonia, Clostridium difficile and stomach (gastric) nodules/polyps and
possibly atrophic gastritis.  Discuss with your
2. Antacids. Many people pop these like candy, but extreme caution is
in order here as well. Many antacids have aluminum in them.
Manufacturers claim that the aluminum in their antacid products is largely
non-bioavailable. However, I urge extreme caution here as aluminum is a
definite neuron destroyer and has been linked with Alzheimer-like symptoms at
even low consumption levels. See my link on Aluminum and the Brain for
3. NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, etc.). All of these are notoriously
hard on the GI tract. Long term users of NSAIDs almost invariably have GI
problems of one sort of another that can lead to stomach upset, heartburn and
4. Dark Chocolate and Cacao. I can't say enough good things about
these two nutritional giants. (See my links on
Dark Chocolate and the
Kuna.) Unfortunately, in sensitive people (like
me), they relax the valve between the stomach and throat and allow stomach acids
to enter the espophagus. I actually suffer with this issue and solve it by
eating only one square of dark chocolate. This does not distress me,
because the latest research shows that it only takes a small amount of dark
chocolate - about one square - to dramatically reduce inflammation levels.
5. H. Pylori. Almost all of us are infected with this gut bacteria
but for some of us it goes out of control and leads potentially to heartburn,
ulcers and stomach cancer. Broccoli sprouts help keep these critters at
bay  as does cranberry juice. 
6. Stress. Webmd reports what we all know instinctively: job
stress aggravates and may cause GERD in some cases.  Of course, it's not just
job-related stress that can cause GI problems, but any perceived stress .
(See my link on
Management for practical solutions.)
7. Lifestyle "Sins". Gorging, being overweight and smoking are
all risk factors for heartburn and GERD.
8. Foods. Many people are sensitive to certain foods. Many guys
find that fatty or greasy foods trigger this problem, yet another reason to
consider a Low Fat Diet. Diary bothers still others as can acidic foods
such as tomatoes.
9. Ginger. Ginger has several studies showing its anti-nausea powers.
10. Vinegar. This is counterintutive but powerful solution for many, as it
provides an immediate, albeit suprising, relief from heartburn.
11. Chamomile and Peppermint. I could not find the studies for these
two natural "antacids", but they have a long-standing reputation for providing
heartburn relief. A little goes a long ways in the case of these two
12) Saltines and/or Club Soda. These two are mild antacids, but without the
aluminum! These do a nice of neutralizing mild to moderate stomach acid on
a short term basis.
13) Sleeping Position. Sleeping on your right side will actually lead to more
stomach acid in your esophagus than sleeping on your back or left side. 
14. Tea Extracts. Various tea extracts were found to inhibit H. Pylori,
which can cause all manner of stomach disorders, without affecting good
interestinal bacteria.  The authors found, in general, that extraction time
had to be of sufficient time however.
The Amer J of Gastroenterology, 1 Sept 2003, 98:S57, "Oral broccoli
sprouts eradicate Helicobacter pylori infection"
2) J of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 23(2):S175-S180, Special Issue:
Proceedings of the 12th Taishotoyama International Symposium on
Gastroenterology, April 27-April 28, 2007, Shimoda, Japan, published Online: 1
Dec 2008, "Growth inhibitory action of cranberry on Helicobacter pylori"
4) Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2004, 103(4):639-45, "A randomized controlled
trial of ginger to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy."
5) J of the Amer Geriatrics Society, Aug 2007, 55:1253, "The Association Between
Cognition and Histamine-2 Receptor Antagonists in African Americans"
6) JAMA, Oct 27 2004, 292(16), "Risk of Community-Acquired Pneumonia and Use of
Gastric Acid–Suppressive Drugs"
7) Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Aug 2005, 22:55-63, "Review article:
the long-term use of proton-pump inhibitors"
a-caution-on-antacids-for-older-patients/?ref=health, "A Caution on
Acid-Reducers for Older Patients"
9) Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, Mar 2010, 198(3):226-229, "Psychological
Stress and Self-Reported Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders"
10) Shape, Nov 2009, p. 73.
11) J Med Food, 2011 Jun 11, "Inhibitory Potential of Tea Polyphenolics and
Influence of Extraction Time Against Helicobacter pylori and Lack of Inhibition
of Beneficial Lactic Acid Bacteria"