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How Do I Cure Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and/or GERD?!?

Jeremy Hendon | October 28
heartburn acid reflux gerd paleo

Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question.  There are treatments that work for a lot of people, but never for everyone. But understanding your problem will help you treat the cause (rather than just the symptoms using medication).

So keep on reading to learn about what causes acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD, and how you can cure these frustrating symptoms.

The best thing to do is to consult a doctor who can properly diagnose and treat these sorts of issues.  Of course, we know that many doctors stick to the conventional wisdom and just try to pump you full of drugs, so here are our brief thoughts on this topic, which affects millions of people.

What Causes Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and/or GERD?

Most doctors think that acid reflux and heartburn are caused by too much stomach acid.  They believe this because stomach acid in the esophagus is largely responsible for much of the damage and discomfort that accompanies heartburn and acid reflux.

However, the true causes of these conditions are much more likely related to too little stomach acid, bacterial overgrowth, and carbohydrate malabsorption.  These may be related to each other (low stomach acid probably leads to bacterial overgrowth, which probably leads to carbohydrate malabsorption).  And in the end, this series of problems leads to gas and pressure, which causes food and stomach acid to back up into the esophagus.

Chris Kresser has written the best series of articles on this issue.  You can find all of those articles here.

In short, if the problem is not too much stomach acid then taking drugs that reduce stomach acid might make you feel better for a little while, but they’re not making the underlying problem any better (and quite possibly worse).

How Do I Cure Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and/or GERD?

To actually fix the problem, you need to replace or build more stomach acid, cure your bacterial overgrowth, and heal your body so that it can properly absorb and digest carbohydrates again.  The bright side is that you can cure these issues, but the downside is that it can take time to heal.

For the most part, healing starts with a diet that is low in the carbohydrates that your body can’t properly digest.  This means making your Paleo diet very low carb or else adopting a Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for a while.  (You can read more about the SCD at scdlifestyle.com.)  These diets may or may not cure the problem, but they will certainly keep it from getting worse and allow your body time to heal.

In addition, many people need to take HCL and/or digestive enzymes to temporarily replace the stomach acids and/or enzymes that are not produced in sufficient quantities in their body.  These supplements can also help resolve many of the immediate symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.

Finally, rebuilding your gut flora with the aid of pre- and probiotics can go a long way toward permanently curing these issues.  We urge you to visit Chris Kresser’s site for more information in this regard.

Again, these are general recommendations, and you should always consult a doctor about your specific situation.  If you’re looking for a great doctor in your area, we recommend checking out the Paleo Physician’s Network.

Want To Read More About How To Cure Heartburn?

We’ll be publishing an article soon with Louise’s story of how she cured her heartburn plus 4 steps on how you can cure heartburn too.