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got gerd?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

"A symptom is not a cause."

I ran across this 3-part article this morning.


Doctors generally treat Acid Reflux and GERD with acid-lowering medications like Prilosec.

The trouble is, it's not the acid level of the stomach that causes the problem, it's the inability of the valve to stay closed and CONTAIN the acid in the stomach. When the valve malfunctions the acid washes back up to the esophagus, which does not have the protective coating that the stomach does, and heartburn/reflux is the result. Here's a really telling fact to ponder:

"...when stomach acid is measured in people suffering from heartburn and GERD it is almost always low, not high."

So apparently low stomach acid levels result in 2 problems:

....it encourages bacterial overgrowth, which results in inflammation
....it causes maldigestion of carbohydrates, which results in gas production

"The resulting gas increases intra-abdominal pressure, which is the driving force behind acid reflux and GERD."

There's a lot more information here (haven't even had time to finish Part 3 yet myself) but one big takeaway, I think, is this:

"... if gas produced by microbial fermentation of carbohydrates causes acid reflux, we might expect that reflux could be treated by either 1) reducing bacterial overgrowth or 2) reducing carbohydrate intake."

Which helps to explain why most of us who switch to low carb experience an almost immediate improvement in heartburn and related stomach ailments.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Absolutely! This is one of a number of different issues I had that I didn't know was part of my high carb diet. I thought it was just a quirk I had to live with. It was a pleasant side effect of low carb to discover that I don't have to deal with it. ;)
    1901 days ago
    I have several GI issues. They diagnosed GERD based upon the cluster of symptoms attributable to scleroderma, which is my primary diagnosis. Honestly, I wasn't really bothered by GERD...rarely felt any heartburn, and what distress I had was ALWAYS stomach and upper intestinal fermentation. I was set on a course of the several popular GERD meds, none of which worked...and at the same time started our restricted-carb diet. Since there's no way to pinpoint which one helped, or whether they are helping in tandem, I can't say. All I know is that the frequency of those GI symptoms has diminished to nearly nil. I am still taking a couple of the meds which *seemed* to be working at the same time we started lo-carbing. I'm also supplementing with probiotics, which hopefully are doing their part to make my GI environment less hospitable to the bacteria which may/may not be contributing. So far, so good.

    Thanks for the link and the info!
    1901 days ago
    I know this is true but I keep eating those darn carbs. I will feel better without them.
    1901 days ago
    Sounds good to me, thanks!
    1902 days ago
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