I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but dealing with heartburn has become big business. Maybe it’s because 1 adult in 5 suffers with heartburn about once a week.
Dealing with most cases of heartburn used to be pretty simple. Your doctor would say avoid coffee, alcohol, spicy and fatty foods… and maybe citrus fruits. He’d tell you not to eat for 3 or 4 hours before bed… to lose a little weight… and if you had trouble sleeping anyway, he might suggest raising the head of your bed a few inches.
For most people, these tricks worked pretty well. And they still do. But it seems as though the first choice for dealing with heartburn these days is shutting down stomach acid. There are three reasons I prefer natural answers…
First, the problem isn’t that you get heartburn because you have “too much” stomach acid. Second, you need adequate stomach acid to digest your food. And, third, as most people hit middle age, they actually begin to produce less stomach acid as it is.
There are lots of home remedies for heartburn. One I like is about as cheap and easy as they come. And it’s been proven to work for occasional heartburn.
Just chew a stick of sugar-free gum.
Researchers in London found 31 volunteers who suffered with regular heartburn. They fed each of them two meals – meals almost guaranteed to trigger their heartburn. After each meal, some were randomly selected to chew a stick of sugar-free gum for a half-hour.
Then they measured the acidity of the volunteers’ esophagi (where heartburn occurs). Both times, the gum chewers measured less acidic than the non-chewers.1
For an extra boost, I suggest chewing sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol helps fight off the bacteria that cause tooth decay, so you’ll get a double benefit.
If you suffer with regular heartburn, you should talk to your doctor. But also consider switching to a low-carbohydrate lifestyle.
Doctors at Duke University Medical Center discovered that patients who went on low-carb diets reported less trouble with heartburn.2 In 2006, a team at the University of North Carolina formalized these findings in a controlled study.3
Eating the low-carb way promotes healthy blood sugar levels and contributes to weight loss. Adding in less heartburn is like icing on the cake.
Finally, there’s a nutritional supplement that may help promote relief. And you may be surprised to learn what it is.
It’s the “sleep hormone” melatonin.
Melatonin helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. And there’s always some melatonin in your blood. But you have up to 100 times more melatonin in your digestive system.
Your body produces melatonin to help protect tissues from digestive acid and enzymes and to perform several other critical functions.
Doctors in Brazil tested a cocktail of nutritional supplements – including melatonin – on 176 people with heartburn. Within 40 days, all the volunteers reported being heartburn-free.4
Two years later, doctors experimented with the formula and found melatonin was the key. They could take anything else out of the formula with almost no change. But not the melatonin.5
In these trials, 6 mg of melatonin was enough to bring relief.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
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