Also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD is when some of the acid content of the stomach flows up into the esophagus this is normally controlled by a valve that, if working properly, keeps food only flowing down. This valve opens when food goes down and then closes and it is located at the level of the diaphragm.
The cause of acid reflux is a weakening of this valve, thus allowing the contents of the stomach, including acid, to flow up. The cause is NOT TOO MUCH ACID PRODUCED. So why do so many people take Antacids to treat a mechanical problem?
Antacids reduce the acidity of the stomach by either neutralizing/buffering the acid or inhibiting its production. All proteins (chicken, beef and fish) require an acidic environment to be properly broken down and digested and this occurs in the stomach. What happens if you can only partially digest your proteins? Firstly their nutrients are not absorbed, and secondly, partially digested food causes gas, bloating and indigestion (which require other medication).
So what causes the valve to weaken?
STRESS! When stressed, you breath from accessory muscles (meant only for fight or flight - running). These muscles are located in the upper ribs and neck. Overtime, since it is not being used properly, the diaphragm becomes weaker (where the valve is located) and can lead to weakness of the valve.
At Vita, we look at your acid reflux as an effect of your stress levels and life style habits. Your exam will reflect this, including a thorough history, stress measurement, test for stomach acidity (for most people its too low, not high), and tissue oxygenation levels.
Care will include neutralizing stress, teaching proper breathing exercises, and supplementation to repair the digestive damage. Acid reflux will resolve naturally and digestion will be fully restored.
Acid reflux is a weakening of the valve, so why would you ever take antacids for a mechanical problem?