GERD also known as Gastro Esophogeal Reflux Disease is defined as acid reflux where the stomach sphincter doesn’t close. This results in undigested food and stomach acid passing into the esophagus.
GERD can be a very painful and persistent health condition. Conventional treatments offer symptom control through antacids and in severe cases PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors). These methods have very dire consequences with longterm use. The allopathic model of reducing or eliminating stomach acid does nothing whatever to address the true causes of the problem and in fact can result in severe health conditions and diseases.
Stomach acid, known as HCL is essential for numerous, critical functions in the body such as:
- Sterilizing food and killing bacteria and parasites
- Digesting protein
- Triggering the release of pepsin which breaks down food into peptides
- Controling the espohogeal Sphincter
- Triggering the Pyloric Sphincter
- The assimilation of numerous nutrients
If you are taking medications that lower your stomach acid, you very likely have several nutrient deficiencies, ph imbalances, and are susceptible to numerous chronic bacterial and parasitic infections. So many nutrients are dependent on HCL. The following nutrient minerals are dependent upon HCL for utilization in the body:
Causes of GERD
GERD is a sign of ph imbalance in the stomach. Often people who have acid reflux actually have a greater need for hydrochloric acid. Chronically low levels of HCL can trigger the stomach to suddenly make high amounts. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is a primary cause of acid reflux and GERD.
The stomach-loving bacteria H-Pylori is often found with GERD. I believe that H-Pylori can be both a cause of GERD and a result of it. It appears that H-Pylori will further diminish HCL production in the stomach when present. Bacterial and parasitic infections can do similar things. Toxins from infections and from other sources can damage gut mucosal integrity and in many cases cause breakdowns in various GI locations, including the stomach.
PPI’s when taken longterm can have serious side effects and complications from potential infections can become present.
The purpose of functional nutrition is not to treat symptoms or disease, but to improve upon normal, biological functions. If there is damage to the gut mucosal barrier, then a repair protocol should be facilitated. If there is the presence of infection, then it needs to be addressed.
If there is severely compromised nutrient absorption due to chronic inflammation in the gut, this also needs to be addressed. Due to the compromise of gut function, it may be very difficult for certain individuals to properly absorb nutrients. As mentioned earlier, several nutrients are HCL dependent.
Improving upon gut function while supplying the body with the right amount of synergistic nutrients tailored to the individual offers a very good potential for healing.
There are numerous, functional laboratory tests which can offer a window of insight into gut function. in any case of chronic inflammation, its important to understand the body’s stress response to it. The adrenal hormones cortisol, cortisone and adrenaline are released in response to stress. These hormones are anti-inflammatory by nature as they suppress immune function.
While it is good that the body uses these hormones for anti-inflammatory purposes, chronic overproduction by the adrenals due to internal stressors can complicate issues. Chronically high levels of cortisol has numerous side effects such as bone loss, brain aging, hypertension, diminished immune function and an increased risk of peptic ulcers.
Restoring normal function is again a key component. For GERD, a Functional Strategy should be devised, one that takes into account the numerous complications and processes affected.