Heartburn Hell and GERD

Heartburn hell can lead to ostoporosisRecently several people have contacted me with questions about heartburn and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) and how to stop taking the acid inhibiting drugs that they’ve been on for years. That launched me into a research project and what I found alarmed me. Prolonged ingestion of acid inhibiting drugs can contribute to the development of some significant diseases. So I wanted to find a way for folks to get off these drugs.

Folks diagnosed with GERD experience stomach acid washing in reverse direction into the tender lining of the esophagus where it irritates and inflames causing the sensation of heartburn. If the irritation persists it may produce so much inflammation that it becomes precancerous (a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus).

To review more information on the basics of GERD and common sense ways to deal with it click this link:


The intent of this article is to alert you to the dangers of taking stomach acid suppressing drugs for an extended period of time and to provide you with some suggestions in weaning off the drugs.

PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitors) medications like Nexium and Protonix suppress the production of stomach acid. The product information advises that these medications should heal ulcers in 4 weeks, but some folks find themselves on these meds for years.

What happens when you suppress stomach acid production for years?

With decreased stomach acid you do not digest protein well and you reduce your absorption of calcium. This poor digestion and absorption leads to some major problems:

1. The development of osteoporosis

2. B12 deficiency

2. Decrease in your stomach’s ability to make the protective mucus layer that protects against damage from the stomach acid

Do you see the vicious cycle here? The more you take the medication the more you need it.

So how do you reverse this vicious cycle? This article by Dr. Teitelbaum contains some great suggestions:



These are the basic recommendations:

Start this regimen while still taking your prescription acid blockers:

1. Take digestive enzymes with each meal. If they irritate your stomach, then stop taking them. When your stomach starts to feel better after taking the DGL licorice and mastic gum, try restarting the digestive enzymes. Take the enzymes with meals and warm liquids.

2. DGL Licorice– 380mg (not the sugar free one) from Enzymatic Therapy or Rhizanate from PhytoPharmica. Chew 2 tablets 20 minutes before meals. (Before taking licorice read these precautions – http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21674).

3. Mastic Gum– 1000mg twice a day for 2 months – then as needed.

4. Heartburn Free– (Enzymatic Therapy). 1 every other day for 20 days (may initially aggravate reflux, but can give long term relief.

When you find your stomach becoming soothed and comfortable (may take 1-2 months) work with your doctor to wean off the antacids. Dr. Teitelbaum on endfatigue.com recommends switching from the PPI acid blockers to Tagamet which decreases stomach acid production instead of completely suppressing it. Then your stomach cells can gradually gear up to produce acid again so you can digest protein and absorb calcium. Under your doctor’s direction slowly decrease the dose of Tagamet until you can stop it and remain comfortable.

Or instead of using Tagamet stay on the DGL Licorice and Mastic gum for 2 months. If you remain pain free, then stop these 2 supplements. If you get a flare you can take the DGL Licorice/Mastic Gum again as needed according to Dr. Teitelbaum.

Breaking the addiction to acid blockers is vital to restoring your digestion, to helping your bones remineralize and thus preventing osteoporosis and to restoring your ability to absorb B12. Be proactive in restoring your stomach acid, healing the lining of your stomach and preventing or reversing osteoporosis.


Dr. Jo

About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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