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Get Rid of Heartburn and GERD Forever in Three Simple Steps

Note: this is the sixth and final article in a series about heartburn and GERD. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IVa, and Part IVb before reading this article.

In this final article of the series, we’re going to discuss three steps to treating heartburn and GERD without drugs. These same three steps will also prevent these conditions from developing in the first place, and keep them from returning once they’re gone.

To review, heartburn and GERD are not caused by too much stomach acid. They are caused by too little stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the stomach and intestines. Therefore successful treatment is based on restoring adequate stomach acid production and eliminating bacterial overgrowth.

This can be accomplished by following the “three Rs” of treating heartburn and GERD naturally:

  1. Reduce factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid.
  2. Replace stomach acid, enzymes and nutrients that aid digestion and are necessary for health.
  3. Restore beneficial bacteria and a healthy mucosal lining in the gut.
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Reduce Factors That Promote Bacterial Overgrowth and Low Stomach Acid


As we saw in Part II and Part III, a high-carbohydrate diet promotes bacterial overgrowth. Bacterial overgrowth—in particular H. pylori—can suppress stomach acid. This creates a vicious cycle where bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid reinforce each other in a continuous decline of digestive function.

It follows, then, that a low-carb diet would reduce bacterial overgrowth. In studies done to test this hypothesis, the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Carbohydrate intake (especially simple sugars) is correlated with GERD symptoms, and reducing that intake can lead to a reduction in those symptoms. (1)

In a study performed by Professor Yancy and colleagues at Duke University, researchers worked with five patients with severe GERD that also had a variety of other medical problems, such as diabetes. (2) Each of these patients had failed several conventional GERD treatments before being enrolled in the study. In spite of the fact that some of these patients continued to drink, smoke and engage in other GERD-unfriendly habits, in every case the symptoms of GERD were completely eliminated within one week of adopting a very-low-carbohydrate diet.

Another study was performed by Yancy and colleagues a few years later. (3) This time they examined the effects of a very-low-carb diet on eight obese subjects with severe GERD. They measured the esophageal pH of the subjects at baseline before the study began using something called the Johnson-DeMeester score. This is a measurement of how much acid is getting back up into the esophagus, and thus an objective marker of how much reflux is occurring. They also used a self-administered questionnaire called the GSAS-ds to evaluate the frequency and severity of 15 GERD-related symptoms within the previous week.

At the beginning of the diet, five of eight subjects had abnormal Johnson-DeMeester scores. All five of these patients showed a substantial decrease in their Johnson-DeMeester score (meaning less acid in the esophagus). Most remarkably, the magnitude of the decrease in Johnson-DeMeester scores is similar to what is reported with PPI treatment. In other words, in these five subjects a very-low-carbohydrate diet was just as effective as powerful acid suppressing drugs in keeping acid out of the esophagus.

All eight individuals had evident improvement in their GSAS-ds scores. The GSAS-ds scores decreased from 1.28 prior to the diet to 0.72 after initiation of the diet. What these numbers mean is that the patients all reported significant improvement in their GERD related symptoms. Therefore, there was both objective (Johnson-DeMeester) and subjective (GSAS-ds) improvement in this study.

It’s important to note that obesity is an independent risk factor for GERD, because it increases intra-abdominal pressure and causes dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The advantage to a low-carb diet as a treatment for GERD for those who are overweight is that low-carb diets are also very effective for promoting weight loss.

I don’t recommend very-low-carb diets for extended periods of time, as they are unnecessary for most people. Once you have recovered your digestive function, a diet low to moderate in carbohydrates should be adequate to prevent a recurrence of symptoms.

An alternative to a very-low-carb is something called a “specific carbohydrate diet” (SCD), or the GAPS diet. In these two approaches it is not the amount of carbohydrates that is important, but the type of carbohydrates. The theory is that the longer chain carbohydrates (disaccharides and polysacharides) are the ones that feed bad bacteria in our guts, while short chain carbohydrates (monosacharides) don’t pose a problem. In practice what this means is that all grains, legumes and starchy vegetables should be eliminated, but fruits and certain non-starchy root vegetables (winter squash, rutabaga, turnips, celery root) can be eaten. These are not “low-carb” diets, per se, but there is reason to believe that they may be just as effective in treating heartburn and GERD. See the resources section below for books and websites about these diets, which have been used with dramatic success to treat everything from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to Crohn’s disease.

Another alternative to very-low-carb that I increasingly use in my clinic is the low-FODMAP diet. FODMAPs are certain types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by some people, particularly those with an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine (which, as you now know, tends to go hand-in-hand with heartburn). See this article and my book for more information.

Be careful to avoid the processed low-carb foods sold in supermarkets. Instead, I suggest a Paleo or ancestral approach to nutrition.

Fructose and Artificial Sweeteners

As I pointed out in Part II, fructose and artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase bacterial overgrowth. Artificial sweeteners should be completely eliminated, and fructose (in processed form especially) should be reduced.


High fiber diets and bacterial overgrowth are a particularly dangerous mix. Remember, Almost all of the fiber and approximately 15 to 20 percent of the starch we consume escape absorption. (4) Carbohydrates that escape digestion become food for intestinal bacteria.

Prebiotics, which can be helpful in re-establishing a healthy bacterial balance in some patients, should probably be avoided in patients with heartburn and GERD. Several studies show that fructo-oligosaccharides (prebiotics) increase the amount of gas produced in the gut. (5)

The other problem with fiber is that it can bind with nutrients and remove them from the body before they have a chance to be absorbed. This is particularly problematic in GERD sufferers, who may already be deficient in key nutrients due to long term hypochlorydria (low stomach acid).

H. pylori

In Part III we looked at the possible relationship between H. pylori and GERD. While I think it’s a contributing factor in some cases, the question of whether and how to treat it is less clear. There is some evidence that H. pylori is a normal resident on the human digestive tract, and even plays some protective and health-promoting roles. If this is true, complete eradication of H. pylori may not be desirable. Instead, a low-carb or specific carbohydrate diet is probably a better choice as it will simply reduce the bacterial load and bring the gut flora back into a state of relative balance.

The exception to this may be in serious or long-standing cases of GERD that aren’t responding to a very-low-carb or low-carb diet. In this situation, it may be worthwhile to get tested for H. pylori and treat it more aggressively.

Dr. Wright, author of Why Stomach Acid is Good For You, suggests using mastic (a resin from a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern variety of pistachio tree) to treat H. pylori. A 1998 in vitro study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that mastic killed several strains of H. pylori, including some that were resistant to conventional antibiotics. (6) Studies since then, including in vivo experiments, have shown mixed results. Mastic may be a good first-line therapy for H. pylori, with antibiotics as a second choice if the mastic treatment isn’t successful.

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Replace Stomach Acid, Enzymes and Nutrients That Aid Digestion and Are Necessary for Health

HCL with Pepsin

If you have an open-minded doctor, or one that is aware of the connection between low stomach acid and GERD, ask her to test your stomach acid levels. The test is quite simple. A device called a Heidelberg capsule, which consists of a tiny pH sensor and radio transmitter compressed into something resembling a vitamin capsule, is lowered into the stomach. When swallowed, the sensors in the capsule measure the pH of the stomach contents and relay the findings via radio signal to a receiver located outside the body.

In cases of mild to moderate heartburn, actual testing for stomach acid production at Dr. Wright’s Tahoma clinic shows that hypochlorydria occurs in over 90 percent of thousands tested since 1976. In these cases, replacing stomach acid with HCL supplements is almost always successful.

Although testing actual stomach acid levels is preferable, it is not strictly necessary. There is a reasonably reliable, “low-tech” method that can be performed at home to determine whether HCL supplementation will provide a benefit.

To do this test, pick up some HCL capsules that contain pepsin or acid-stable protease. HCL should always be taken with pepsin or acid-stable protease because it is likely that if the stomach is not producing enough HCL, it is also not producing enough protein digesting enzymes.

Note: HCL should never be taken (and this test should not be performed) by anyone who is also using any kind of anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroids (e.g. predisone), aspirin, Indocin, ibuprofen (e.g. Motrin, Advil, etc.) or other NSAIDS. These drugs can damage the GI lining that supplementary HCL might aggravate, increasing the risk of gastric bleeding or ulcer.

To minimize side effects, start with one 650 mg capsule of HCL w/pepsin in the early part of each meal. If there are no problems after two or three days, increase the dose to two capsules at the beginning of meals. Then after another two days increase to three capsules. Increase the dose gradually in this stepwise fashion until you feel a mild burning sensation. At that point, reduce the dosage to the previous number of capsules you were taking before you experienced burning and stay at that dosage. Over time you may find that you can continue to reduce the dosage, or you may also find that you may need to increase the dosage.

In Dr. Wright’s clinic, most patients end up at a dose of five to seven 650 mg capsules. In my experience, this dose is too high for many people. In fact, some have trouble with even a single 650 mg capsule. I’ve also found that the addition of cholagogues (agents which promote bile flow from the gall bladder into the small intestine) and pancreatic enzymes can help tremendously, especially in the initial stages.

While I previously recommended a combination of HCL and enzymes called the AdaptaGest Duo, those supplements are no longer available. I now recommend Betaine HCL/Pepsin by Thorne Research and Super Enzymes by Now. 


Another way to stimulate acid production in the stomach is by taking bitter herbs. “Bitters” have been used in traditional cultures for thousands of years to stimulate and improve digestion.

More recently, studies have confirmed the ability of bitters to increase the flow of digestive juices, including HCL, bile, pepsin, gastrin and pancreatic enzymes. (7)

Unsurprisingly, there aren’t many clinical studies evaluating the therapeutic potential of unpatentable and therefore unprofitable bitters. However, in one uncontrolled study in Germany, where a high percentage of doctors prescribe herbal medicine, gentian root capsules provided dramatic relief of GI symptoms in 205 patients.

The following is a list of bitter herbs commonly used in Western and Chinese herbology:

  • Barberry bark
  • Caraway
  • Dandelion
  • Fennel
  • Gentian root
  • Ginger
  • Globe artichoke
  • Goldenseal root
  • Hops
  • Milk thistle
  • Peppermint
  • Wormwood
  • Yellow dock

Bitters are normally taken in very small doses—just enough to evoke a strong taste of bitterness. Kerry Bone, a respected Western herbalist, suggests five to 10 drops of a 1:5 tincture of the above herbs taken in 20 mL of water.

An even better option is to see a licensed herbalist who can prescribe a formula containing several of the herbs above as appropriate for your particular condition.

Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, raw (unpasteurized) sauerkraut and pickles are other time-tested, traditional remedies that often relieve the symptoms of heartburn and GERD. However, although these remedies may resolve symptoms, they do not increase nutrient absorption and assimilation to the extent that HCL supplements do. This may be important for those who have been taking acid suppressing drugs for a long period.

It is also important to avoid consuming liquid during meals. Water is especially problematic, because it literally dilutes the concentration of stomach acid. A few sips of wine is probably fine, and may even be helpful.

Finally, for those who have been taking acid stopping drugs for several years, it may be necessary to replace the nutrients that are not absorbed without sufficient stomach acid. These include B12, folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc. It’s best to get your levels tested by a qualified medical practitioner, who can then help you replace them through nutritional changes and/or supplementation.

Restore Beneficial Bacteria and a Healthy Mucosal Lining in the Gut


Because bacterial overgrowth is a major factor in heartburn and GERD, restoring a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria is an important aspect of treatment.

Along with performing several other functions essential to digestive health, beneficial bacteria (probiotics) protect against potential pathogens through “competitive inhibition” (i.e. competing for resources).

Researchers in Australia have shown that probiotics are effective in reducing bacterial overgrowth and altering fermentation patterns in the small bowel in patients with IBS. (8) Probiotics have also been shown to be effective in treating Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other digestive conditions. (9)

Probiotics have also been shown to significantly increase cure rates of treatment for H. pylori. (10) In my practice I always include a probiotic along with the anti-microbial treatment I do for H. pylori.

I am often asked what type of probiotics I recommend. First, whenever possible I think we should always attempt to get the nutrients we need from food. This is also true for probiotics. Fermented foods have been consumed for their probiotic effects for thousands of years. What’s more, contrary to popular belief and the marketing of commercial probiotic manufacturers, foods like yogurt and kefir generally have a much higher concentration of beneficial microorganisms than probiotic supplements do.

For example, even the most potent commercial probiotics claim to contain somewhere between one and five billion microorganisms per serving. (I say “claim” to contain because independent verification studies have shown that most commercial probiotics do not contain the amount of microorganisms they claim to.) Contrast that with a glass of homemade kefir, a fermented milk product, contains trillions of beneficial microorganisms!

What’s more, fermented milk products like kefir and yogurt offer more benefits than beneficial bacteria alone, including minerals, vitamins, protein, amino acids, L-carnitine, fats, CLA, and antimicrobial agents. Studies have even shown that fermented milk products can improve the eradication rates of H. pylori by 5 to 15 percent. (11)

The problem with fermented milk products in the treatment of heartburn and GERD, however, is that milk is relatively high in carbohydrates. This may present a problem for people with severe bacterial overgrowth. However, relatively small amounts of kefir and yogurt are therapeutic and may be well tolerated. It’s best to make kefir and yogurt at home, because the microorganism count will be much higher. Lucy’s Kitchen Shop sells a good home yogurt maker, and Dom’s Kefir site has exhaustive information on all things kefir. If you do buy the home yogurt maker, I suggest you also buy the glass jar that Lucy’s sells to make it in (rather than using the plastic jar it comes with).

If dairy doesn’t work for you, but you’d like to get the benefits of kefir, you can try making water kefir. Originating in Mexico, water kefir grains (also known as sugar kefir grains) allow for the fermentation of sugar water or juice to create a carbonated lacto-fermented beverage. You can buy water kefir grains from Cultures for Health.

Another option is to eat non-dairy (and thus lower-carb) unpasteurized (raw) sauerkraut and pickles and/or drink a beverage called kombucha. Raw sauerkraut can easily be made at home, or sometimes found at farmer’s markets. Bubbies brand raw pickles are sold at health food stores, as is kombucha, but both of these can also be made quite easily at home.

All of that said, probiotic supplements are sometimes necessary and can play a crucial role in treatment and recovery.

But not all probiotics are created alike, and in the case of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (or SIBO, which is commonly present with GERD), certain probiotics may make things worse. SIBO often involves an overgrowth of microorganisms that produce a substance called D-lactic acid. Unfortunately, many commercial probiotics contain strains (like Lactobacillus acidophilus) that also produce D-lactic acid. That makes most commercial probiotics a poor choice for people with SIBO.

Soil-based organisms do not produce significant amounts of D-lactic acid, and are a better choice for this reason. I recommend the Daily Synbiotic from Seed.

Bone Broth and DGL

Restoring a healthy gut lining is another important part of recovering from heartburn and GERD. Chronic stress, bacterial overgrowth, and certain medications such as steroids, NSAIDs and aspirin can damage the lining of the stomach. Since it is the mucosal lining of the stomach that protects it from its own acid, a damaged stomach lining can cause irritation, pain and ultimately, ulcers.

Homemade bone broth soups are effective in restoring a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach. Bone broth is rich in collagen and gelatin, which have been shown to benefit people with ulcers. (12) It’s also high in proline, a non-essential amino acid that is an important precursor for the formation of collagen. Bone broth also contains glutamine, an important metabolic fuel for intestinal cells that has been shown to benefit the gut lining in animal studies. (13) For more on the healing power of bone broth, see my article “The Bountiful Benefits of Bone Broth: A Comprehensive Guide.”

Although I prefer obtaining nutrients from food whenever possible, as I explained above, supplements are sometimes necessary—especially for short periods. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) has been shown to be effective in treating gastric and duodenal ulcers, and works as well in this regard as Tagamet or Zantac, with far fewer side effects and no undesirable acid suppression. (14) In animal studies, DGL has even been shown to protect the stomach lining against damage caused by aspirin and other NSAIDs. (15)

DGL works by raising the concentration of compounds called prostaglandins, which promote mucous secretion, stabilize cell membranes, and stimulate new cell growth—all of which contributes to a healthy gut lining. Both chronic stress and use of NSAIDs suppress prostaglandin production, so it is vital for anyone dealing with any type of digestive problem (including GERD) to find ways to manage their stress and avoid the use of NSAIDs as much as possible.

When Natural Treatments May Not Be Enough

There may be some cases when an entirely natural approach is not enough. When there is tissue damage in the esophagus, for example, a surgical procedure called “gastroplication” which repairs the LES valve may be necessary. These procedures don’t have the potential to create nutrient deficiencies and disease the way acid blockers do. It is advisable for anyone suffering from a severe case of GERD to consult with a knowledgeable physician.


The mainstream medical approach to treating heartburn and GERD involves taking acid stopping drugs for as long as these problems occur. Unfortunately, because these drugs not only don’t address the underlying cause of these problems but may make it worse, this means that people who start taking antacid drugs end up taking them for the rest of their lives.

This is a serious problem because acid stopping drugs promote bacterial overgrowth, weaken our resistance to infection, reduce absorption of essential nutrients, and increase the likelihood of developing IBS, other digestive disorders, and cancer. The manufacturers of these drugs have always been aware of these problems. When acid-stopping drugs were first introduced, it was recommended that they not be taken for more than six weeks. Clearly this prudent advice has been discarded, as it is not uncommon today to encounter people who have been on these drugs for decades—not weeks.

What is especially disturbing about this is that heartburn and GERD are easily prevented and cured by making simple dietary and lifestyle changes, as I have outlined in this final article.

Unfortunately, the corruption of our “disease-care” system by the financial interests of the pharmaceutical companies virtually guarantees that this crucial information will remain obscure. Drug companies make more than $7 billion a year selling acid suppressing medications. The last thing they want is for doctors and their patients to learn how to treat heartburn and GERD without these drugs. And since 2/3 of all medical research is sponsored by drug companies, it’s virtually guaranteed that we won’t see any large studies on the effects of a low-carb diet on acid reflux and GERD.

So once again it’s up to us to discover the truth and be our own advocates. I hope this series of articles has served you in that goal.

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Join the conversation

  1. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for someone who had their gallbladder removed and has a hiatal hernia? I am over weight and suffer from what feels like a tight band around my chest and back and burning in my upper abdomen. The doctors want to put me on antacids but they don’t help.

  2. I was diagnosed with GERD and H-pylori about 5 years ago. I did the eradication program for the h-pylori but the GERD did go away. I was prescribed a medicine by the name Takecab. This medicine really worked wonders for my GERD. The doctor prescribed 2 and 1/2 month of medicine at a time. It was too expensive with insurance either, about $35. The doctor told me that I would have to take this medicine once a day probably for the rest of my life. I wasn’t too happy to hear that.

    So the years go by and a month ago I decided to change my eating habits. I really didn’t enjoy eating by the clock. I felt that eating the prescribed 3 meals a day wasn’t healthy for me. My stomach would be swollen and bloated on most days of the week. I would have INS episodes throughout the day, constantly passing gas from morning to night.

    I decided to only eat 1 meal a day (dinner). Skipping breakfast and lunch. I have been doing this for the past one month and here are the results:

    1. No more IBS
    2. NO more GERD!!!! I haven’t took my medicine in over 2 weeks!!!!
    3. I have dropped about 15 pounds
    4. I’m enjoying eating again (only one meal a day).
    5. Saving money! Not having to buy lunch and breakfast saves me about $275 a month, if not more.

    So much for the opinion of doctors. I cured myself with intermittent fasting. And I feel great. The first week was hard but my body quickly adjusted to the change.

    We have been brainwashed by corporations and government to believe that eating 3 meals a day is healthy. For a normal person this is absolutely not ture and is a contributing factor to the gastrointestinal issues that we are having.

    Good luck!

  3. Can I give Primal Probiotics to my 3 month old son (empty the contents of the capsule in expressed breastmilk) ? He has reflux issues and eczema. Exclusively breastfed and I have changed my diet and taken all allergens out. Just waiting for it to clear out of my milk and his system. He had to be on an antibiotic for his eczema because of an infection and I know he needs a probiotic ! What do you suggest for a baby ? Thank you. I am desperate to know the best thing to give him.

    • My midwife recommended this:
      for me and my baby shortly after she was born. (I believe she was about 6 weeks at the time.) It helped her a lot. I sprinkled some on my nipple just before nursing her, but I’m sure mixing a small amount in with some breastmilk would be fine too. Just a tiny bit made a big difference. Be sure to take it yourself, because your baby will get it from you too. Good luck!

    • Also, my baby had bad reflux too. It didn’t go away until we had a lactation consultant diagnose her with tongue tie, and we took her to a specialist to have it clipped. The reflux vanished after that. Hang in there. It will get better!

      • Are you saying you have your baby primal probiotics ? And I have thought about the tongue tie situation and plan to have the doctor look at his 4 month well check ! I have tried to look and it doesn’t seem obvious to me but obviously I am not a specialists haha ! Thank you !! I really am not certain it’s reflux but he spits up frequently after eating and anytime I lay him on his back. The doctors say if he is happy then they wouldn’t want to give him medication. And he is definitely happy so I guess it’s all good ! Just really want to find a good probiotic for him!

  4. I’m having gerd since last 7 year wat should i do???till now i.m not cure…feeling like a heart patient anxiety,belching every day every night burping and so many felling feeling doubt my self and so on..wat shall i do to eradicate this gerd???

    • Try DLG and sleeping about 6 inches elevated at the head It’ll make a world of difference

    • I am 34 and had gerd and everything that comes with it for a year. I was on ppi drugs. As soon as i stopped taking those it came back two fold. I reduced the amount of pills and then switched to zanitac at the end to control effects from ppi drugs. I only took zantac when it was necessory. Finally I figured why i had gerd. It was the bleached flour we were using for the bread and the coffee. Check wikipedia and read how bleached flour is made and how the coffee is extracted.

  5. I’m 65 1/2 years old and I have been on an acid blocking drug for almost 37 years; because at the time they put me on it I was overweight and was having severe heartburn and nothing was helping the heartburn. My doctor has never discussed with me the three different times I lost my weight A total of 12 years between thin. How to get off of the PPI. At age 60 I had a bone density test and I was 5’8″ and I shrank 1 1/2″. Now I’m 5 feet 6 1/2 inches. It took me months to face that fact and I asked my doctor about it and all he said was that your age. At 65 I had another bone density test done and found that I have osteopenia. I asked my doctor again and he said it was my age. I could not buy into this so upon research of my own I have found out that the PPI I’ve been on for more than 30 years is the culprit of my bone loss and my osteopenia. I am so upset. I’ve been taking 40 mg of Pantoprazole every morning for the 30+ years and when I found out what it was doing to my body I went to 30 mg a day and I did that for a month and had no heartburn. The next 30 days and went from 30 mg to 20 mg and still had no heartburn so I kept taking the 20 mg for a month and then when that month is over I want to 10 mg a day and after two days my heartburn came back with a vengeance. I realize after reading your article that it was like the floodgates of acid being open and dumped it to my Esophagus. So I went back to 20 mg and I’m doing OK on that, but I want to get off of this so I’ve read your articles and I’m going to try the apple cider vinegar before each meal and I’m going to get the Tagamet and this Zantac’s and have these on hand when I start again which will be next week August 7, 2017. I refuse to let this drug take away any more of my life I’ve already lost a hip to it in 2015. I shrank and I have osteopenia. Enough is enough. Thank you very much for your information it’s been very helpful to me.
    [email protected]

  6. I’m a 52 year old male, fit, run 28 miles a week, eat healthily, don’t drink or smoke. Yet, I have GERD, owing to a hiatal hernia and pectus excavatum (funnel chest) . GERD has a significant impact on my quality of life. Heartburn is not the number one symptom on my list, as it doesn’t bother me that much. And, I never have pain in my abdomen or esophagus, just occasional discomfort from bloating. My number one irritating symptom is morning nausea. I don’t get it every morning, but when it’s present it grabs all of my attention, along with the coughing fits. I’m not one to take pills on a regular basis. However, I did try Zantac at night for a couple of months last year and at first it sort of helped. And, per my GI doctor’s advice I tried Nexium earlier this year for 30 days. Did not help except for eliminating the heartburn. I had bad side effects from Nexium (diarrhea). I have found nothing that prevents the nausea. No pharmaceutical or natural remedy or preventive strategy. I’ve learned to live with the exceedingly annoying nausea. In fact, I run about 4 miles every morning. The nausea subsides a bit during my run (which suggests the pH levels in the stomach are balancing themselves as a result of exercise). The nausea tends to go away entirely by early afternoon. But, I wish I could find a way of eliminating it completely. My GI doctor is useless. Only wants to prescribe PPIs (which do not help with nausea, at least not in my case).

    • If you find anything that helps nausea, let me know! I have tried doctors prescription and natural remedies. Nothing works. I was diagnosed lastcyearcwith gastritis and 2 yr ago with a hostel hernia. I rarely get heartburn, but have nausea every am and can last into the afternoon. Dyglycerized licorice root, aloe Vera, zantac, even anti nausea meds don’t work! I eat very healthy, don’t drink or smoke! This past year I retired early as I had missed 3 months of work. I will try walking as I’m not a runner? I am an avid walker but this last year I have missed out on that as well!

      • I am sorry to hear that, Joy.

        In the past year I’ve been able to manage my GERD and morning nausea somewhat better than before. I’ve cut back on my bread and sugar intake. Perhaps that has helped. I’m also a little less anxious about the disease. But, I still get bouts that can last up to a week at a time. There is a periodicity – common with many digestive ailments, apparently – that I cannot pin down to any particular trigger: So, for example, one week no symptoms, then seemingly out of nowhere symptoms for 3-5 days, then they disappear again for 4 days, etc … I admit that I do take an occasional Zantac when I’m feeling especially queasy. I also admit that it only helps a little. It calms the heartburn, but heartburn is not my chief complaint, nor something I mind. It’s the nausea that can be debilitating, in my view, even if it’s mild. And sometimes the churning of the stomach and intestines can be bothersome. Thankfully, even on the worst days my nausea always goes away by evening. I’m a totally different person in the evening.

        • Thanks for encouraging comments. I do have a chiropractor who is knowledgeable and does natural supplements. Hoping he may have some ideas as well. I first had gastritis last fall and was sick for months. Then health improved. Now I’ve had this flareup for 2months, more bad days than good. We are going to the ocean for family vacation. My husband says it’s a better place to be sick! But I’m praying I improve while I’m there!

          • Your husband may be right. Being away can be good. I’ve noticed that when I go away on a break or even a business trip, I’m less inclined to have digestive issues. I still have them, but somehow they recede to the back of my mind rather than being at the forefront. Our mental state does have an impact on our physical.

            I hope you and your husband enjoy your vacation.

              • Have a good trip.

                Yes, a doctor put me on carafate 18 months ago. I think it helped at first, but symptoms returned within two weeks so I stopped taking it.

                • Yes. I tried carafate for 5 days and didnt do well on it. I have had no nausea past few days on vacation! I have friends and family praying! So not a coincidence. But I did start adrenal tonic last Friday, and liv co ( milk thistle) as well as continuing licirice root and pepsin and probiotics. Also. Have you found after bouts of sickness or flareups that you are more fatigued. I am needing more sleep to recover. And I just started bone broth each day as recommended by my naturalistic chiropractor.

  7. Hi, everyone.
    So about a week ago I started feeling nausea and thought maybe I had food poisoning. I went to the doctor and was surprised to find out my nausea was caused by GERD. Occasionally I would feel a strange sensation in my chest and at times that would cause anxiety and panic attacks, but I never thought it could be acid reflux. I don’t recall ever even feeling heartburn. My doctor immediately put me on prilosec 20mg for a month. I’ve taken it for 5 days and the nausea has gotten a bit better, but the sensation in my chest, bitter taste, are still lingering. I also continue to feel pressure in my stomach especially after eating. After doing some reading on what this condition is I’ve become very concerned about what it could lead to in the future. I’m 35 years old and don’t want to end up developing something more serious due to improper treatment. This article made a lot of sense to me. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but there could be a solution here. If anyone has actually taken the steps this article recommend’s I would love to hear about your results. I myself will bring this article to the attention of my doctor and hope he looks at it with an open mind. Regardless I don’t think I’ll be taking the prilosec much longer and move on to a diet that will hopefully give me the relief im looking for. Hope to hear from you all and good luck to everyone on their journey to beat this thing.

    • Hi Jose,
      It is NOT wishful thinking. Following a low carb diet DOES REALLY work. I had severe reflux for 2 whole years and didn’t sleep – woke up almost every night feeling like a dragon that could breathe fire. Tries all acid blockers including prescription strength and nothing worked. Switching to a complete lo-carb diet reduced my reflux for 2 years by 80%. Felt like magic – stick to the book including low-carb fruits/veggies/nuts.
      Good luck if your doc is open minded. Most of them are not – they want repeat customers and the acid blocking drugs are a several billion dollar industry..

  8. Am 63 yrs old. Have not had heartburn or GERD for years prob. since my 40’s. What did I do? Added to diet over time and deleted from diet over time the following:
    Additions: More fruits and veggies of all kinds daily, esp., berries; less meats/fats. More grains/beans/nuts/seeds. Munch on pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans daily at work. Smoothies 3 times/wk loaded w/usually 20 items in a vitamix. Traditional or real Kefir homemade 3/times/wk with ground flax and cinnamon. Soy products.
    Deletions: soda, candy, most sweets but not completely. Processed meats. Eliminated two meat dinners/wk. White bread products (almost) completely and other products like it. Pasta w/semolina (almost) completely.
    So I added prebiotics and probiotics to the max. Cured. Tradition kefir has billions of bacteria and yeast and I believe the synergy of all the foods does the trick. Leaning more towards plant based is healthy. I am not a vegetarian and don’t believe I could be one, but I limit the amount of meat/dairy/eggs. The meat I eat is pastured and grass fed/grass finished-expensive. Butter from grass fed cows. Very few eggs yearly. I believe you need the vitamin K2 for D3/calcium transport to help keep arterial walls clean. Just my opinion and it works for me.

    • I also did the same. But i was alredy eating well except for white bread part. Its the bleached flour and the chemicals used to process coffee thats causing it. Not the flour or coffee itself.
      Wikipedia says its illegal to bleach flour in EU.

  9. I dealt with bad heartburn and acid reflux for about 10+ years. I used acid reducers the whole time. I was finally convinced by someone to try Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to help. I got off of my daily pill immediately and started just taking about a half ounce of ACV before every meal/snack. I never had acid reflux again (over a year now), but I still dealt with heartburn (the first week off of the pill was tough). Then through reading these articles, decided to try to lighten up on carbs and see how it affected me. It was noticeable, but who wants to not eat carbs? So I decided to just deal with the heartburn and eat what I like. At least I wasn’t getting acid reflux, right? Then, over a year into this change, I discovered grapefruit! I had heard something good about it and researched it a little, and it seemed quite beneficial. Little did I know that it would change everything! Today is day 4 of trying it (eating a half a grapefruit first thing in the morning…after a little ACV of course, then the other half before lunch), and I have had ZERO heartburn since day 1! It’s unbelievable! I know it is early in this discovery for myself, so we will see, but I just wanted to share the idea in case no one had yet. Grapefruit! Who knew?!

  10. This is the first article that makes sense to me.

    2 Months before I got any reflux symptoms, I had just finished a 60 day course of Doxycycline for a different issue. Ive had that same antibiotic two other times earlier that year, but a shorter course. I believe this antibiotics are the reason for my sudden reflux and stomach issues. The first days of feeling weird, my lower abdomen felt insanely cramped and later my upper abdomen became uncomfortable when I ate or when my stomach was empty. I do not ever get heartburn.

    After taking Prilosec for a couple weeks, I’ve gotten a lump in my throat and what feels like vitamin deficiency. Some days its better and it seems like sugar and carbs are definitely causing some trouble.

    I will be starting the low carb diet today and start weening off my prilosec.

    If I try ACV, will this help tell me that the problem is indeed low stomach acid? HCL sounds scary so I dont want to try that right away.