Among the many distasteful TV commercials for prescription drugs, my least favorite are the ones for people with heartburn. Although some people do have a legitimate problem with the valve between their esophagus and stomach, most heartburn is simple overindulgence.
To give overindulgence medical credibility, the drug companies renamed heartburn GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Now, with a “named” disease, many people think they “need” a medicine.
Health insurance companies simply hate the GERD medications like Nexium, AcipHex, Prevacid, and Protonix. First, because they dislike treating what are mainly lifestyle symptoms. Second, the medications are ridiculously overpriced, and third, people stay on them forever.
The medications, called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), work by suppressing stomach acid production. Some gastroenterologists question the wisdom of keeping your stomach acid production on the low side. It’s well known that long-term users of PPIs can develop deficiencies of Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins, beta carotene, and zinc.
Stomach acid is there for a purpose and (I’m sure with unintentional irony) the pharmaceutical industry also happily provides medicines to increase stomach acid production.
Is there a natural alternative? Definitely.
A new report using an extract of orange peel, called D-limonene, showed two significant benefits. First, there was prompt relief of heartburn symptoms within a few days of use. And second, this relief lasted up to six months after the supplement was discontinued. Working with 20 GERD volunteers, taking one capsule of D limonene or placebo (fake capsule) every other day for 20 days, 83% reported resolution of symptoms within two weeks (versus 30% of those taking placebo). Half of those who got relief were still symptom-free after six months.
Of course, making some lifestyle changes always helps. For example:
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid or cut back on caffeine, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.
- Eat small meals.
- Avoid eating late at night.
- Don’t lie down for three hours after a meal.
- Avoid major offenders: greasy foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, garlic, onions.
- If overweight, lose some weight by getting active.
- Avoid tight clothes.
If you want to consider the new natural alternative, D-limonene, just click here. Take one capsule every other day for 20 days. The instructions are on the package.