Complementary Medicine

The best of natural and pharmaceutical medicine.

Curing Indigestion—Naturally

What's causing the indigestion epidemic?
Looking at commercials, you would think that we are suffering from an epidemic of excess stomach acid. This is not the case. Natural remedies can heal your digestion, so that you can get off of acid blocker medications effectively and comfortably.

If you still think your problem is too much acid, keep this in mind. The older people get the more likely they are to use antacids. This is interesting as stomach acid production decreases dramatically as people get older!

We seem to forget that having stomach acid is both necessary and normal. In fact, the body has gone to great lengths to be able to produce stomach acid without digesting the stomach itself! Your body needs to have proper nutrition, however, to make the mucous lining that protects the stomach. Instead of giving your body what it needs to heal, we sometimes make the mistake of turning off our stomach acid to solve the problem.

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Most of your indigestion symptoms occur when any stomach acid refluxes (squirts) back up into the food pipe (the esophagus). Your food pipe is not made to resist stomach acid and even a little bit will cause it to burn. Because of this we give medications that turn off all the stomach acid. Because there is no stomach acid, the burning stops and we get deluded into thinking the problem was too much stomach acid.

What is Causing the Indigestion Epidemic?

Let's explore why we have an epidemic of indigestion. Several decades ago, food processors realized that they could extend the shelf life of food by destroying the enzymes which cause the food to ripen. For example, an ear of corn may last only five days while corn flakes can last five millennia! Because the enzymes in the food which digest and ripen the food have been destroyed, the food looks good but is difficult to digest-causing indigestion. Also, coffee and sometimes even iced tea can aggravate indigestion and reflux.

To improve your digestion so you can feel better and even get off acid blocker medications, begin by taking a plant based digestive enzyme supplement with meals. In addition, do not have iced drinks with your meals as your body's digestive enzymes do not work well in cold temperatures.

Two herbs can also be very effective when taken for one to two months. These are mastic gum 1,000 mg 2 times a day and DGL licorice. Either of these can be as effective as prescription antacids, but actually help to heal the problem instead of worsening it.

All of the treatments discussed above can be found in your health food store. After one month of following the above regimen, most people can begin to wean off of their acid blockers without pain.

For more information, and a step by step program for getting well, see Getting Off of Acid Blockers—Naturally.

Love & Blessings

Dr. T

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., internist and author of From Fatigued to Fantastic!, researches treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia.

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