Breathing Fire


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The digestive tract and its components are similar to an assembly line. Each organ along the tract plays a role in systematically breaking down the food we eat, harvesting nutrients, feeding our microbes, and giving the system a good cleanse. 

Acid reflux is a sign that the digestive system is not operating smoothly. Instead of moving into the small intestine, food and stomach acid can regurgitate, or reflux, into the esophagus. Reflux not only causes irritating symptoms but also paves the way for other health concerns down the line.

Acid reflux symptoms 

  • heartburn
  • chest pain
  • food regurgitation
  • bitter taste
  • chronic cough
  • asthma
  • throat clearing
  • hoarseness
  • globus sensation
  • belching
  • trouble swallowing

Having reflux symptoms at least twice per week for four to eight weeks may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

It’s a good idea to talk to your health care practitioner to receive accurate diagnosis and treatment as other health conditions, such as the following, may mimic reflux symptoms:

  • angina
  • gallstones
  • anxiety
  • stomach ulcers
  • esophageal cancer
  • gastroparesis

Effects of reflux 

While occasional reflux may resolve on its own, GERD negatively affects quality of life, requires treatment, and may lead to other health concerns, including esophageal damage and cancer. It can be treated with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which reduce stomach acidity.

Not all acid is bad 

Stomach acid is a vital player on our digestive system’s conveyor belt as it facilitates digestion; helps absorb iron, calcium, and vitamin B12; and kills harmful micro-organisms.

While beneficial for short-term relief, long-term PPI use can increase the risk of bone fracture, renal disease, pneumonia, nutrient deficiency, and hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid). Hypochlorhydria weakens digestion and increases susceptibility to intestinal infections.

Strangely enough, low stomach acid can also cause heartburn! In this case, treating with acid-lowering medications is not helpful. However, there are anecdotal reports that drinking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before a meal may be helpful.


Signs of low stomach acid 

  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • heaviness after eating
  • abdominal bloating
  • gas
  • undigested food in stool


Vitamin B12 deficiency 

Long-term antacid use may result in vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause peripheral neuropathy, anemia, fatigue, hyperpigmentation of the skin, and brittle hair.

If not treated appropriately, severe B12 deficiency can result in irreversible structural changes in the brain.

Causes of reflux

The food we eat and how we eat it play a role in reflux. GERD is often triggered by:

  • acidic food
  • coffee and tea
  • spicy, fatty, or fried food
  • carbonated beverages
  • chocolate

Additional factors that contribute to GERD include:

  • obesity
  • vigorous exercise
  • exercise right after a meal
  • lack of regular exercise
  • tobacco smoking
  • alcohol consumption

GERD is also more common in women and is associated with aging and stress.

Diet and lifestyle 

The positive thing about the correlation between reflux, diet, and lifestyle is that we have the power to make a difference!

  • Embrace regular mealtimes and avoid overeating.
  • Schedule moderate-intensity exercise a good distance away from mealtimes and bedtime.
  • While sleeping, lie on your left side and raise your head off the bed to reduce nighttime reflux.
  • Try diaphragmatic breathing exercises, acupuncture, and hypnotherapy.

Natural digestion support



can improve heartburn and reflux in GERD


may be helpful in reducing mucosal damage from reflux

apple cider vinegar, licorice, calcium carbonate, and papain

this blend may improve heartburn and acid reflux symptoms


reduces pain in people with irritable bowel syndrome and diffuses esophageal spasm


preliminary research suggests anti-inflammatory effects on the gut


may be helpful in the treatment of oral inflammation and ulceration


may prevent gastric ulcers induced by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs


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