Medslant Acid Reflux Newsletter

Bananas and sauerkraut help solve acid reflux?

After last month s newsletter, many of you let me know you are seriously working on controlling your heartburn with natural remedies. You shared your successes. I ve researched them all and found some interesting observations.

Two popular folk remedies keep getting mention: bananas and sauerkraut. Many claim that bananas have a natural antacid effect. Sauerkraut either gets hyped as being a stomach relaxer because the enzymes released during fermentation of cabbage break down and neutralize excessive acid; or, it gets laughed off as a meaningless folk tale.

Bottom Line, a group of lifestyle books and e newsletters, addresses heartburn in its February health magazine and January 13, 2007 health e newsletter. Andrew Rubman, ND is one of their contributing health editors. ND is a Naturopathic Doctor, one who studies the science, art, and practice of healing by natural methods, i.e. moving from non health to health using only natural means.

Dr. Rubman believes that antacids can actually make stomach problems worse because you are eliminating the acid you need to break food down and digest it. His theory is to prevent excess acid by several means: Don't snack ' snacking tells the stomach to pump acid rather than saving it for meals; Chew food thoroughly to create saliva that helps digestion; Don't drink while eating as liquids dilute stomach aid; Avoid the known 'trigger' foods. Dr. Rubman goes on to recommend different herbal combinations available at health food stores.

Many natural remedy sources recommend licorice or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) but caution NEVER to take this if you have high blood pressure.

I am neither a physician nor health care professional of any kind and am not recommending or denying any of these suggestions. I did check the Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine and several other sources. Other than a couple of online newsletters that were not associated with any medical professionals, I could not find any concrete backup for the banana and sauerkraut suggestions. Personally, since they are both natural foods, I don't see why moderate amounts of either would do any harm. I also find it difficult to believe that either is 'magic'.

The Mayo Clinic book on Digestive Health recommends lifestyle changes to relieve heartburn, i.e., achieving or maintaining a proper weight, sleeping elevated, identifying and eliminating your trigger foods, controlling stress, not lying down for three hours after eating. The book also lists medications and supplements which can aggravate GERD symptoms. One of the supplements they caution against is potassium tablets which makes me wonder about too many bananas. The Mayo Clinic also addresses the help that can come from meds and, if necessary, surgery. Most important, they recommend seeing a physician and making sure to let your physician know what meds and OTCs, including vitamins and supplements you take.

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