If you’re one of the 66 million people in the US with acid reflux, you know the misery it causes.
This can go WAY beyond a 4-alarm fire in your chest and include chest pain, regurgitation, coughing, difficulty swallowing and sore throat.
But there’s another consequence of acid reflux that is far worse than belching or sleeping propped up on pillows.
Let’s look at this silent and potentially deadly condition, as well as explore ways that you can keep it far away from you (or help keep it quiet if you’ve got it).
What is Barrett's esophagus?
Barrett's esophagus is a condition where the cells lining your lower esophagus change and begin to resemble the inside of your intestines.
This is called intestinal metaplasia and is the result of repeated exposure to stomach acid – which is what happens with acid reflux or GERD.
Although Barrett's esophagus symptoms are usually similar to acid reflux/GERD, it's also possible to have NO symptoms at all...
This can be especially concerning because people with Barrett's esophagus have an increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma – one of the deadliest cancers in the US.
Barrett's esophagus and cancer
Once cancer occurs, depending on the degree of severity it can result in losing a portion of your esophagus.
The surgery is called an esophagectomy and involves removing your esophagus and the top part of your stomach. A portion of your stomach is then pulled up into your chest and connected to the remaining portion of your esophagus.
To say this is traumatic is a vast understatement.
The procedure has a very high mortality rate and even if you do survive, complications include:
- Breathing problems
- Lowered immune function
- Permanent damage to your larynx (voice box)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Frequent vomiting
Clearly, Barrett's is something to take seriously.
So naturally, many people with it are desperate to do whatever they must to avoid its worst consequences.
Now, the typical suggestions for Barrett’s are the same as acid reflux/GERD--avoid spicy foods and take acid reducing drugs.
Well, let’s talk about that for a moment.
If avoiding spicy foods and taking acid reducers works so well, then tell me, why have so many cases of acid reflux progressed into Barrett’s in the first place?
In addition, what many people don’t realize is that acid reducers make things worse!
How acid reducers worsen Barrett’s esophagus
The typical treatment for acid reflux/GERD and Barrett's is acid reducing drugs -- PPIs (like Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid), or H2 Blockers (like Pepcid or Tagamet).
These drugs are designed to reduce your stomach's acid secretions. Less acid in the stomach allegedly means less acid to slide up into your throat.
But challenging Mother Nature will always come back to bite you in the derriere.
You see, acid enzymes are needed for your body to digest proteins! So when your stomach secretes acid after you eat a protein food, it's doing its job and should not be interfered with!
But that's precisely what acid reducers do, and as a result, your digestion can be greatly slowed and even stopped.
Now, your stomach is smart—it senses when this is happening and tries to secrete acid to restart digestion, but eventually its efforts are thwarted by the drugs again.
This cycle can go on for hours and result in a reservoir of putrefied food and acid in your stomach.
Well, guess what happens later, especially as soon as you lie down?
You got it--up, Up, UP it comes into your throat. This creates the very thing you were trying to avoid—the ideal environment for Barrett's esophagus to flourish.
Your misery won’t end there, by the way.
Because poor digestion can also lead to trouble down south. When your foods are not broken down like they should be before they move out of the stomach, it creates a tremendous burden on your small intestine, pancreas, liver and gallbladder to try to finish digestion.
So you may also experience gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
Those are the common side effects of many acid reducing drugs and now you know why that is so.
What IS the best approach for Barrett’s?
If you want to help lessen your chances of Barrett's esophagus (or help prevent it from worsening if you have it), the true key is to...
Make sure your digestion is efficient!
When your digestion is accomplished thoroughly and completely, there is no rotting mass of food and acid to rise into your throat.
So you help eliminate a root cause of Barrett's (and acid reflux/GERD too!).
This can be accomplished in two easy steps:
1- With the right diet
Although the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) claims that, “Researchers have not found that diet and nutrition play an important role in causing or preventing Barrett’s esophagus,” all I can say is those researchers must have had their heads you-know-where.
NOTHING impacts your digestion more than your diet! So to say that one has nothing to do with the other is an extreme disservice and downright wrong.
To make a difference in your digestion, you must eliminate harmful acid-creating foods (processed and fast food) and smorgasbord-type meals that cause digestive disaster and replace them with real, nourishing foods and simpler meals that your body can break down easier.
Stick to proteins and lots of fresh vegetables in your meals, and avoid sugars and starches, as they are inflammatory and cause imbalance in the gut microbiome (which you don’t need on top of all your other issues!).
Once you start making your meals simpler and healthier, chances are excellent you’ll see a difference in how you feel VERY quickly—possibly at your first meal!
2- With enzyme supplementation
If you've eaten typical complex meals or processed or fast food for a long time (and Heaven knows that describes countless Americans), chances are excellent that your body's ability to produce adequate enzymes for digestion is reduced or impaired.
That’s why supplementation with an enzyme formula like Digestizol Max can be so helpful to so many people.
Digestizol Max contains enzymes that target any kind of food you can eat—proteins, carbs, fats, dairy, fiber, etc., plus soothing herbs to help calm an inflamed GI tract.
Even more help--occasional symptomatic relief
Despite efforts to have a healthy diet and create easier to digest meals, the fact is, sometimes you might just indulge a little bit too much and have an occasional bout of reflux.
But before you resort to medications for relief, reach for our very own Gastro BeCalm Blend instead!
This outstanding digestive formula can safely and effectively ease heartburn, reflux and indigestion and cool the fires of stomach inflammation.
Gastro BeCalm Blend combines four very effective, well-proven and potent herbs that soothe stomach irritation and support more comfortable digestion, as well as less heartburn and digestive discomfort:
Mastic Gum: Studies have shown that mastic gum effectively kills Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria—the bacteria that causes most stomach ulcers.
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root: Research has shown that licorice root is very effective against heartburn.
Ginger Root: Ginger has long been used to treat peptic ulcers, gas and indigestion.
Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow root can ease or prevent heartburn, ulcer symptoms, diarrhea and constipation.
Other helpful suggestions
Other safe, natural measures to help soothe an inflamed GI tract and enhance digestion can include:
- Chiropractic treatment
- Quitting smoking
You CAN fight and WIN
If you have Barrett’s esophagus, or if you have acid reflux/GERD that you want to help PREVENT from progressing into Barrett’s, see what a HUGE difference it can make when you take safe, natural measures to help encourage sound digestion and heal inflammation in your GI tract.
To your health,