Over the last decade, the occurrence of heartburn and heartburn related symptoms has risen by almost 50% affecting over 15 million American adults on a daily basis. Based on these statistics, it’s no surprise that people are wondering how to get rid of heartburn for good or at least mitigate its symptoms.
But did you know that quick heartburn relief can be found using simple home remedies?
Today I’m sharing an amazing heartburn home remedy that’s almost too good to be true yet works 9 times out of 10 whenever I use it. I’ll also be going over a few other tried and true tips that help put out the fire.
Everything You Need to Know About Heartburn
Before we get into the heartburn remedies, let’s dig into:
- What is heartburn?
- The most common heartburn symptoms
- What causes heartburn?
What is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a form of indigestion that is felt in the lower portion of the esophagus. The burning sensation is a result of stomach acid being forced back into the esophagus which feels like a burning fire in the lower chest.
Despite being called “heartburn” heartburn has very little to do with the cardiovascular system. Its name mostly comes from the burning sensation that occurs behind the breastbone near the heart.
Heartburn Is Caused By:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Age – heartburn occurrence increases with age as stomach acid levels and quality change over time
- Drinking alcohol before bed
- Eating food that is difficult to digest
- Eating large meals – especially near bedtime
- Eating rich foods before bed
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Lack of exercise
- Low stomach acid – Yes, really!
- Nutritional deficiencies – typically, magnesium or potassium
- Poor diet – high sodium intake, processed foods, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate
- Taking certain medications (even heartburn medicine!) – ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, blood pressure meds, aspirin, antibiotics, etc.
- Too much exercise – high-impact exercise, running, and other high-intensity workouts can aggravate heartburn symptoms
- Weakness of the stomach muscles and sphincter that connect the stomach and esophagus
When one of these instances trigger heartburn, the muscles that control the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) can become lax which is what allows stomach acid to enter the esophagus.
These leaks are what causes the irritation, inflammation, and the general burning sensation heartburn is associated with.
Common Heartburn Symptoms Include:
- A sensation of stomach acid in the throat
- Difficulty sleeping due to a burning sensation in the chest
- Dry mouth
- Feeling overly full
- Intestinal gurgling
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach noises
- Swollen painful throat
- Tooth erosion
These sensations often occur after consuming a large meal or rich foods and then lying down or bending over and lifting things.
My personal “triggers” are red wine, rich food, or foods that are heavily seasoned or spicy – especially when consumed in the evening before bed.
No matter the trigger, heartburn can be a rather uncomfortable experience.
Home Remedies For Heartburn That Help Put Out the Fire
Before you decide to follow any of the tips and natural remedies for heartburn below, I highly encourage you to do your own research. This is simply what has worked for me, my body, and my situation.
So, having said that, let’s get into the remedies!
First and Foremost – Remove Dietary Triggers
One of the most important, and perhaps one of the most difficult, is to start avoiding the consumption of trigger foods and drink.
This may include things like coffee, alcohol, onions, garlic, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, etc. that can increase intra-abdominal pressure that pushes on the lower esophageal sphincter.
Sometimes, carbohydrates or fiber-rich foods can also contribute to frequent instances of heartburn and it may be worth experimenting with your intake.
Once you know what food and drink trigger your heartburn, you can then temporarily avoid consuming those items until you get things back into balance.
It also helps to chew your food thoroughly and eat smaller more frequent meals throughout the day in order to assist digestion and avoid acid reflux.
The Best Home Remedy For Heartburn – Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Believe it or not, many instances of heartburn are actually caused by levels of stomach acid that are too low.
In order to get levels back to normal, you need to consume foods that help heartburn by naturally balancing the pH level of your stomach.
To do this most effectively, I recommend taking my favorite heartburn home remedy – raw apple cider vinegar!
It sounds too simple, but it’s actually a really effective treatment for lessening and even completely getting rid of the burn.
One of the best ways to do this is to use raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother) as a preventative by taking 1 TB of vinegar in 1-2 oz of water before every meal. This helps balance the pH in your stomach and help keep heartburn from rearing its ugly head.
If you happen to already have heartburn, you can also take the raw apple cider vinegar as needed. I still dilute mine with water, but I try to use as little water as I can comfortably tolerate (because pure vinegar is strong!).
The vinegar works within minutes almost every single time and has become a staple in my natural medicine cabinet since.
Alternatively, you can also take fresh lemon juice using the same method described above.
Use Activated Charcoal
If you know that your heartburn is caused by an overabundance of stomach acid, activated charcoal is a really great remedy to use since it binds to the contents of your stomach that aggravate acid reflux.
My husband suffers from this type of heartburn and gets a lot of relief within about 20 minutes after taking activated charcoal.
It’s really important that you take activated charcoal completely separate from other supplements or medications as it will bind with those substances and make them useless, so please keep that in mind!
Take Digestive Bitters
Another way to help balance stomach acid levels is to take digestive bitters before every meal – or at least before problematic meals!
Bitters are known to help stimulate the flow of gastric juices like bile, HCL, pepsin, gastrin, and the production of stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes in order to digest food more efficiently. Bitters are so effective, they’ve been around for thousands of years among many cultures around the world – except America.
Somehow, the US has lost the original traditions that included sipping digestive bitters or chewing bitter herbs before or after meals and I think that is evident in the statistics I mentioned above.
The intensely bitter flavor of a good digestive bitter is what stimulates a cascade of digestive communication and activity in the body. So, in order for a digestive bitter to work, you HAVE to taste it.
One of my favorite bitters to take is this one by Urban Moonshine. You just spray it a few times on the tongue before meals, and voila! Your digestive system is geared up and ready to go!
Consider Taking HCL with Pepsin
The last supplement you may want to research is hydrochloric acid with pepsin. This is essentially what makes your stomach such an acidic environment for breaking down the food you eat.
Since many people are actually deficient in stomach acid, taking an HCL with pepsin supplement can make a world of difference in regards to heartburn.
The key is to start with only one capsule or tablet of 650 mg HCL with pepsin right before eating. With time, you can increase the dose or lower it as needed.
I highly recommend checking out Dr. Chris Kresser’s article on how to take HCL with pepsin properly here.
Also, he mentions that you should not take HCL with pepsin (or any variation of HCL) if you take NSAIDS since HCL can aggravate damage caused by these medicines.
Look into DGL
DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice) is a special form of licorice root extract used by many holistic doctors to help alleviate the symptoms of heartburn and stomach ulcers. It does this by stimulating cellular growth in the mucus layer of the stomach and intestines while improving blood circulation and reducing muscular spasming.
DGL works well if you have an overabundance of stomach acid and need something that soothes the stomach and esophagus.
So, what have been your favorite home remedies for heartburn? Please share them in the comments below!
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