Acid Reflux

What is it?

Acid Reflux or GERD occurs when acid from the stomach flows backward in the swallowing tube, or esophagus. Typically, this happens because the muscle (sphincter) that keeps the lower end of the esophagus closed once food/liquid passes through to the stomach relaxes more than normal. This reflux often causes stomach pain, heartburn, indigestion, and/or bloating; sometimes, people experience chest pain or difficulty swallowing as a result. Left untreated, GERD can cause serious damage to the esophagus.

What causes it?

Physicians really don’t know why reflux occurs more in some people than others. One cause can be mechanical – a hiatal hernia (dislocation of the stomach through the hiatus of the diaphragm and into the chest) allows acid to penetrate the esophagus. Stress causes excess acid secretion, which can make the reflux more likely and more severe. Some medications (such as those often prescribed for arthritis) can dissolve the stomach’s mucous lining, allowing damaging acid to eat away at the stomach. Finally, we know that a bacteria named H. Pylori damages the protective mucous barrier and directly inflames the stomach lining.

All four mechanisms – mechanical, stress, medications, and bacteria – may be present. In addition, the interrelationship of obesity, diet, and GERD is complex and hard to define.

What role might cytokines play?

One theory is that fat cell-produced cytokines influence acid secretion, inflammation, and the ability to move food/liquid through the digestive system. When cytokine-producing diets change to cytokine-balancing diets, these functions improve.

What results could I expect with MNT?

In our clinic, 67% of all patients at initial evaluation use some type of antacid medication for symptom relief. Within three months of beginning the PrescriptFit MNT Plan, 87% no longer suffer from GERD symptoms and can discontinue taking antacid medication.

How can I measure symptom change on the plan?

First, you need to be clear about what symptoms of GERD you might have. Next, you want to have a measurement of how severe each symptom is for you. This will give you a baseline to compare with future measurements. Most importantly, talk with your doctor at each regular visit about your symptoms and how they might change using the PrescriptFit Plan.

As with any medical condition, treatment for GERD often involves taking medications to reduce symptoms. With PrescriptFit, you may find that as your symptoms lessen, you will need to take less medication OR perhaps discontinue your medications entirely. If you are taking prescription medicines, talk to your doctor about when and how to cut down on what you take BEFORE you make any changes.