The Positive Side of Medicine

How to Beat Heart Burn naturally!

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By Dr. Michael L. Johnson, Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist.

It’s called many things…heart burn, acid reflux, GERD, and acid indigestion but the fact is that over 50 million Americans suffer from heart burn frequently (2-4 times/week).  It’s no wonder why antacids are a $10 billion dollar per year industry!

There is a common misconception that heart burn or acid reflux occurs because of too much stomach acid (HCL or hydrochloric acid).  In reality, the exact opposite is true!  There is too little stomach acid (aka. hypochlorhydria) and as a result the food that was consumed is not fully broken down which forms lactic acid.  It is the lactic acid that “refluxes” back into the esophagus and not HCL.

As a result of excess lactic acid patients experience symptoms such as burning (ie. Heartburn), indigestion, and tasting regurgitated food or liquid in the back of your mouth.

While using antacids can bring some relief, you need to get to the underlying cause!  Besides, studies have shown that long-term antacid use can also bring more serious health related problems down the road.


Hypochlorhydria:  In my practice, I have observed that hypochlorhydria or too little stomach acid is the primary cause of heartburn or acid reflux.  Sufficient stomach acid is necessary to break down dietary proteins, ensure absorption of vital nutrients and minerals, and protect the digestive tract from harmful bacteria and other infections.  Stress, overeating, types of food consumed (especially, fried and spicy foods) can also contribute to acid reflux.


Infections:  Another large factor in acid reflux is infections.  I have seen many patients suffering from acid reflux that have parasites.  The acid reflux patient can also suffer from a  bacterial overgrowth called H. pylori.  Studies have shown that H. pylori is so common that it is estimated to be affecting 50% of the world’s population.  When I address patients suffering from acid reflux and I eliminate their infections naturally, their symptoms disappear.

Gluten: If you eat gluten, which is the protein in wheat, barley and rye, it could be a cause of your acid reflux.  There was one study showing that chronic acid reflux affected 30 percent of patients with celiac disease compared to less than 5 percent of those not diagnosed with the disease. Another  HYPERLINK “http://www.isrn.com/journals/gastroenterology/2011/489065/ref/” study found almost 40 percent of children with celiac disease suffer from esophagitis which is an inflammation of the esophagus that causes heartburn.

Immune system: Numerous studies have shown that 80% of your immune system is in your gut.  As a matter of fact, there is more serotonin (the “feel good” neurotransmitter) in your gut than there is in your brain!  If you are suffering from an autoimmune condition where your immune system is unbalanced or distressed, you could be at a higher risk for acid reflux.

How to Beat Heart Burn naturally!


It’s important to have proper amounts of stomach acid or HCL not just to prevent acid reflux but HCL creates methyl groups.  This is an even bigger reason WHY it is vital for you to have the proper amount of stomach acid!  Methyl groups are VITAL for normal cell replication at the level of the DNA!! They turn genes “on” or “off.”  When you have depleted methyl groups, bad or mutated genes are turned “on” and good genes are turned “off.”  (Truth be told, even “good genes” can become mutated but I am not going to bore you with a lecture on genetics!)   When you have sufficient methyl groups, good genes are turned “on” and bad or mutated genes are turned “off.”

Methyl groups are also vital for phase II liver detoxification, protein methylation, homocysteine metabolism (YES, increasing the methyl groups decreases inflammation), neurotransmitter synthesis, and nucleic acid synthesis. Inadequate methylation capacity can lead to birth defects, depression, cognitive decline, diseases and cancer.   Impaired methylation has even been associated with autism.


In order to effectively “beat” acid reflux, you have to make lifestyle changes!  If you are suffering from a high degree of acid reflux (2-4 times/week), I highly recommend that you make the following changes immediately.  I call them “Dr. J’s 10 Ways to Beat Chronic Acid Reflux!”  Here they are:

#1: Change your diet now!  Consume a paleo-diet consisting of meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds!

#2: Exercise daily!  This is a must!  Exercise is one of the best things that you can do to beat stress even if it is only a 15-minute walk around the block everyday!

#3: Total elimination of refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol!  These are three kill off HCL!

#4: Drink plenty of good, high-quality water!

#5: Eliminate foods that cause inflammation!  Foods that cause inflammation are high fructose corn syrup, refined foods, and “bad oils” like trans-fats.  By the way, canola oil is NOT a healthy oil!

#6: Start using healthy oils in your diet like coconut oil, olive oil and start eating organic avocados!

#7: Throw out the “white death” or white salt and replace is with pink hymalayan salt!  Again, pink salt actually contains calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals that help heal your stomach!

#8: Increase your stomach acid by taking HCL supplements.  My favorites are HCL and HCL Activator by Premier Research Labs.  IMPORTANT: HCL needs a potassium buffer (HCL Activator) in order to create methyl groups!  Please see my full article on “The Importance of Methyl Groups” at here.

#9: Get plenty of sleep!  If you are not sleeping, you are not healing!

#10: DO NOT drink alkaline water as it will cause your stomach to become more alkaline.  This includes adding baking soda to a glass of water and drinking it down.  You want the stomach ACIDIC, not alkaline.

Finally, you are welcome to use whatever nutritional products you like but after 31 years of practice, I am going to give you my best recommendation.  I like to use products from Premier Research Labs because I have found them to be most effective.  Products like HCL, HCL Activator, Digest, Digestase SP and PRL’s Pink Salt are all helpful in relieving acid reflux.

About the Author

Dr. Michael L. Johnson is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist who has been in private practice in Appleton, WI since 1983.  He is the author of 7 books which are available at www.askdrjohnson.com.  Dr. Johnson’s latest book is available at www.drjthyroidbook.com and his YouTube channel is “Dr. Michael Johnson.”  Dr. Johnson’s supplement site is www.drjsupplements.com.

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