Heartburn is experienced as a pain and a burning sensation in the stomach or chest behind the breastbone and can sometimes be accompanied by bloating, gas and nausea. This happens when the esophageal sphincter does not close properly, thus allowing food or acid to move back up, irritating the esophagus. The main function of hydrochloric acid in the stomach is to aid in the digestion and breakdown of food as well as in the regulation of stomach pH. By providing an acidic medium, hydrochloric acid creates an environment that is optimal for protein digestion. It is worth mentioning that, seeing as acid secretion is stimulated by the presence of protein in the stomach, it is important for there to be a balance between the amount of mucous which helps to protect the stomach lining and the amount of hydrochloric acid present in the stomach.
The two main causes of Acid reflux are:
A hiatal hernia: Can be addressed by consulting a competent osteopath
The presence of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach
In addition, it is often assumed that when we experience heartburn it must be caused by an excess of acid in the stomach, although this may be the case, a low acid production may also be possible. If this is the case, it is important to restore the acid content of the stomach to allow for proper digestion as hydrochloric acid allows us to:
• Digest proteins
• Destroy harmful bacteria
• Empty the stomach within a normal timeframe
• Help intestine to work properly
• Adequately assimilate calcium and iron
Symptoms of low hydrochloric acid production
• Feeling tired after a meal
• Protein deficiency
• Weakened immune system
Lifestyle Habits that can cause irritation to the stomach and affect the digestive system:
• Excessive consumption of spicy foods
• White vinegar
• Processed foods (meat, white flour, food additives)
• Fried foods
Tips to relieve discomfort:
1. Apple cider vinegar (dilute one tbs in a glass of water) to help restore the acidic level of the stomach
2. Aloe vera juice can help protect the mucous tissues and reduce inflammation
3. Fresh pineapple, which contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps with the digestion of proteins
4. Papaya, which also contains an enzyme that helps in the digestion of proteins
5. Ginger tea is known to help stimulate digestion
6. Chamomile tea may help soothe inflammation
7. Peppermint tea stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid
8. Practicing relaxation techniques to help ease stress such as yoga and meditation
9. Avoid foods known for causing digestive issues
Symptoms are a physical manifestation of our inner-self. They are a way for our body to catch our attention and bring awareness to what is happening at a deeper level. As we all know, the stomach is where we breakdown and assimilate what we ingest. The stomach is where we absorb and process the food that gives us energy and provides fuel to keep us going. When stomach issues arise, ask yourself: ” What situation in my life am I unable to digest?” Physical ailments of this nature may relate to a struggle in dealing with certain people or situations. It may also be indicative of anger or irritation being experienced. Ask yourself: ” Am I repressing feelings of anger or rage that are causing me to be bitter?” Remember that your thoughts and feelings have an incidence on your physical self.
Energetically, the digestive system is related to the solar plexus chakra which is associated with our sense of self and our need to be acknowledged as a unique individual. Fire, the element associated with this chakra, represents our ability to transform ourselves and our reality. When in balance we feel full of energy, spontaneous, confident, valued and free to express ourselves in all our uniqueness. On the contrary, when there is an imbalance in this energy center we will tend to be more judgmental, controlling, and hold on to feelings of anger and hatred. We may also be sensitive to criticism and lack self-confidence.
The help balance this energy…
Meditate on this:
What situations or people in my life am I unable to digest?
I feel and express my emotions with ease.