Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fighting fire with fire (almost literally!)

I have discovered the cure for what ails me.  For those who haven;t been listening, that ailment is acid reflux.  The cure?


No, not LSD.  But, yes, acid.  Now, I know that it goes against the laws of physics, nature and Sweden to combat acid with acid, but it's true.  And it makes sense.

Here's the thing: most adults who suffer from acid reflux don't actually produce too much acid.  They produce too little acid.  Remember two things as you continue reading: 1) you don't need to have a stomach full of acid to have acid reflux, and 2) high pH can be as damaging and erosive as low pH.

Think of it this way: there is no natural function of the human body that gets better with time -- if anything, most functions get worse.  My body didn't all of the sudden start producing three times as much stomach acid when I turned 23.  In fact, studies have shown that acid production is one of the mot common bodily functions to slow as we age.  So, based on that, it would come to pass that we are, as a collective group, a bunch of low-acidity creatures, right?

Well, if you count the number of prescriptions for Nexium, Protonix, Dexilent, et al, you would think that's a crazy statement.  But, as I wrote last week, big medicine almost exclusively treats the symptom, not the disease.  As my chiropractor likes to say, we take things like Tylenol as if the problem was an acetaminophen deficiency, while the problem is actually a headache from any number of causes: dehydration, overheating, stress, lack of sleep, etc.  But acetaminophen only treats the pain; it doesn't take away stress or make you feel more rested.

But, in reality, we are a high-pH society, which itself can come from any number of causes, though the most common is probably just aging.  As a result, we have poor digestion.  It's a vicious cycle, too: we can;t fully digest the food, which leads to a lack of nutrients, which prevents us from creating certain digestive enzymes, which in turn reduces our ability to digest food.

To combat that, I have started taking enzyme supplements and a product called Betaine HCl -- that's H-C-el, not H-C-eye -- which is a fancy name for hydrochloric acid tablets.  You can find it at your local nutrition shop.  Additionally, I am currently taking Zymex by Standard Process, though I am switching brands when I am done with the current bottle for cost-cutting reasons.

The bottom line is that it works.  Last night I ate nachos from Moe's, complete with a large quantity of jalepeno slices.  Four hours later I laid down for bed and got a complete night's sleep.  I was not awakened at 3:00 a.m. with heartburn.  I slept.  And, to me, that's called a win.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mike, I kept forgetting to tell you, so I guess I'll tell you here. I found the stuff that I was talking about at Whole Foods. It's enzymes that aid digestion. It's made by a company called ENZYMEDICA and the options are Digest Basic, Digest and Digest Gold. Each increasing in strength. Check it out if you'd like, sorry it took so long to get this info to you.