2-step plan is a ‘fast’ fix for GERD

There’s something a lot of people don’t realize about acid reflux…

It doesn’t always cause that burning feeling in the chest that you expect.

Sometimes it manifests in more covert ways, like a tickle in your throat, a sore throat, a hoarse voice, the feeling that there’s something stuck in your throat, an ongoing cough, difficulty swallowing and other less obvious symptoms.

I know, because I recently started experiencing some of the symptoms myself. I found myself wondering why my voice was hoarse for no apparent reason, or why I felt like I had something stuck in my throat from time to time. And then I realized what it was… laryngopharyngeal reflux, also known as silent reflux.

Silent reflux is a tricky condition, because it can easily go unnoticed. You don’t experience that impossible-to-miss burning, but it still causes damage to your throat and larynx. So once you realize what’s going on, it’s not something you should ignore.

The good news is, whether you’re dealing with silent reflux or the more traditional version, there’s a simple way you can improve your symptoms without spending a dime — or using dangerous proton pump inhibitors or PPIs that can increase your risk of death by 50 percent

Eat less for less reflux

A 2014 study published in the journal Hepatogastroenterology uncovered a simple solution that cleared up chronic acid reflux (known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) in as little as 10 days.

The solution doesn’t involve any prescription drugs or supplements, but it does involve good old fashioned dietary discipline…

Researchers found that eating too much and eating at odd times throughout the day are major triggers for GERD-sufferers. In fact, in the study, between-meal eating had the strongest association with GERD of any other eating habit.

That’s because snacking throughout the day causes excess air in your stomach, which leads to distension and bloating. It also causes transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation, which means your lower esophageal sphincter (a group of muscles at the bottom of your esophagus) relaxes and allows stomach acid to flow up through your esophagus into your throat.

Based on these findings, researchers tested a simple diet plan on a small number of GERD-sufferers: Eat two meals a day, with only water between meals. And this plan cleared up GERD symptoms for many of these sufferers within 10 days!

After the success of this initial test, researchers performed a pilot study on 20 people with GERD and this diet plan helped 15 out of 20 of them. People with mild GERD came out the best… it helped every single one of them. People with moderate GERD did pretty well too… it helped 66 percent of them. People with severe GERD had symptoms that were a little more stubborn, but it still helped 33 percent of them.

This 2-step plan is simple, but not easy

So what’s the best remedy for your acid reflux (silent or otherwise)? It seems to be a simple, two-step diet…

Step 1- Only eat two meals per day (in the early part of the day)

Step 2- Drink water between those two meals, but don’t eat or drink anything else.

Now, there’s no denying this is an astoundingly simple plan for overcoming GERD. But just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Skipping a meal is hard, and so is cutting out snacks. You’ll probably be hungry. But chances are, your GERD has taken some of the joy out of eating anyway. What fun is eating when you’re scared every bite you take is going to cause heartburn or other uncomfortable symptoms?

If you try this, at least, you’ll be able to enjoy the meals you do have, even if you have less of them. Researchers believe fasting like this (also known as intermittent fasting) can reduce the reflux response, giving your esophagus time to heal.

But it’s definitely worth giving it a shot … because if you adopt this type of intermittent fast, you’ll experience a bunch of other health benefits too, like a reduced risk of cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

Of course, if you’re someone who suffers from severe GERD, you may need to complement this diet trick with other natural remedies, like:

  • Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in water
  • Trying digestive enzyme supplements
  • Taking L-glutamate to stimulate the production of the digestive enzyme pepsin and betaine hydrochloride (betaine HCL) to restore healthy acidity to your stomach

Sources:

  1. I. Yasawy and M.A. Randhawa MA. “GERD is becoming a challenge for the medical profession: is there any remedy?” — Hepatogastroenterology. 2014 Sep;61(134):1623-6.
  2. Silent Reflux: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.” — Medical News Today. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  3. Soothing, natural ways to manage acid indigestion.” — Easy Health Options. Retrieved July 27, 2017.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.