Heartburn is the sensation of a burning feeling in the chest. This can be due to the overproduction of stomach acid, which then rises into the throat, causing burning and pain sensations or a croaky voice. It can be so uncomfortable; it can frequently require medication. When this happens, you should avoid acid-generating foods such as coffee and lemons. Statistically, only 30% of heartburn sufferers have actual reflux. For those with heartburn but not reflux disease, it is an occasional yet painful experience and it can affect the ability to confidently enjoy food and drinks. People suffering from heartburn, frequently take an over-the-counter antacid to manage the problem. However, what should you do when food avoidance and antacids fail to remedy the situation? Here are some lesser-known causes of heartburn and suitable remedies for its relief.
1. Food Intolerance
For many, food intolerances manifest as gastrointestinal problems such as gas, wind, bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea. They are also linked to migraine headaches, eczema rashes and hormonal imbalances. A little-known intolerance reaction called eosinophilic oesophagitis is a food intolerance reaction where the oesophagus (the inside part of the throat) gets an eczema-like rash and generates a sensitivity which can feel like heartburn or an itchy sore throat. If this sounds like your heartburn – then a food-intolerance-focused enzyme formula, like Enzymedica Digest Spectrum may be enough to soothe the reaction.
2. Low Stomach Acid
People tend to think heartburn is always due to producing too much stomach acid. However, low stomach acid can generate heartburn too. The stomach has a valve, that acts like a door which closes off stomach acid from the throat, to allow digestion. When stomach acid is low, that door stays open, causing a heartburn sensation. In addition, you may find that you cough when lying down and that your heartburn is connected to the consumption of high protein or high-fat foods such as meat, cheese and lentils, as well as fried and processed foods. If this sounds familiar, supplementing with a product, like Enzymedica Betaine HCL or Enzymedica Digest Gold can provide substantial symptom relief.
3. Low enzyme activation
Stomach acid is a highly acidic fluid that activates our protein-digesting enzymes. When our stomach acid is low or alkaline (perhaps because of medication), proteins can stay in the stomach for longer than usual. There, they ferment and produce gases that fill the chest with a hot stretching sensation i.e. heartburn.
Consider trying 1 capsule of Enzymedica Betaine HCL with the first bit of meals for relief of low stomach acid.
4. Thinner stomach lining
Like all body organs, the stomach is coated in a silky film-like coating that protects its lining from the acids, enzymes and sensations it produces each time we eat. After a bout of inflammation, such as gastritis, or a stomach bug, or from drinking alcohol - the stomach lining can get thinner and increase the exposure of our nerve endings. This results in an increased sensitivity to things we would not normally notice. Our stomach nerves interpret these sensations as pain signals, generated as ‘heartburn’. If you feel that your stomach is sensitive, a product like Enzymedica Acid Calm could help by providing your with the nutrients you need to rebuild a strong, robust stomach lining and reduce hypersensitivity.
Still not sure? Try our Digestive Health Quiz for customised diet, lifestyle and enzyme recommendations.