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Surprising Truth: Low Stomach Acid Could Be the Real Cause of Your GERD

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on March 8, 2023

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing discomfort and heartburn. While it is commonly believed that GERD is caused by an excess of stomach acid, in reality, the opposite is often true. In many cases, GERD is actually due to hypochlorhydria, or low stomach acid production. (1, 2, 3)

When there is not enough stomach acid, the valve between the stomach and esophagus does not close properly, allowing acid to escape into the esophagus. This can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to GERD symptoms. (4)

While conventional treatment for GERD typically involves medications that reduce stomach acid production, naturopathic practitioners often take a different approach. Instead, they focus on addressing the underlying causes of GERD and restoring optimal digestive function.

It's important to work with a qualified integrative healthcare practitioner, such as a licensed naturopathic doctor, to ensure you are addressing the root cause of your digestive issues. By taking a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying causes of GERD, you can restore optimal digestive function and reduce your risk of long-term complications.

  1. Kines K, Krupczak T. Nutritional Interventions for Gastroesophageal Reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Hypochlorhydria: A Case Report. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016 Aug;15(4):49-53. PMID: 27574495; PMCID: PMC4991651.
  2. Freston JW, Borch K, Brand SJ, Carlsson E, Creutzfeldt W, Håkanson R, Olbe L, Solcia E, Walsh JH, Wolfe MM. Effects of hypochlorhydria and hypergastrinemia on structure and function of gastrointestinal cells. A review and analysis. Dig Dis Sci. 1995 Feb;40(2 Suppl):50S-62S. doi: 10.1007/BF02214871. PMID: 7859584.
  3. Ahtaridis G, Snape WJ Jr, Cohen S. Lower esophageal sphincter pressure as an index of gastroesophageal acid reflux. Dig Dis Sci. 1981 Nov;26(11):993-8. doi: 10.1007/BF01314761. PMID: 7297381.
  4. Chris Kresser, M. S. (2022, September 21). What everybody ought to know about heartburn & gerd. Chris Kresser. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://chriskresser.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-but-doesnt-about-heartburn-gerd/

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