Beware of Antacids & Heartburn Meds

March 22, 2016

By Anna Varriano

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If you or someone you know suffers from acid-reflux (heartburn) – and especially if antacids or heartburn meds called proton pump inhibitors are taken for relief – then this is an important article for you to read.

Heartburn – Your Stomach’s Cry For Help

Regular heartburn should not be ignored. It is a message that your stomach is struggling, and if left unaddressed, more serious issues could develop. If your solution to heartburn is popping an antacid, you may unknowingly be doing more harm than good. While these products can offer short-term relief, in the long-term they can make your symptoms worse and possibly have negative effects on your overall health as they are not addressing the root of the problem. As for heartburn medications, a recent study suggests that those that are classified as proton pump inhibitors (e.g. Nexium and Prevacid) are linked to chronic kidney disease. While the study stated that it couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, it did observe increasing kidney damage as the dose of these meds increased.

High Stomach Acid … or Low Stomach Acid?

Many people think that acid-reflux or heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is caused because their stomach is producing too much hydrochloric acid (HCl); however, in most cases, it is caused because their stomach is not producing enough HCl. This typically means that food will sit in their stomach and start to ferment (basically it will start to rot) – and fermentation causes gas.


This can put upward pressure on a valve known as the ‘lower esophageal sphincter’ or ‘cardiac sphincter’ located just under the heart (hence the term ‘heartburn’). This sphincter is a tiny donut shaped muscle that is located between the top of the stomach and the esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach).  Gas build up in the stomach creates pressure on the valve that may cause it to open when it should be shut. If the valve gives to the pressure, the contents of your stomach can then ‘reflux’ into your esophagus, causing an unpleasant burning sensation. While it’s more common to have low HCl production in the stomach than it is to have high HCl production, the symptoms of low HCl production are often treated as if there is a high HCl production problem. This causes a vicious cycle that continually suppresses HCl production.

We Need Stomach Acid

We need proper levels of HCl for a number of important reasons, including the fact that HCl activates other enzymes and hormones that play critical roles in the proper digestion of proteins and fats. HCl also has the ability to destroy potential problem-causing bacteria that we might ingest with our food, thus protecting us from gastrointestinal issues (think vomiting and diarrhea) that we would otherwise experience if the bacteria weren’t destroyed.

The truth about stomach acid-suppressing drugs is that they are only supposed to be used as a ‘short-term’ treatment to offer some relief – they were never meant to be the life-long therapies that many people have adopted them for.

Antacids change the pH (acid-alkaline balance) of our stomach, which can lead to a host of ill-side effects, including a proliferation of the bacteria H. pylori, which has been associated with ulcers and stomach cancer.

So, if you or someone you know suffers from chronic indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, gas, bloating, or even chronic bad breath, chances are the stomach isn’t making enough HCl.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Biotics-Research-Betaine-Plus-HP-780053000232A product that will get to the root of the problem rather than just suppress the symptoms, is Betaine Plus HP by Biotics Research Canada. One capsule contains 700mg of high potency hydrochloric acid and 10 mg of pepsin (an enzyme that helps to digest protein). The suggested dose is 1 capsule per meal to start. Dosage may need to be increased following a specific protocol that should be under the direction of a health care practitioner (like me), until you are symptom-free (I also have some food-combining tricks up my sleeve that can help improve your digestion).


Now you can order a 90 capsule bottle of Betaine Plus HP through Perfect Resonance Natural Health Counselling for just $32 + HST ($36.15).

To order, please email and put ‘BETAINE PLUS HP’ in the subject line. You will receive a confirmation email with payment instructions when your order is ready for pick up through Perfect Resonance Natural Health Counselling, located in the Marshall Health Clinic at 2605 Carling Avenue, Ottawa ON.

Get to the root of your heartburn and take control of what you can!

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