A recent Zantac cancer scare has been in the newspapers; Try this safe and natural treatment instead.

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Do you have reflux or heartburn?   Your doctor may have recommended Zantac which will reduce stomach acid or a generic version known as Ranitidine.  These drugs are known as PPI's (Proton Pump Inhibitors).

This past Friday, the FDA said it detected low levels of cancer-causing contaminants according to the NY Times in these products.

Zantac may offer relief of your symptoms, but you can also develop other gastrointestinal problems while taking the product.   The drug may increase your risk of developing cancer not only because it has cancer-causing agents, but also because of how it reduces symptoms, without solving the problem. Zantac lowers stomach acid without regard to what it will do to your digestive tract should have people rethinking their approach to feeling better.

Buffering the stomach if too much stomach acid is causing reflux or heartburn after a meal seems like a logical approach.   Unfortunately, the body does not work that way.

Our digestive system is designed to assimilate food and its nutrients and eliminate the rest.  To properly digest food, we need stomach acid, enzymes and the right types of bacteria in the gut.   Food usually spends about two hours in the stomach until it is pushed into the small intestines.   If there is too little acid, bacteria can overgrow and cause other conditions such as  GERD.  We also need a certain amount of acidity to properly assimilate vitamins and minerals into the body during digestion. Chronic problems that are managed with a medication that makes the problem more chronic can result in nutritional deficiencies and even pain as inflammation rises in the body, affecting all body systems.

As we age, we produce less stomach acid.  Taking something to reduce that acid further will make the problem worse.

To prevent reflux, we also need stomach acid since it causes the gastric sphincter where the esophagus exits into the stomach.  If the sphincter does not sense enough acid, it will allow food and stomach acid back into the esophagus, causing the symptom of reflux and heartburn.

Some people also sleep on an incline with the idea that the food will stay in the stomach.   This is inconvenient and is not very helpful.

A better natural way to prevent reflux that does not require a prescription.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural alternative.   Rather than reducing stomach acid, it actually adds acid to the stomach and closes the gastric sphincter. Food then enters the intestines after being digested more fully and then we assimilate and further digest food in the small intestine.

Those who practice functional medicine think of reflux as a problem related to too little acid, so taking apple cider vinegar with each meal may the most sensible approach to improve digestion and resolve heartburn as well as reflux.  There is quite a bit of hype regarding apple cider vinegar.   Some people have also claimed it helped them lose weight.  Check out this link for the latest evidence regarding the benefits of using apple cider vinegar.

We recommend 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in liquid form prior to each meal.  This can be eaten in a salad or you can make a drink with it and take it that way instead. A number of companies are now making apple cider vinegar pills.   Amazon.com carries numerous products which can make dosage easy and convenient.