While it is sometimes necessary to take medication to suppress stomach acid, it should not be taken for more than a month. Unfortunately I see patients every day that have been on acid suppression medication for years and who are now paying the price with poor health.

If you are suffering from heartburn or reflux it is not a good idea to just stop the medication. Functional health practitioners will assist you with a program to wean you off the medication and help heal your digestive issues over the course of a couple of weeks. Getting rid of heartburn will always involve a change in diet and lifestyle, but you will quickly experience the benefits.

Incidentally, heartburn and reflux are caused by too little stomach acid. When there is too little stomach acid the upper “valve” of the stomach (lower esophageal sphincter) relaxes; it is usually closed and only opens when we swallow, and the weak stomach acid is pushed into the esophagus and it as well as the “valve” (sphincter) can become damaged.

The reason we need hydrochloric acid is to break down the food that we consume so that our bodies can absorb the nutrients that it requires. Chronic use of antacids and so called “proton pump inhibitors” such as Nexium either neutralize or suppress acid production. The result is that the bacteria in our gut get out of balance; only the “bad bugs” live on indigestible food, this can lead to inflammation in the gut  and a host of knock on effects such as increased food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, diarrhea, malabsorption of nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iron, depression, infestation of candida… the list continues.

Hennie can be reached at 076 891 3429 or via his website or his email address for speaking engagements