Why I Don't Like Acid-Blocking Medications©

Why I Don't Like Acid-Blocking Medications©

We’re always hearing that an epidemic is coming, but the fact is we’re having it now – it’s acid indigestion. I won’t quote a statistic about how many people are taking acid blocking medication because the number grows by leaps and bounds daily.

As of a few years ago, some of these drugs have even been approved for infants. Since diagnostic practices tend to follow drug approval, we are now seeing a change in the way pediatricians diagnose babies’ digestive disturbances. 5 years ago babies had colic, now they have “acid reflux disease” and so do millions of older Americans. But what is really going on?

To properly understand acid reflux, you need to understand the basics about how your digestive system works. In this article, we’ll take the 50 cent tour of a normal healthy digestive system, then see what can go wrong.

Digestion begins on the plate. The very smell of food prepares the body for what’s coming on a chemical level. Once you begin to chew, saliva starts to break down starches and sugars right there in your mouth and some absorption even takes place there. This is why it’s important to chew thoroughly.

In the stomach, hydrochloric acid is secreted in significant quantities. The stomach begins a series of rhythmic contractions which mix the food with the acid. Over a period of time, the acid breaks down the proteins in the food into their amino acid building blocks so the body can use them.

Once the acid level gets high enough –this is a critical point – the valve at the bottom of the stomach opens to allow the liquefied food to pass into the small intestine. Immediately the choreography of the entire digestive system orchestrates a well-timed and vigorous release of bile from the gall bladder and enzymes from the pancreas to neutralize and further digest the highly acid mixture which has just entered the small intestine.

As the liquid continues through, it is pressed against the inner surface of the small intestine. The small intestine is designed to maximize its surface area contact with the food mixture so that you can absorb every possible nutrient. Due to its convoluted design and the existence of villi and microvilli, the actual surface area within the small intestine has been estimated to be roughly the size of a football field - literally.

The food mixture stays longest in the small intestine to allow for maximum nutrient absorption. When it’s finished there, the remaining content passes into the large intestine where much of the excess water will be absorbed from it. What remains is excreted in a timely manner.

The process described above is not happening correctly for most Americans. Any of the functions described above can go wrong when the diet and other habits are poor. I teach that there are seven keys to awesome health. All seven affect the digestive process directly.

When digestion is poor, all seven areas need to be addressed in order to truly remedy the problem. The primary aim of this article however, is to explain why acid blocking medication is not the answer, so we’ll address this one aspect of the total picture here.

When you take a pill to stop your stomach from producing acid, you stop producing acid. So why do so many still feel acid burn when they’ve stopped their stomachs from making acid? The simple answer is this: Hydrochloric acid is generally NOT the cause of acid reflux or “heartburn.” In fact, the opposite is usually true – a lack of hydrochloric acid is the true cause. The stomach makes hydrochloric acid (HCL) and the stomach lining is perfectly designed to tolerate high levels of hydrochloric acid - it doesn’t hurt you unless you’ve already severely damaged your stomach.

When you don’t make enough HCL, what happens in the stomach when you eat? For a while, very little happens. But it is very warm and moist in there, so pretty soon the food you ate, which is loaded with bacteria, begins to rot or ferment. The processes of rotting and fermenting create acids other than hydrochloric – acids your stomach lining is not equipped to deal with. Now you feel the burn, but it isn’t HCL. The food will stay in your stomach until the pH reaches the low point and then the food will finally be released into the small intestine.

You can not digest protein properly without HCL. Without it, more proteins will pass through your stomach intact. The result of intact proteins being absorbed from a compromised gut wall is often the development of food allergies and always the activation of the immune system. The immune system only attacks proteins – not amino acids. Proteins are like trains. The cars are amino acids. Individual cars can move freely through your bloodstream and your body can use them to build its own trains. Your body will not use somebody else’s trains. If your immune system sees a train that you didn’t build, it will attack. When it attacks, you feel weaker.

If you, like most people, don’t believe extra acid could possibly help, try this little experiment. Next time you are having an attack of indigestion or burning, put a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar into a glass of 2 – 4 ounces of water and drink it. If low HCL is your problem, you will probably feel better within 20 minutes. Don’t do this if you have an ulcer. In all the years I’ve told people to do this, I’ve never had one whose pain wasn’t relieved by additional acid. I wouldn’t recommend this as an ongoing practice; it’s hard on your teeth.

There are other factors that affect your digestion such as the presence of a hiatal hernia – which can often be remedied by a qualified chiropractor. Eating specific combinations of foods effects digestion also as some things just don’t digest well together. An unhealthy liver or gall bladder may have an impact on your digestion, and poor functioning of the valves in the intestinal tract may also be a problem. A thorough evaluation of all the factors involved is necessary if you want to have an accurate picture of what’s going on in your body and an idea of how to help it work better.

The point is, anytime you stop your body from doing something it naturally does, you will cause more problems than you solve. HCL is necessary for protein digestion and metabolism. If you don’t have the HCL, you don’t have the protein you need either. Lack of protein causes aggravation of the following problems and many more: food allergies, hair loss, weak fingernails, weak bones and teeth, poor growth in children, muscle weakness, fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, poor adrenal function, poor thyroid function, slow healing, slow metabolism, poor immunity, poor blood sugar control, and the list goes on.

The ultimate insult is to start a baby or young child down that road to ruin early in life. In my opinion, these drugs have no place in pediatric care. Regardless of age, most digestive distress is caused by dietary mistakes. Make some changes. Get some advice. Get a chiropractic adjustment. The bottom line is that it isn’t a good idea to use drugs to block your natural functions, take the time to figure out what your body really needs and take action. Your health is in your hands.


Nutritional Health Education Center • 141 N. 3rd Street, Suite 5 • Danville, KY 40422
www.awesomehealthmakeover.com 859-236-3234
Dr. J.L. Fortner ND, Director

Why I Don't Like Acid-Blocking Medications©