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Natural Help for Heartburn

ESTIMATED READING TIME 4 MINUTES

Natural Help for Heartburn

If you suffer from heartburn, you’ll know the burning sensation can make your life a misery.

Heartburn is caused by acid from your stomach travelling up into your throat. It’s extremely common, affecting around a quarter of the UK population. It’s so prevalent it’s often thought of as a normal side effect of eating rich food. But heartburn is avoidable and it shouldn’t be ignored because it can lead to problems further down your digestive tract.

Once you know what is causing your heartburn, natural methods can be very effective at putting things right, so read on to find out more.

Do You Suffer From Heartburn?

The warmth associated with heartburn is felt at the top of your stomach behind your breastbone. For some people, the pain is so severe they have trouble sleeping.

Other symptoms can include feeling like food is stuck in your throat, an acidic taste at the back of your mouth, an ongoing cough, bloating, burping and hiccupping.

Symptoms are often sparked off by fried or spicy foods, acidic ones like citrus fruits, fizzy drinks, coffee or alcohol, or by eating large meals, especially late at night, and lying or bending down soon after eating.

What Causes Heartburn?

Conventionally, it’s believed heartburn is caused by the production of too much stomach acid. This then escapes out of the top of your stomach and burns your oesophagus, the tube carrying food down from your mouth.

However, although the symptoms of heartburn are a result of acid, excess acid is not usually the root cause of the problem. Rather, too little stomach acid causes increased gas in your stomach because carbohydrates aren’t digested well and start to ferment. This puts pressure on the valve, the ring of muscle at the top of your stomach which opens to let food into your stomach. Increased stomach pressure can cause the valve to open when it shouldn’t, meaning acid then escapes upwards into the oesophagus. So the problem is not excess acid, but acid escaping to where it shouldn’t be.

It’s common for stomach acid production to reduce with age, and it decreases with stress and deficiencies of nutrients like zinc or B vitamins.  If your stomach acid production is low, food may sit heavily in your stomach after eating, and you might experience bloating and burping after meals.

Stress can cause the valve at the top of your stomach to relax, as can obesity, as it increases the pressure in the stomach. Food intolerances can often trigger heartburn, too.

Heartburn can also be a result of an infection by a bacterium called H pylori, or due to microbial imbalance in the small intestine, known as SIBO.

The importance of stomach acid in preventing heartburn

The Importance of Stomach Acid

Stomach acid is essential for good health because it’s needed to digest protein and absorb essential nutrients, as well as to activate the digestive enzymes in your small intestine.

So if you have too little stomach acid, you may not digest protein foods very well, you might develop nutrient deficiencies and you’ll tend to suffer from food poisoning, as you won’t have enough acid to destroy harmful bacteria. Acid in the stomach contents is the trigger for the next stage of digestion in your small intestine, so too little acid will cause problems such as poor carbohydrate and fat digestion, too.

Ease Heartburn Naturally

Conventional treatments block or reduce the production of stomach acid to attempt to alleviate the symptoms.

But as you now know, low stomach acid comes with a host of knock-on effects, with antacids simply masking your symptoms by interfering with the important work of the stomach acid and adversely affecting digestion. And it’s not a good idea to take antacids as just so you can continue eating unhealthy foods with no immediate ill effects.

It’s better to concentrate on the underlying causes and put them right while improving overall digestive function.

Here are some practical solutions for alleviating heartburn:

  • Never eat on the move. Slow down, chew your food really well, and relax after eating.
  • Manage your stress; don’t let it dominate you and your digestive system.
  • Don’t drink too much liquid during meals – this will dilute your stomach acid. Avoid fizzy drinks, as they encourage reflux of acid into your oesophagus, and limit citrus drinks if these spark off your symptoms.
  • Avoid eating late at night, and don’t over-eat.
  • Try fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha to help correct the bacterial balance of your digestive system.
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee, both capable of sparking off symptoms by relaxing the muscle at the top of your stomach.


Discover the root causes of your heartburn with a functional medicine consultation. Testing can establish whether you have a bacterial imbalance in your gut, SIBO, H pylori infection or nutrient imbalances, while an in-depth consultation will uncover if certain foods are a problem for you. Dietary and lifestyle modifications, personalised to you, will then be recommended to combat stress and repair your gut.

Contact Embracing Nutrition today to start your journey by clicking the envelope button on this page, or by visiting our contact page.

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