The prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is increasing. GERD is a chronic disease and its treatment is problematic. It may present with various symptoms including heartburn, regurgitation, dysphagia, coughing, hoarseness or chest pain. The aim of this study was to investigate if a dietary supplementation containing: melatonin, l-tryptophan, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, methionine and betaine would help patients with GERD, and to compare the preparation with 20 mg omeprazole. Melatonin has known inhibitory activities on gastric acid secretion and nitric oxide biosynthesis. Nitric oxide has an important role in the transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation (TLESR), which is a major mechanism of reflux in patients with GERD. Others biocompounds of the formula display anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. A single blind randomized study was performed in which 176 patients underwent treatment using the supplement cited above (group A) and 175 received treatment of 20 mg omeprazole (group B). Symptoms were recorded in a diary and changes in severity of symptoms noted. All patients of the group A (100%) reported a complete regression of symptoms after 40 days of treatment. On the other hand, 115 subjects (65.7%) of the omeprazole reported regression of symptoms in the same period. There was statiscally significant difference between the groups (P < 0.05). This formulation promotes regression of GERD symptoms with no significant side effects.
In another study, heartburn symptoms improved about as well between melatonin and omeprazole, along with equivalent normalization of the pH of the esophagus (the normal stomach acid in the wrong location causes the sensation of heartburn). Intriguingly, melatonin was able to normalize the lower esophageal sphincter tone better than omeprazole (raising the possiblity that melatonin may be a better treatment to reduce esophageal cancer and refractory reflux symptoms such as hoarseness and globus sensation). As a bonus, patients on melatonin slept much better.
Causes and First Line Treatments for Heartburn - Mercola
"Heartburn," also referred to as acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or peptic ulcer disease, is characterized by a burning sensation originating behind your breastbone, sometimes traveling up into your throat. In some cases, this burning pain can be severe enough to be mistaken for a heart attack.
When food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or acid from moving back up.
The painful effect associated with heartburn occurs when the LES relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow (reflux) backward into your esophagus. While the conventional rationale states that this is caused by excessive amounts of acid in your stomach, that's actually an extremely rare situation, typically occurring only if you have the rare condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
The vast majority of acid reflux cases are in fact related to one or more of the following situations:
- Insufficient amounts of stomach acid. One simple strategy to address this deficiency is to swap out processed table salt for an unprocessed version like Himalayan salt. By consuming enough of the raw material, you will encourage your body to make sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) naturally. Research has also shown that sauerkraut or cabbage juice is among the strongest stimulants for your body to produce stomach acid. It will also provide you with valuable bacteria to help balance and nourish your gut. Having a few teaspoons of fermented cabbage juice from sauerkraut before your meal will do wonders to improve your digestion. Fresh raw cabbage juice can also be very useful to heal resistant ulcers.
- Helicobacter pylori(H. pylori) imbalance. One of the explanations for why suppressing stomach acid is so ineffective — and there are over 16,000 articles in the medical literature attesting to this — is that when you decrease the amount of acid in your stomach, you suppress your body's ability to kill the helicobacter bacteria.While H. pylori can be part of your normal healthy microbiome, it can cause problems, including symptoms of acid reflux, if there's an overgrowth of it. This typically occurs as a result of poor food choices.Taking a betaine hydrochloric supplement (available in health food stores without prescription) will not only improve digestion, it will also help kill the helicobacter, thereby normalizing your symptoms. Other helpful foods and supplements known to suppress H. pylori are listed below.
- Hiatal hernia. If you have a hiatal hernia, physical therapy on the area may work, and many chiropractors are skilled in this adjustment.
- Food allergies can also be a contributing factor to acid reflux, so eliminate common culprits such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.