One of the complaints I see most often is GERD, or acid reflux. We spend $13 billion a year on this one illness in the U.S. That money is spend on drugs called proton pump inhibitors, which are designed to reduce the amount of acid formed in the stomach. The medical reasoning goes like this: When stomach contents backs up into the esophagus, the acid is irritating, so let’s reduce the acid. Which begs the question, how is it that Americans are making $13 billion dollars of excess stomach acid?
It turns out that the problem is rather the opposite. People tend to produce less stomach acid as they age. In addition, life is very stressful, and stress shuts down digestion. The digestive enzymes in your stomach require an acidic environment to do their job. Too little acid results in poor digestion, and that leads to reflux, as well as bloating, constipation or diarrhea.
There are other problems with low stomach acid levels. The highly acidic stomach is your immune systems very effective barrier to food-borne germs. Protein, and several vitamins and minerals, including B12, calcium, and magnesium, require normal acid levels to be absorbed. So when the cause of the problem is decreased acid, do we really want to be reducing stomach acid even more?
The chiropractic approach is rather the opposite. Supplement with acid (HCl generally in the form of betaine hydrochloride) and digestive enzymes. When food is digested normally, it can procede downwards through the digestive tract. In addition, chiropractic adjusting can correct the functioning of the esophageal sphincter and reposition the stomach correctly below the diaphragm. This adjustment and supplement protocol is very effective, and rather than causing side effects, it benefits the entire digestive process. It is one of the most clear-cut cases of treating the cause (low stomach acid) rather than the symptom to fully correct a problem.