In order to come off of PPI’s you need to first figure out why you had acid reflux in the first place. There are numerous contributing factors to developing this chronic condition. Diet, food allergies, medications, obesity, stress / anxiety, hiatal hernia, constipation, overuse of antibiotics or antacids, bad eating habits, lack of digestive enzymes &/or probiotics and yes even lack of acid can be factors.
Next you need to get the healing process going by rectifying any of the contributing factors and giving the body the tools with which to repair. Once that process has begun then you can begin to wean off the PPIs very slowly. I can’t emphasize that enough. If you want to succeed you need to have patience, particularly if you have been on them for more than a couple of months. The longer you have been on PPIs the slower you will probably have to go.That means to stop 1 x a week for 1-2 weeks, if symptoms increase, GO Slower! If no symptoms occur then stop 2 days a week, spaced apart, and then keep weaning slowly at the pace your body can handle until you are completely off.
In order to understand the process you need to know at the entrance to your stomach there is a valve/muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter, which closes as soon as food passes through it. If it doesn't close all the way or if it opens too often, acid produced by your stomach can move up into your esophagus.
Hiatal hernias can be a common contributing factor. They occur when the lower esophageal sphincter and the upper part of your stomach protrudes above the diaphragm. Without the diaphragm for support the esophageal valve is more likely to open or inadequately close, allowing stomach contents to escape into the esophagus causing irritation and inflammation.
Before even attempting to decrease your PPI you need to for 1 month:
- Change your eating habits and your diet. Don’t eat large meals or lie down right after a meal. Don’t woof down you meal, eat slowly and chew well. Don’t skip meals. Keep you meals light and preferably non-acidic, non-fatty, low in spice. Coffee is very acidic even if decaffeinated and tea or alcohol can be problematic too. Don't eat your evening meal too late and don’t snack after your evening meal.
- Use supplements such as Digestive Enzymes, DGL, Slippery Elm lozenges and Aloe to improve digestive function.
- Try to lose excess weight. Gentle exercise is great for stimulating digestion, just don’t overdo.
- Have regular easy bowel movements every day. If not constipation backs up the plumbing.
- Check out your medications. Aspirin, ibuprofen, some blood pressure medications or medications for osteoporosis causes reflux.
There are other supplements that can be helpful or if you are having difficulty weaning off PPIs it is suggested to schedule an appointment with a Naturopath (available at the Tree of Life Wellness Center 508-336-4242)
Gastro-Assist (Natural Factors) is a combination formula which includes Mastic Gum, Zinc L-Carnosine, probiotics and chamomile. Mastic is a sticky substance derived from the Pistacia lentiscus tree. It has been found to be an effective alternative to pharmaceuticals in the treatment of gastritis, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and many types of intestinal inflammation. A study published in the March 2010 issue of "Phytomedicine" has antibacterial activity against H. pylori a primary causative agent for most gastric (stomach) and duodenal ulcers. Zinc is a micronutrient mineral with direct anti-inflammatory effects, helping to stabilize the membranes of mast cells. Mast cells release bursts of inflammatory cytokines when stimulated by injury or allergy. Carnosine is another essential nutrient which can boost those effects even further. Researchers have found that zinc-carnosine stabilizes the mucosal lining cells of the stomach and small intestine protecting against acid-reflux / gerd.
DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) (Enzymatic Therapy) stimulates and accelerates the natural protective factors in the digestive tract by increasing the number of mucus-secreting cells, improves the quality of mucus which acts as a protective coating against acids and enhances microcirculation in the gastrointestinal lining. One study found that 350 mg of chewable DGL taken along with aspirin reduced the occurrence of aspirin-induced gastrointestinal bleeding. Other studies have actually shown DGL to be as effective as the pharmaceuticals Tagamet and Zantac for the treatment of peptic ulcers without the side effects. The glycyrrhizin compound found in licorice and associated with high blood pressure has been removed. Chew 1-2 tablets 15 minutes before meals and before bed or more often when needed.
Slippery Elm Lozenges (Thayer) or tea helps to coat the lining of the esophagus. Suck on them throughout the day. Additionally, it relieves coughing and throat pain from regurgitated stomach acids.
If you are having difficulty getting off PPI’s schedule a Telephone or in-office Natural wellness appointment with a Naturopath at the Tree of Life Wellness Center 508-336-4242. We are just one phone call away for total success!
Jane Jansen Naturopath Tree of Life Wellness Center
Host Holistic Healthline Radio
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