Heartburn is the most common symptom associated with GERD. However,
other complications may occur, such as esophageal inflammation,
dysphagia, and oral abnormalities, and can become potentially life
threatening. Although the diagnosis and treatment of GERD in today's
clinical settings is extremely accurate, most sufferers will present
symptoms for years without seeking medical intervention. This procrastination
often proves detrimental.
When persons with acid reflux ignore the condition, either because
of fear, scheduling concerns, or laziness, potential precursors
to more serious diseases are missed. Taking steps to ensure the
health and integrity of the digestive tract is critical for not
only a remission of symptoms, but for avoiding any future health
concerns. Alocid effectively addresses GERD symptom prevention;
minimizing the inhibition to intrinsic mucosal defense mechanisms
and limiting the most uncomfortable of symptoms, including heartburn.
Alocid has been designed with traditional nutrients known to support
digestion and reduce GI inflammation, thereby limiting the excessive
reflux experienced by patients suffering from Acid Reflux Disease.
Acid Reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux) Disease, Defined:
Acid Reflux Disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a common,
relapsing disorder that occurs when the liquid content of the stomach
is regurgitated (i.e. refluxing) into the esophagus by passing through
a barrier valve which normally separates the two structures. Because
the liquid contains acid and pepsin (products of digestion within
the stomach), and possibly bile, many individuals will experience
heartburn, reflux, and chest pain. Although the exact mechanisms
of esophageal inflammation and damage are not fully understood,
the stomach acid is thought to be the most injurious component.
Most individuals have regular bouts of reflux, but most of us do
not realize that this process is taking effect. Gravity and swallowing
act as protective mechanisms for the esophagus. Additionally, our
saliva contains bicarbonates which effectively neutralizes any remaining
acid in the esophagus once the actions of gravity and swallowing
have subsided. GERD patients, however, often possess greater concentrations
of acid in the refluxed liquid. As well, the acid remains in the
esophagus for longer periods of time than in non-sufferers, as saliva
cannot effectively neutralize these increased concentrations of
What Causes Acid Reflux?
There are a multitude of causes that are thought to contribute
to the onset of this condition. However, these mechanisms operate
differently from person to person. The most common and universal
causes of GERD remain;
Abnormal function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)
Esophageal contractions (peristalsis)
Emptying of the stomach
Specific dietary concerns
Of these, the action of the lower esophageal sphincter is thought
to be the most important contributing factor in reflux prevention.
LES relaxations are thought to be a probable causative factor in
the abnormally slow emptying of the stomach after meals, as well.
Diagnosis of Acid Reflux:
A patient's desire to eliminate the condition's most common and
most uncomfortable characteristic, heartburn, is used by doctor's
as a preliminary means of assessing condition severity. The term
'heartburn' describes the burning sensation felt in the middle of
the chest that occurs after meals or when a person is lying down.
If acid reflux is suspected, your physician may warrant the use
of prescription medications to suppress productions of stomach acid.
If heartburn is eliminated, GERD, or acid reflux, is then confirmed.
However, there are problems with this method of diagnosis because
the validation of disorder through various diagnostic tests has
been omitted. Other procedures used to diagnose and confirm underlying
complications include; endoscopy, biopsies, X-rays, and gastric
emptying and acid perfusion studies.
However, because of the many discrepancies relating to discomfort
and pain sensations from each acid reflux patient, the two most
effective standards for GERD diagnosis are:
Esophageal acid testing: The esophageal acid test is used to determine
the amount of acidity within the esophagus over a 24-hour period.
A catheter is passed through the nose and into the esophagus with
an attached sensor that is used to gauge esophageal acidity (Ph).
The end of the catheter exiting from the nose is wrapped around
the ear and, most commonly, down the waist to a reflux recorder.
Each time acid reflux occurs, the recorder does it's job; recording
Ph data for a 20 to 24-hour duration. Today, there are newer, more
refined, and prolonged measurements detailing acid exposure in the
esophagus. Esophageal acid testing is also employed to monitor treatment
effectiveness and to evaluate patients prior to surgical treatments
for acid reflux.
Esophageal motility testing: Motility testing is used to determine
the health and function of esophageal muscles, or how well the muscles
of the esophagus are working. As well, abnormal contractions of
the esophagus often mimic GERD even if reflux is absent. This test
has two important functions in GERD assessment:
Evaluating symptoms that do not respond to conventional acid reflux
Evaluation prior to endoscopic treatments, or surgery, for GERD;
enabling the physician to make any needed modifications in these
evaluations and/or subsequent treatments
Signs and Symptoms of GERD:
The symptoms of acid reflux are denoted by disease type; either
uncomplicated or complicated GERD. Uncomplicated reflux is associated
Complicated GERD, on the other hand, is injurious to the esophagus
and may lead to the development of other complications, such as:
Strictures (formation and shrinking of scar tissue; narrowing the
lumen of esophagus)
Cough and asthma
Inflammation of the throat, larynx, or lungs
Infection of the lungs
Fluid in sinuses and middle ear
Standard GERD Treatments:
Today, treatments for acid reflux are all-encompassing and range
from modifications of diet and lifestyle to surgical procedures.
Most physicians will implement aggressive techniques, since reflux
can worsen and lead to other problems associated with the esophagus.
Upon the evaluation of your personal history, the first method of
treatment and esophageal preservation is lifestyle change. Changes
in lifestyle are actually a combination of several alterations in
habit, most notably through diet, but may also include limiting
alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and regular exercise. Certain
foods are known to reduce the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter
and promote acid reflux.
Despite their short-action, antacids are also widely employed to
neutralize the acid in the stomach, ensuring that reflux does not
occur. These may be aluminum, magnesium, or calcium-based products.
Stronger, longer-lasting, prescription medications can also be used
for substantial, and often permanent, neutralization of stomach
acid. These can include:
Histamine 2, or H2 antagonists (Tagament)
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
PPIs are used when H2 antagonists do not adequately reduce symptoms,
or when other complications caused by GERD exist. This classification
of medicines include Prilosec and Prevacid. PPIs work by blocking
the secretion of acid into the stomach by our body's natural acid-producing
cells. Finally, when drug treatments fail, surgery and endoscopy
treatments exist as highly effective techniques to relieve the existing
symptoms of GERD.
Alocid: Your non-invasive stand against GERD and its many discomforting
The problem with prescription and surgical treatments is the sheer
number and amounts of drugs needed to be taken. Additionally, the
invasiveness to one's quality of life often outweighs the potential
benefit. In fact, many patients who have had surgery (approximately
50%) will need to continue prescription drug treatments for acid
reflux management. This further underscores the importance of early
diagnosis, and addressing the disease by alternate means, namely
Alocid contains clinically evaluated ingredients, known to support
both esophageal health and the body's complex digestive process;
thereby lessening the chance of developing the many discomforting
symptoms associated with your reflux condition. Progressive Health's
unique blend of nutrients include:
Orange Peel Extract 4:1- Orange peel can provide symptomatic relief
from reflux and indigestion. Interestingly, citrus peel extracts
have even shown the ability to induce programmed cell death in stomach
Aloe Vera Extract Powder (100X)- Aloe vera extract has been used
for years to aid in digestion and has a documented history of clinical
use for the treatment of ulcers in the digestive tract (4). This
soothing plant is considered to be a gastroprotective agent, containing
anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Extracts of aloe can reduce secretion
of acid from the stomach (functioning similarly to antacid medications),
and have been shown to actually prevent injury to the lining of
the stomach from irritating substances.
Picrorhiza- This medicinal plant has a long tradition of use for
indigestion in Ayurvedic medicine. Picrorhiza acts similarly to
other ‘digestive tonic’ herbs by assisting digestion.
Research has shown that as many as 6 compounds in Picrorhiza have
anti-inflammatory activity, inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme. This is
useful for patients with chronic inflammation in the digestive tract
resulting from maldigestion.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL)- Deglycyrrhizinated licorice
(DGL) is licorice that has had the glycyrrhetinic acid removed for
safety reasons. Extracts of licorice have demonstrated the ability
to accelerate the healing of gastrointestinal ulceration (especially
in the stomach and esophagus) possibly due to its antioxidant effect.
Digestive Enzymes (Protease, Amylase, Lipase)- Digestive enzymes
aid digestion and help prevent heartburn. The primary digestive
enzymes are released from the pancreas: proteases (to digest protein),
amylases (to digest carbohydrate), and lipases (to digest fat).
Evidence shows that crude protein digestion is improved with supplementation
of pancreatic enzymes.
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