The Cause of Acid Reflux, Heartburn & GERD

Most of us have been through some sort of digestive issue. Some of life’s greatest pleasures are delicious foods that cause these issues. A friend of mine was having such bad heartburn that he quit eating anything spicy and high acid foods like tomatoes. Another friend of mine is taking anti-acids but doesn’t seem to think it is fixing anything because the symptoms come right back when he stops the medications.  Does this sound familiar to you?

Each year millions of Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder. The American College of Gastroenterology says that over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and at least 15 million as often as daily. Nearly 2/3 of all Americans are burdened by any symptom of GI distress such as bloating, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

So, odds are you experience them, too. How nice it must be to be one of the 1/3 that don’t experience any! Let’s begin the journey to find out how to get rid of them so you can be part of the 1/3.

Heartburn, Acid Reflux & GERD Explained

Healthy vs GERD graphic

Acid Reflux occurs when the sphincter (valve) at the top of the stomach relaxes and the contents move into the esophagus causing the pain referred to as “heartburn.”  The stomach lining protects soft tissue from stomach acid but the esophagus has no such protection.

GERD can be diagnosed when a person has acid reflux twice or more per week. They can also experience chest pain, lump in throat, regurgitation of food or sour liquid or difficulty swallowing. So it appears as if all of these issues are linked back to this one root cause.

So, what causes the sphincter to relax? Dr. Berg states it is because the acid pH in the stomach is off balance. Typical acidity levels should be 1-3. When this level is offset to be outside this range, or a more basic pH, then the issues begin, starting with a weakened sphincter and an issue with the autonomic nervous system.

Esophagus, esophageal sphincter, pyloric sphincter

Are you struggling with any of these symptoms? If so, keep reading. I’ll explain how to get to the bottom of your digestive issues!

One of my clients, who was having these issues, cut all fermented foods out of his diet. It worked to an extent, but limited a lot of foods he could eat because he also had to remove many raw foods from his diet, as well. According to, eating fermented foods actually helps to stabilize stomach pH and will help get it back into working order.

Healthy stomach, GERD Stomach, Acid Reflux

The Problem with Typical Medical Treatment

Lots of medical research will say these 3 issues are caused by pregnancy, smoking, obesity, Hiatal hernia etc… but the worst parts are when treatment options are medications, avoiding your trigger foods or even surgery. These are all REACTIVE options! What about trying to avoid these issues in the first place?!

Tums antacid

There are basically 3 types of medications people end up using for Acid Reflux, GERD & Heartburn: 

  1. The Protein Pump Inhibitors
  2. Antacids, which are calcium carbonate
  3. Also the H2 Receptor blocker

All 3 of these reduce the acid in the stomach and have pretty scary side effects

Vitamin B12 supplement

Side effects of PPI (Protein Pump Inhibitors)

  • C. DIFF (bacterial infection)
  • Osteoporosis (degenerative bone issues)
  • Decreased B12
  • Decreased Magnesium
  • Allergy Reactions
  • Heart Attacks

Side Effects of Antacids (too much Calcium Carbonate)

  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Kidney Stones
  • Allergies
  • Constipation

Side Effects of H2 Receptor Blockers

  • Decreased Sex Drive
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

All of these medication types also cause a condition called  “Achlorhydria” – A condition where you don’t have acid in your stomach anymore. You could also have decreased Achlorhydria – which is a decreased amount of acid in your stomach. 

The side effects of not having acid in your stomach are:

  • GERD
  • Acid Reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Decreased B12
  • Constipation
  • Decreased Magnesium 
  • Decreased Zinc

So, the medications that are supposed to treat the symptoms actually ADD TO the problem! They cause the very issues you’re trying to treat!

So, What is the Root Cause of These Issues?

Is it too much acid? That is more of a sour stomach that can lead to gastritis. Probably not…

Stomach, sphincter, healthy, GERD

Autonomic Nervous System problems and a few other physical conditions that cause low stomach acid include:

  • H-pylori – (a bacteria)
  • Zinc deficiency – this is a very good remedy for ulcers & gastritis
  • Decreased Potassium, Sodium 
  • Decreased Chlorides (needed to make the hypocaloric acid)
  • Decreased Iodine
  • Decreased D3 
  • Also Hypothyroid
  • Antacids

YOU need nutrients to build stomach acid!

Goli apple cider vinegar gummies

So, if lack of stomach acid is causing the condition, adding acid back into the diet can often make these conditions go away. Things like apple cider vinegar or Betaine HCL can help bring stomach acid levels back to normal.

Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar Bottle

Remember, there IS a relationship between the stomach acid and the sphincter valve. If the stomach acid stays the right pH (between 1-3) the valve will stay closed nice and tight. 

If you have these make sure you fortify your body with:

Zinc, Potassium, Sea salt, Iodine, and D3

I hope this has been helpful in your day. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar once or twice a day in a glass of water does wonderful things for the digestive system. An alternative is organic lemon juice. It also defends your body from making kidney stones. 

I look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you want further product recommendations and I will get those over to you. 

Until Next time, this is Nurse Mary and Be Well!

Product Resources:
Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies
Zinc Glycinate
Sub-Dissolve B12
Magnesium Glycinate
Vitamin D3

Medical News Today
Dr Berg Video

About the author

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*The Articles on this site is for educational purposes only. We make no medical claims. These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Take at your own risk.