Alternatives to Rx Antacids
Q: Is there a good alternative supplement for prescription Prilosec and Zantac? I’ve recently was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. Even though I’m drinking 2 ounces of Aloe in the am and pm for relief my endoscopy shows some esophageal irritation.
A: You do ask a good question, and I’m afraid there is not an easy definitive answer in your situation. These types of antacids block the proton pumps & histamine H2 receptors in the stomach so they don’t secrete hydrochloric acid (HCL) much during digestion and also relaxes the stomach muscles. They may be helpful for occasional transient heartburn or gastritis to ease symptoms, but they can lead to other problems and nutrient deficiencies (B12 & iron for example) if used long-term.
The hiatal hernia you have been diagnosed with makes things a bit tricky. Symptomatic patients should elevate the head of their beds and avoid lying down directly after meals until treatment is rendered. Eating small meals (rather then overeating) with little liquid helps, as well as a bland diet. If the condition has been brought on by stress, stress reduction techniques may be prescribed, or if overweight, weight loss may be indicated. Antisecretory drugs like proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor blockers can be used to reduce acid secretion so this lessens the chance of damaging the esophagus, and may be necessary until your hernia improves. Where hernia symptoms are severe and chronic acid reflux is involved, surgery is sometimes recommended.
Now with this said, often heartburn comes about because your stomach is not putting out ENOUGH of it’s own hydrochloric acid to begin with, particularly with age our stomach often has a gradual decrease of the level of stomach acid output. This along with overeating can delay stomach emptying because food is sitting in the stomach, and then may push the acidic mixture up against the esophageal sphincter, which then makes you feel like you have heartburn.
After you get your hiatal hernia improved, the goal is to improve digestion:
- Digestzyme (has Betaine HCL 200mg) – this would help with the breakdown of foods in your stomach & intestines. If you find it causes any burning in the stomach, then you should discontinue and just use the Plant Digestive Enzymes, which you could use now without a problem to help improve the digestion of your food, these have no HCL, they are just enzymes. You might want to discuss with your doctor about reducing your dose of your meds and eventually getting you off them as your hernia improves.
If after going off your meds, you may need to supplement with additional HCL if the Digestzymes are not enough to help you properly digest. Taking supplemental HCL for a while can help you with digestion while your stomach gets itself “retrained” to start putting out stomach acid again.
This can also be helpful if your intestines need further support:
- Aloe Vera 200x – for immune modulating effects and to help with intestinal healing. Work up to 3 caps a day.