How To Get Rid Of Hyper Acidity Naturally
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Jun 14, 2019
As the name suggests, hyper acidity refers to a state in which there is excessive production of digestive acids to the extent that it causes discomfort or other complications. It includes conditions like acid reflux disease, heartburn, and GERD, which can vary in severity. Conditions of hyperacidity are pervasive, affecting all of us from time to time. Not surprisingly, ancient Indian physicians were familiar with the condition and it is even described in classical texts of Ayurved as Herbiacid. Their observations and treatment recommendations still serve as a practical guide and are also used in the formulation of modern Ayurvedic medicines for acidity. As the root causes of hyperacidity are to be found in diet and lifestyle, natural treatment of hyperacidity requires a combination approach with dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as herbal remedies and Ayurvedic medications.
Natural Treatments for Hyper Acidity
1. Fix Your Diet
To beat hyper acidity, you first need to fix your diet, limiting or eliminating foods and drinks that give rise to the problem. Some of the foods linked to hyper acidity include caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, citric fruits and juices, carbonated drinks, colas, sugar, some dairy products, and most processed foods. Ayurved’s emphasis on dietary modifications to cure acidity is supported by research. A study that appeared in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery suggests that such an approach can be just as effective as the best conventional treatments. These foods are triggers for hyperacidity because of their stimulating effect on acid production and their weakening effect on the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that normally keeps acid from flowing back up.
2. Don't Overeat
The lower esophageal sphincter, which works like a one way valve, tends to malfunction when you eat too much. When you eat more than you require, it increases pressure on the sphincter causing some of the acid to escape through the opening. This is why hyper acidity is usually more pronounced soon after eating meals, especially large ones. Limiting your meal size and having smaller but more frequent meals through the day may therefore help solve the problem. Overeating also impairs digestion and delays emptying of the tracts. This means that stomach acids are produced and present for longer, increasing the risk of them traveling back up.
3. Monitor Meal Timings
Hyperacidity is unlikely to persist if you follow the Ayurvedic dinacharya or daily routine recommendations. While this may not be practical for everyone because of our modern lifestyle, you should make it a point to eat your main meals at least 3 hours before you plan to sleep. This Ayurvedic remedy for acidity is now supported by observational studies that have recorded stronger acid reflux symptoms in patients who eat meals close to bedtime. This is because your body needs adequate time to digest food and because the reclined position makes it easier for acids to travel upwards as they are uninhibited by gravity. Simply changing your meal times can help to solve the problem.
4. Sleep On Your Left Side
Ayurvedic physicians often advise their patients to sleep on the left side rather than right side for various reasons. One of the benefits is that this posture is believed to aid digestion and lower the risk of hyper acidity. This makes sense anatomically, as the esophagus enters the stomach towards the right side. This means that sphincter is safely above the stomach contents when sleeping on the left side. This recommendation is now also backed by research, which shows that sleeping on the right side may worsen symptoms of hyper acidity.
5. Use Ayurvedic Herbs
Herbal ingredients are highly valued in Ayurved and can come in handy when dealing with hyper acidity. Some of the best herbs to consider include amla, saunf, tulsi, elaichi, and jaiphal, among others. These herbs work through a variety of mechanisms, stimulating digestion, soothing the gastrointestinal lining, reducing inflammation, relieving stomach spasms, and controlling acid production. For example, studies have shown that amla controls acid production and protects the stomach lining, while tulsi has proven immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects. This also makes Ayurvedic herbs most potent when used in precise combinations. Instead of using individual herbs or attempting to create your own blend, you can simply use OTC Ayurvedic medications for hyperacidity, as they are contain most of these herbs and are carefully formulated based on ancient Ayurvedic recommendations and modern studies.
Aside from these Ayurvedic diet modifications and remedies, you should also be more careful about your bodyweight and posture. Excess bodyweight increases the risk of hyperacidity, as does poor posture. The esophageal sphincter is also damaged by smoking, so make sure to kick the habit. Physical activity can also aid digestion and reduce the risk of acidity, so take up some mild to moderate exercises like yoga, Pilates, walking, or swimming.
- Zalvan, Craig H., et al. “A Comparison of Alkaline Water and Mediterranean Diet vs Proton Pump Inhibition for Treatment of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux.” JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, vol. 143, no. 10, 2017, p. 1023., doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2017.1454.
- Fujiwara, Yasuhiro, et al. “Association Between Dinner-to-Bed Time and Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 100, no. 12, 2005, pp. 2633–2636., doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2005.00354.x.
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