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In many cases, this digestive problem can be prevented with some simple lifestyle changes. But when heartburn hits — as it does daily for more than 25 million Americans — natural remedies can provide quick relief from the disorder’s fiery sensations.
A burning sensation behind the breastbone lasting from a few minutes to several hours.
When to Call Your Doctor
If you have heartburn twice a week or more.
What It Is
To help digest food, the stomach produces about a quart of hydrochloric acid a day. Usually, the acid isn’t a problem, because the gastrointestinal tract is coated with a protective mucous lining. But when acid moves up the esophagus (the tube running from the throat to the stomach), look out. Lacking a protective coating, the delicate tissue of the esophagus is vulnerable to the acid’s corrosive action, which produces a burning sensation doctors label gastroesophageal reflux — and the rest of us call heartburn.
What Causes It
Stomach acid generally stays where it belongs, thanks to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle relaxes only to admit food into the stomach and then shuts tightly. But sometimes the LES doesn’t close properly, allowing the stomach’s contents to wash up into the esophagus.
How Supplements Can Help
All the suggested supplements are effective for relieving heartburn — the first four immediately, the last three within a month or so. Try each methodically to see which one or combination works best for you. All can be used in addition to prescription or over-the counter heartburn drugs.
What Else You Can Do
Eat smaller, more frequent meals to minimize stomach acid production.
Dosage: 250-500 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Chewable tablets provide the quickest relief.
Dosage: 2 deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) wafers (380 mg).
Comments: Take 3 or 4 times a day between meals as needed
Aloe Vera Juice
Dosage: 1/2 cup juice 3 times a day between meals.
Comments: Contains 98% aloe vera and no aloin or aloe-emodin.
Dosage: 150 mg 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Comments: Also know as rice bran oil.
Dosage: 500 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: For chronic heartburn, use in combination with pantothenic acid and thiamin for 1 month to see if symptoms abate.
Dosage: 1,000 mg twice a day.
Comments: For chronic heartburn, use in combination with choline and thiamin for 1 month to see if symptoms abate.
Dosage: 500 mg a day, taken first thing in the morning.
Comments: Also called vitamin B1. For chronic heartburn, combine with pantothenic acid and choline for 1 month.
Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)