In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are discussing heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux. With the extra stress of the pandemic over the past year, you might be experiencing acid reflux and not even know it. Find out what factors can cause reflux or make it worse, why you want to avoid long term use of antacid medication, and what lab tests and effective natural treatments are available.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux:
Burning pain in your chest
Regurgitation of food or liquid
Wake up with sore throat regularly
Difficulty swallowing or feeling a lump in your throat
Sometimes acid reflux progresses to a more severe form of reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, where heartburn or other reflux symptoms are experienced two or more times a week.
What happens if you don’t treat it?
Over time, chronic inflammation in your esophagus can cause:
Narrowing of your esophagus (esophageal stricture)
An open sore in your esophagus (esophageal ulcer)
Precancerous changes to your esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus)
Why does acid reflux happen?
When you swallow, your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow into your stomach. If your LES relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus.
Factors that can aggravate acid reflux:
Low stomach acid
Eating large meals or eating late at night
Pressure in your stomach from weight gain or pregnancy
Microbiome imbalance like H. pylori and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Hernia or connective tissue disorders, such as scleroderma
Medications like bisphosphonates for osteoporosis, NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen and motrin, antibiotics like tetracycline and clindamycin
Food triggers can include:
Alcohol, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks
Spicy foods, tomatoes and tomato sauces
Chocolate, citrus, garlic/onions
Fatty and fried foods
Testing to consider if you have acid reflux:
H. pylori breath, blood or stool test
SIBO breath test
Endoscope with biopsy
Cortisol testing in saliva or urine
Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis
What can you do about acid reflux?
Typical medical treatments include antacids, histamine blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. While these are generally safe for short-term use, taken over the course of weeks they can interfere with nutrient absorption and have other side effects.
Tums contains calcium carbonate, as well as several artificial colours, mineral oil, sucrose and talc.
Antacid medication like Zantac (ranitidine) can cause multiple nutrient depletions, including vitamin B12 and D, calcium, iron, zinc and folic acid.
Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium (esomeprazole) or Pantoloc (pantoprazole) can cause multiple nutrient depletions, including vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid, magnesium
Recent studies regarding the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors have noted several adverse effects including:
risk of fractures
Clostridium difficile diarrhea
chronic kidney disease
Natural treatments for acid reflux include:
Avoid food triggers
Eat at least 3 hours before bed and sleep propped up if needed
Chew your food well and eat while sitting down, calm and relaxed
Avoid drinking water while eating
Support your stomach acid production and digestion with apple cider vinegar, bitter herbs or betaine HCl supplementation with meals
Nutritional and herbal supplements like D-limonene, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow root, melatonin
Almonds have been shown to help tone your LES
Manual/visceral therapy by trained osteopath, physiotherapist, naturopathic doctor
This Week’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Toni was inspired by Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed in Episode 57 to make sugar free hot chocolate with chocolate Paleo protein powder by Designs for Health sweetened with stevia.
Dr. Lisa loves her diffuser for essential oils like black spruce, wild orange, grapefruit, lavender to support her mood and focus.
In this episode, Dr. Lisa is talking with environmental engineer Emma Rohmann about the importance of reducing toxins at home. You may not realize that hormone disrupting chemicals in personal care and household products can cause harm in your body at small doses, and may be involved in earlier ages of menopause and even earlier ages of puberty in your kids. Now that you know, find out how you can be a more conscious consumer without getting overwhelmed!
Emma is a mom of 2 and the founder of Green at Home and The Healthy Home Method. With over a decade of experience as an accredited green building consultant and project manager, she now helps moms and moms-to-be reduce toxins at home without overwhelm, do a lifestyle overhaul, and prevent losing time and money on stuff that doesn’t work. Her online guides, courses, Healthy Home membership and personalized programs blend the science with the practical application needed to help drive healthy changes in our busy lives. Emma is a trained David Suzuki Foundation Queen of Green Coach, a guest lecturer at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and holds a certificate in Environmental Health from the University of Arizona. You can learn more from Emma on The Missing Pillar of Health Podcast and at greenathome.ca.
In this episode, we discuss:
Common misconceptions you may have around personal care and household products
It wouldn’t be allowed to be sold if it weren’t tested and safe.
It’s only a little bit, and well within the safe limits allowed.
The biggest concerns of the impact of hormone disrupting chemicals on you and your family including:
Early onset of puberty in both girls and boys
Early onset of menopause
How focusing on swapping out personal care and cleaning products is the easiest way to start reducing your toxin exposure at home
The importance of avoiding “green-washing” on the front label of your products, as well as products that don’t really work
Emma’s favourite deodorants – Green Beaver, Routine and Beauty Counter
The importance of avoiding the catch-all term fragrance on the ingredient list of your personal care products, which can contribute to development of allergies and asthma and contain hormone disrupting phthalates
How a previous winner of the Allergen of the Year award is often found in natural laundry soap
In this episode, Dr. Toni chats with registered psychologist Kimberly Mueller about how your personality shapes your life, especially your experience of this past year. Knowing more about the Big 5 personality traits can reduce stress and improve your understanding of yourself, your kids, your partners and other important people in your life.
You can find the 2 previous episodes from last year featuring Kimberly Mueller here:
Kim has a passion to help individuals understand how their own unique personality, life experiences, and social conditioning are impacting the quality of their relationships and lives. In addition to being an active mom of 2 young boys, Kim is also the co-founder of www.sheworth.org which is a movement to help women improve their self-worth and ultimately the quality of their lives.
In this episode, we cover:
Kim’s reflections on the past year, as someone who experienced COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic one year ago
How every individual’s response to the pandemic can fit along a bell-shaped distribution curve
The importance of giving yourself, and others around you, grace and compassion with whatever you are feeling right now
How your unique personality provides the lens that you choose and view your relationships can be seen through the Big 5 Personality Traits – OCEAN
Openness to experience
If you can change your personality over time
Spoiler: while you can build in environmental structures and intentional commitments to impact personality tracts that you feel aren’t serving you, you will always default back to who you are
The impact of genetics on your personality – good news for moms?
Personality traits are not good or bad; there is value on both sides
How you can think of neuroticism in terms of emotional stability or sensitivity to stress and negative emotional triggers
If you are high in neuroticism, you tend to celebrate or medicate
If you are low in neuroticism, you are more emotionally steady
Women are generally more neurotic than men
Women are also slightly more agreeable than men (due to social conditioning?)
If you are more agreeable, you are easier to get along with others, friendly, likes to go with the flow, more of a people pleaser
If you are more disagreeable, you like people to know your opinion and don’t care what others think
Like Kim, you might experience resentment if you are naturally disagreeable and work hard on being agreeable with your kids
You may need to be more intentional with boundaries and saying no to others if you are high agreeable
Why the world is generally more suited to extroverted people, though they tend to struggle more during the pandemic
The book Quiet explains how introverts tend to be undervalued
How conscientiousness is the greatest predictor of success in the workplace and long term romantic relationships
What you can do if your child is low in conscientiousness
Low conscientiousness may lead to more procrastination and less goal-setting and goal-achieving
If there’s enough pain, you may work hard and be able to shift where you fall on this spectrum
How you can conserve your mental energy be recognizing someone else’s openness to new perspectives and experiences
The importance of non-judgement when looking at the personality traits of other people in your life
In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni talk about the causes and therapies for constipation in you and your kids. They discuss what is expected or ideal with respect to your bowel movements, the causes of constipation, and some tests and treatments to consider if you or your kids are experiencing constipation.
What is constipation?
Generally considered when you have less than 3 bowel movements a week, or discomfort, even you have a daily bowel movement.
As naturopathic doctors, we consider at least 1 bowel movement daily with a Type 4 rating on the Bristol stool chart to be ideal. You want your stool to sink without mucus, blood or undigested food (with the exception of corn).
What are some causes of constipation?
Not enough water
Not enough fibre from veggies and fruit
Lack of movement and proper circulation
Stress, especially in the case of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Travel or another break in your routine
High intake of constipating foods: rice, toast, cooked carrots,unripe bananas
Hypothyroidism or sluggish thyroid function – see Episode 42 for more info
Reduced stomach acid, digestive enzyme and bile flow, often caused by stress and stimulation of sympathetic nervous system response
Gut bacterial imbalance
NSAIDs like ibuprofen and opioid pain killers like Tylenol 3
Hormone imbalance or PMS – constipation then possibly loose stools when your period comes is a common pattern in Traditional Chinese Medicine called Liver Overacting on Spleen
Harmful effects of constipation can include:
Discomfort, bloating, just feeling crappy
Reabsorbing toxins and hormones in your circulation
Megacolon or the abnormal dilation of the colon
Encopresis in kids, which is the uncontrollable leakage of stool
Stool testing through specialized labs, like Comprehensive Stool Analysis or GI-MAP
Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO) breath test
Common treatments for constipation include:
Restoralax or Miralax, also known as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) 3350
Adverse effects can include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, gas, nausea
Potential link to development of tremors, tics and obsessive compulsive behaviour
Contamination with small amounts of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol
Not meant to be used daily and over the long term
The safety and efficacy of Restoralax for use in children under 18 years of age have not been established
Laxative herbs like senna
Side effects can include developing a dependence causing further constipation and other digestive disturbance, electrolyte imbalance, darkening of your intestinal tract called melanosis coli, finger clubbing, kidney inflammation
What else can you do about constipation?
You can try one or more of the following:
Increase fluid, especially pure water
8 oz (250ml) of water multiplied by age (number of years) up to 2 litres daily
Aim for 19g daily for kids 1-3 years, 25g daily for kids 4-6 years, at least 26 g and up to 31g daily for kids 9-13 years and up to 38g daily for kids over 14 years
Beans or legumes – ½ cup = 6 g fibre
Broccoli and other cooked veggies – ½ cup = 4 g fibre
Apples, pears, berries – ½ cup
Prunes or dates – see Episode 45 for more info on sugar balance
Chia seed pudding
Support stomach acid and digestive enzyme production
Bitter foods and herbs like arugula, dandelion root/greens, artichoke, gentian
Start your kids young with small amounts!
Support gut bacteria with fermented foods or probiotic supplement and prebiotic fibre
Magnesium citrate and vitamin C provides osmotic laxative effect
Start with small amount and use only to bowel tolerance
Support proper anatomical positioning with something like Squatty Potty
Slippery elm found in powder, capsules, lozenges and teas, taken away from medications and other supplements
Other herbs and homeopathy for relaxation
Clockwise on belly
I Love You massage
Can use castor oil for extra relief from discomfort
Pelvic floor physiotherapy for kids with constipation