Question: What are the best natural treatments for men with frequent heartburn or acid reflux?
Answer: One of the best treatments for acid reflux is first, again, to look at the lifestyle. Generally people are overeating, they're eating too late at night, they're eating foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, or processed foods. Peppermint can be really irritating, in the form of candy or tea, and that dialates the esophagus low down and allows acid to come back up.
But when we look at supplements, in addition to lifestyle changes, which should include exercise, which helps speed up the removal of food and acid from the stomach, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which are protective to the stomach -- oh, and not smoking or drinking too much caffeine, alcohol or carbonated beverages.
But then when we look at herbs, if a patient is interested in avoiding a proton pump inhibitor or an H2 blocker such a ranitidine, we look at mastic gum, 500mg three times a day, which can be antibacterial and help fight off H. pylori, which causes gastritis and ulcers in the stomach.
One of my favorites is to use DGL licorice, which is called deglycyrrhizinated licorice, 250 and 500mg before each meal -- one trial found that to be as effective as ranitidine.
And then finally, looking at ginger, at 250 to 500mg a day because it speeds up motility of the gut, to help move food through quicker.