GERD (Gastresophageal Reflux Disease) is not just ordinary acid reflux or heartburn that is caused by a bout of indigestion. The disease causes stomach acid, and in some cases the food contained in the stomach, to be washed back into the esophagus, regulary, causing irritation to the membranes that line the food pipe. Probiotics treat GERD by restoring normal function to the digestive system, resulting in a healthy and balanced gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The correct balance combats acid reflux and allows the immune system to counteract disease and illness.
The gastrointestinal tract requires a composition that is made up of around 85% good bacteria. Good bacteria is essential in warding off diseases such as salmonella and E.Coli which are caused by an excess of micro-organisms. Most people do not achieve the required amount of good bacteria and therefore have more bad bacteria present in the digestive tract.
Probiotics are essential in keeping the balance between good and bad bacteria in check. An imbalance in the vital bacteria causes a number of gastro-intestinal problems, including heartburn, which is the result of indigestion. Insufficient probiotics results in a decrease in enzymes and an increase in stomach acid which leads to frequent spells of heartburn which is the main indication of GERD.
Treatments, such as the use of antacids or the proton pump inhibitor, deals with the symptoms of an unhealthy digestive tract, but not the cause. Ingesting natural remedies that contain probiotics goes to the root of the problem by providing the digestive tract with a balance of bacteria that allows it to function properly. This then stops indigestion and heart burn from occurring.
Probiotics offer relief from GERD by promoting the digestion of tough foods such as lactose, carbohydrates and other foods that are difficult to metabolize. Additional symptoms of poor digestion include cramps, bloating and excess gas that will also be relieved by an increased intake of probiotics managing the amount of good bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract.
How do you increase your intake of probiotics? A certain percentage of good bacteria are naturally produced within the body while others need to be ingested. Natural foods, herbal remedies and supplements contain probiotics that allow you to increase your intake. Food sources that contain probiotics include:
– Yogurt that has active bacteria cultures. The label on the yogurt will tell you of the necessary cultures are present.
– Freshly made sauerkraut (not store bought).
– Flax seed oil.
These foods help increase and maintain the bacteria (also called flora) in the digestive tract.
In addition to relieving GERD and combating other indigestion problems, probiotics will promote the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals and aid in the effective disposal of waste material from the body. These benefits result in reduced disease and illness, especially esophageal cancer which can result from extreme GERD which is known as Barrett’s esophagus.
Remember that any probiotic supplement should contain at least 5 billion micro-organisms in each dose. The most common bacteria present in supplements is acidophilus. However, there are other bacteria that can benefit digestion.