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Remember, there are natural remedies for acid reflux

PHOTO: Larry the Cable Guy is a spokesman for Prilosec, one of the drugs known as a proton pump inhibitor.  | AP

I guess I’m not surprised to discover that some acid reflux drugs may bring not only relief, but some serious health concerns as well.

Those drugs are so darn popular. Think about it: how many people tell you they have acid reflux? I swear it’s every other person. They tell you that, then pop a pill, because that’s who we are as a nation, people who turn to drugs first and ask questions later. 

A New York Times article last week shows that the proton pump inhibitor drugs — you know them by names such as Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec — have been linked to a number of health conditions, including bone fractures, kidney problems and low magnesium levels. It also might mess with the drugs one takes for cardiovascular conditions, according to the NYT article, written by Paula Span.

I know what you’re thinking: but what am I supposed to do, those drugs works so well. Actually, there are a number of natural remedies that might indeed work. I’m not saying they’ll help everyone, but they could work for you. (Some, like the first, might take some time to implement; that doesn’t mean they can’t eventually bring relief.) For instance:

  • Lose weight. All of a sudden I had a problem with acid reflux a few years back. I discovered that when I dropped below a certain weight, it was gone. Same for my husband.
  • Don’t eat so much so late. The availability of food all the time makes it too easy to eat well into the night. If you have acid reflux problems, end that habit.
  • Go easy on caffeine. Acid reflux seems to have grown in tandem with our national crush on coffee. Maybe your caffeine crazy is causing it. Time to limit or, sadly, end it.
  • Eliminate sugar. It turns out that for some people sugar exacerbates their acid reflux. Have no, or little, sugar, and the symptoms go away.
  • Get rid of other carbs, too. Some people find a carb-restricted diet works wonders for their acid reflux problems.
  • Try apple cider vinegar. It seems counter-intuitive — using an acid for acid reflux — but some swear by this remedy. Mix an eight-ounce glass a water with anywhere from a teaspoon to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. (Add a little honey if it’s too strong for you.)
  • Have some almonds. Enjoy a few almonds after each meal. Some experts think almonds neutralize the juices in one’s stomach.
  • Sip chamomile or tea. Enjoy a cup 30-60 minutes before you retire for the night. Sounds like a good way also to unwind, doesn’t it?

Hope something here helps. And the next time you have what sounds like a chronic condition developing, look into natural remedies before starting a daily routine of yet another drug.