Gastroesophageal reflux

By Dr. Giorgia Baraldo, Biologist and R&D Product Specialist at NATURALSALUS

Gastroesophageal reflux afflicts many people. Let’s try to look at its symptoms and causes starting from the functioning of the stomach to some of our advice for getting better.

Gastroesophageal reflux problem

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when gastric juices escape into the oesophagus and often causes an uncomfortable burning sensation. Gastroesophageal reflux is a very common problem in today’s society.

When this disorder persists, it is not only bothersome for sufferers but over time can cause further and more serious problems such as ulcers, chronic esophagitis, and sometimes it can even degenerate into more major oesophageal diseases.

Causes of gastroesophageal reflux.

Le cause del reflusso gastroesofageo sono molteplici e dipendono molto dallo stile di vita individuale. Tra quelle più comuni troviamo:

·      • acute and/or chronic stress;

·      smoking;

·      alcohol consumption;

·      spicy or high in protein and fatty foods;

·      build-up of free radicals;

·      the presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

 

Looking at this list, we can understand why gastroesophageal reflux can be considered a “modern” disorder. Most of the factors listed are difficult to avoid in our everyday lives, but taking care of our well-being and bodies is essential if we wish to avoid unpleasant conditions that can worsen over time, especially if we wish to live healthy lives.

The function of the stomach’s gastric juices

The function of gastric juices produced by our stomachs is to continue the process of digesting our food, which already started during the first phase – chewing. This process is necessary to enable nutrients to be absorbed by the intestines.

In order to carry out its duty, our stomachs produce gastric juices, made up of several components, and with a pH of 1 – the most acidic substance our bodies are capable of producing. The main component in gastric acid, which is responsible for acidity, is hydrochloric acid. The presence of this acid together with pepsins, also produced by the stomach’s cells, helps us digest most of the proteins we ingest. Additionally, stomach acids play the important role in disinfecting the food we eat. A large number of bacteria and viruses present in our food cannot survive in such an acidic environment. Gastric acid is so concentrated that it would even be able to dissolve stomach cells themselves. Luckily, this does not happen since they have developed defence techniques to protect themselves from their own acids.

How the stomach protects itself from gastric juices

The stomach needs to protect itself from its own gastric juices in order not to be damaged by them. It does this by producing gastric mucus, the main component of which is so-called mucin. Mucin works by adhering to the stomach walls and thus creating a protective layer against gastric acidity and pepsins. Additionally, the muscles around the opening between the stomach and oesophagus close tightly when food is not ingested to prevent gastric acids from migrating back into the oesophagus. However, due to various factors that are becoming increasingly common in today’s society, stomach acid sometimes manages to skip over this barrier reaching the oesophagus thus causing an uncomfortable burning sensation. In these cases, we are speaking of gastroesophageal reflux.

Helicobacter pylori, the curious case.

For a long time the common belief was that, the stomach was a sterile environment, given its highly concentrated gastric juices and acidic pH nature. It was not until 1983 that a gram-negative bacterium was discovered, not only being able to survive in this harsh and hostile environment but proliferating there. That bacterium being Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

Since its discovery, it has created much controversy. Not only is it able to survive stomach acid, but several studies found that it can cause gastritis and even some forms of ulcers and cancers. Our relationship with this bacterium gets even more complicated. In fact, many people who harbour Helicobacter pvlori are asymptomatic and normally don’t suffer from any particular aliments. Some studies attribute this fact to the state of their physiological defences. Therefore, if our current health is compromised, H. pylori has a chance to cause imbalances. In other words, if our gastroesophageal physiological state is compromised, the bacterium tends to aggravate disorders that we feel as a result of its activity.

How best to counter gastroesophageal reflux

There are several ways to counter the onset of gastroesophageal reflux or to fight the problem. In general, a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet help prevent the onset of gastroesophageal reflux. Avoiding eating too many protein rich and fatty acid meals helps to ensure stomach acidity does not increase. Also, taking care not to consume too many alcoholic beverages.

Finding ways to take care of oneself or reduce daily life stresses can further help to reduce stomach acidity affecting many individuals exposed to stressful situations. Of course, everyone reacts differently to these factors, consequently it is important to listen to the signals our bodies give off and act when needed or, even better, prevent this condition from occurring in the first place.

Giovane donna rilassata con focus sulla gola, libera dal problema del reflusso gastrico

Natural NATURALSALUS help.

NATURALSALUS has formulated DS2 REFLUX HERBA a natural aid to counter reflux designed to support protecting the stomach and oesophagus from gastric juices. The herbs contained in this product were specifically chosen to create an additional protective layer on the stomach’s inner walls. This additional protective layer is largely generated thanks to Sodium Alginate and Potato Starch. Sodium Alginate is a polysaccharide able to create a mucilage that protects and reduces the mucosa inflammation.

Potato Starch, on the other hand, neutralizes acidity by decreasing the burning effect caused by reflux. Liquorice and Centella, with their antiphlogistic and restorative properties, limit the damages caused by gastric juices. They also have a relaxing effect by reducing nervousness and irritability. Chamomile is a plant known for its spasmolytic action, reducing stomach pain due to muscle contractions that often accompanies reflux problems. It is also used to alleviate unbalanced emotionality and nervousness. Greek Mastic makes the environment inhospitable for Helicobacter pilory, a bacterium that often can be the cause of reflux or further aggravate symptoms if present in a person at risk. Finally, Sulforaphane not only has an antioxidant and protective action but also inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

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Young Hee Choi, You-Jin Kim, Hee-Sung Chae, Young-Won Chin, In vivo gastroprotective effect along with pharmacokinetics, tissue distribution and metabolism of isoliquiritigenin in mice. Planta Med. 2015 May;81(7):586-93. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1545914.

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