How to prevent GERD is a question a lot of people ask themselves. My friend just asked me this question this morning, which goes to show you how common GERD is. It’s a painful and annoying health issue that can make eating a frustrating process instead of an enjoyable event. It can even affect how one sleeps, especially if you eat late at night, close to when you go to bed. That’s called nocturnal GERD.
There are a lot of products and supplements that claim to prevent GERD or even treat chronic cases, but do any of them actually work? If you are a reader of my blog, a follower of my Facebook health page or someone who listens to my podcast, you’ll know that I’m skeptical of most supplements and natural heatlh products. The claims usually sound too good to be true, and 99.9% of them never have to go up against a placebo. But are there lifestyle changes and dietary changes that someone can make to help prevent GERD or treat it? And if there are, are these changes supported with evidence? I think the healthiest changes one can make in his/her life usually come down to lifestyle or dietary changes. That might seem hard or boring, but those types of changing are usually meaningful in both the short and long-term, as opposed to most supplements, elixirs, detoxes, et al.
And what about the medication for GERD? There’s both over-the-counter pills and prescribed meds. What works best to prevent and/or treat GERD? Are there any side effects people should worry about, especially if they are going to be on them for a long time? Every medication has side effects, and folks should know what they are. Also…remember the Zantac scandal? I remember it very well, because my mom, who sometimes took it for heartburn, called me all upset about it. Zajtac, an over-the-counter drug often used for GERD or heartburn was found to have high quantities of NMDA in it. NMDA is a cancer-causing agent. The FDA came to learn this and ordered that it immediately be removed from the market. Now, this was a really popular drug so I imagine such a recall terrified a lot of people strugging with GERD. It also highlighted the urgent need for the FDA, and other stakeholders, to take a closer look at where and how are drugs are being made. Much of our drug manufacturing is being outsourced to countries like China and India, and the US cannot control what goes on in those factories. That should be frightening to anyone who takes medications made in one of those factories.
To answer some of these questions and dive into GERD a little deeper, I was happy to chat with Dr. Raaj Mehta on my Causes or Cures podcast. Dr. Mehta, an internal medicine physician and gastroenterology doctor at the Massachussetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, recently published a study in JAMA on specific lifestyle changes and dietary changes one can make to prevent GERD and/or improve treatment outcomes. He will talk about those factors in this podcast, along with the best medication options for GERD, the Zantac scandal, and any long-term side effects that should concern people. The podcast focuses a lot on how to prevent GERD, so I hope you listen or send it to anyone you know who is struggling with GERD symptoms.
For the record, I LOVE featuring this type of research on my podcast and blog. Dr. Mehta’s study provides evidence-based things ANYONE can do to improve his/her health. It’s cost-effective stuff and it’s stuff backed with research. That’s exactly what informed wellness is all about. It’s what good wellness is all about: Scientific, preventive, and accessible to everyone.
To listen to the podcast on GERD, please click here
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