Health and Wellness

Healing From Within

Sheryl Glick

Healing From Within – Dropping Acid In Your Diet – Managing Reflux Disease

In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Host Sheryl Glick welcomes Dr. Jamie Koufman author of “Dropping Acid—The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure” Dr. Koufman is a professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of the New York Medical College and has been a leading researcher in the fields of laryngology, voice and acid reflux for more than 25 years. She has received the Newcomb and Casselberry Awards from the American Academy of Otolaryngology and the Broyles—Maloney Award from the American Broncho-Esophagological Association.

It has become apparent to the medical community, that the increase since 1976 of esophageal cancer is up 850%, making it the fastest growing cancer in the country, according to the National Cancer Institute. Understanding the dangers of acid reflux, in several forms including typical Gastro Esophageal Reflux, known as GERD, Airway Reflux and Silent Reflux know, as Laryngopharyngeal Reflux or LPR, is the first approach to dealing with a disease that 125 million Americans suffer from.

Dr. Oz has said that, “Dr. Jamie Koufman is pioneering a new way of looking at the complicated problem of acid reflux. Many people who have symptoms of reflux, which may include hoarseness, chronic throat clearing, coughing, choking episodes, trouble swallowing, post nasal drip, sinusitis, asthma, sore throat, heartburn, indigestion and even snoring or difficultly with breathing, may seek relief and visit different doctors such as doctors of otolaryngology, allergy, immunology, gastroenterology and pulmonary and internal medicine without receiving the proper diagnosis and treatment. At the present time, reflux related Esophageal Cancer is the fastest growing rate of cancer for white males in the United States.

An understanding of the different types of reflux, the acidification of the American diet since 1970, and the patterns and life style behaviors, that contribute to the acceleration of the disease and its effects are important at this time. The source of reflux disease begins with the consequences of what you eat..causing the back up of the stomach contents in the throat causing Laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR. LPR is also known as Airway Reflux or Silent Reflux. A person may exhibit respiratory symptoms, believing it to be a cold, cough or viral infection when it is actually acid reflux from food and a nighttime occurrence imitating respiratory symptoms. People with Silent Reflux may not have constant indigestion, burping or heartburn, as those who suffer typical Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or Gerd. Other symptoms of Gerd may include chest pain after eating, particularly after eating fried or greasy food.

Many people think heart burn or reflux is about overeating, obesity and typical of aging, however, it also strikes the athletic and the young who suffer more of the troublesome symptoms such as hoarseness, coughing, sore throat in the morning, post nasal drip symptoms, or Silent Reflux or Nighttime Reflux.

A digestive, corrosive enzyme called pepsin, is manufactured in the stomach. The backflow of stomach acid and pepsin is the cause of reflux disease, however, the stomach acid is not the main culprit. The digestive enzyme pepsin, after digesting your meal, is still around and if there is no protein to gnaw on it, it will start on the lining of the throat and esophagus. Many common food products are as acidic as stomach acid and potentially harmful. Dr Koufman offers a list of foods categorized according to the pH level. Foods above 4.0 pH levels are less acidic and offer more protection from the overproduction of pepsin and excessive stomach acid. Other foods and liquids under the 4.0 pH level will add to the excessive production of pepsin and acid. Soda, salsa, and strawberries are examples of foods under 4.0 pH level. Beer and wine are particularly bad for reflux. Good drinks are certain mild herbal teas along with non-acidic smoothies or low fat and lactose free milk.

Some suggestions Dr. Koufman makes to improve symptoms caused by reflux, include: don’t smoke, don’t wear clothing that is too tight, don’t exercise directly after a meal, don’t lie down right after eating or within three hours of bedtime, elevate the head of your bed if you are a nighttime refluxer.

Many of the medications presently prescribed for acid reflux suffers offer some relief, but may be only good for about 2/3 of people needing them. The strongest anti-reflux medications are the proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec, Protonx, and Nexium. Side effects include, nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Making changes in diet and lifestyle are still necessary and the most effective way to minimize the chronic problems associated with reflux disease even if one is taking medication for symptoms.

In a study conducted by Brown University and published in Cancer Epidemiology analyzed data from 631 people with cancer of the throat and vocal cords were compared to 1,234 people with cancer. The researchers found that gastric reflux, also called acid reflux, which causes heartburn may be a risk factor for these types of cancer. People without a history of heavy smoking or drinking who have experienced frequent heartburn during their lives, are 78% more likely than those who have never had it to develop cancer of the throat or vocal cords. The increased risk may be reduced by simple “over the counter antacids” as part of the treatment of heartburn.

Along with co-authors Dr. Jordan Stern and Master Chef Marc Bauer, Dr. Jamie Koufman offers 75 delicious and healthful recipes using only “good for reflux foods”. The result is one of the world’s healthiest and most sustainable diets that integrate science, medicine and culinary art in a bold new way. An estimated 100 million Americans suffer from acid reflux. Incredibly, many of them perhaps as many as half do not know or have not been accurately diagnosed with the disease. Everyone knows that our diet and exercise patterns are important for providing a healthy life style and simply by reading this book, “Dropping Acid—The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure”, you may begin to make small changes that will produce major improvements for enjoying better foods and preventing the unpleasant symptoms and conditions created by Acid Reflux. This book is not merely a cookbook, but a guide for understanding a serious illness, Reflux Disease, and the means through understanding what foods are healthy and unhealthy for you along with simple recipes to prepare and offer a sustainable new pattern for your eating habits.

Guest: Dr. Jamie Koufman