There’s a better way to beat acid reflux

I’ve been telling you for years that smart nutrition works better than drugs for managing heartburn. And really, doesn’t it just make sense?

Most reflux is caused by issues that have nothing to do with excessive stomach acid — like the food you eat, weight pushing on your diaphragm, even too little stomach acid (a common problem that gets worse with age).

So obviously, I was elated when I came across a recent study showing that proton pump inhibitors (or PPIs, like the “purple pill” you may know from television) can’t hold a candle to dietary intervention in the fight against reflux.

But I got even more excited when I saw the specific intervention this new research used. Namely, a Mediterranean-style diet (rich in plant foods and healthy fats) supplemented with alkaline water (less acidic than tap water and rich in anti-inflammatory, alkalizing compounds).

But wait a second, that type of strategy sounds awfully familiar…

Oh, that’s right! I just wrote an entire book about it, called The A-List Diet. So really, nothing about this news surprises me at all. Though it does deliver a crushing blow to one of Big Pharma’s biggest sellers, so allow me to share some details.

These researchers compared the Reflux Symptom Index (RSI) scores of two groups of heartburn patients — one taking a PPI for relief, and another using the Mediterranean diet with alkaline water instead. And after six weeks, some striking differences emerged.

Just over 54 percent of the drug-takers saw improvement in their heartburn symptoms — with an average reduction of a little over 27 percent. Which sounds great. Until you look at the results of the other group…

More than 62 percent of those in the alkaline water and diet group saw meaningful RSI improvement — with an average reduction in heartburn symptoms near 40 percent.

So naturally, these study authors concluded that a combo of alkaline water and Mediterranean eating can effectively manage heartburn symptoms without drugs. But they also added that the benefits reach way beyond heartburn relief — we’re talking prevention of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer… all without the risks posed by popular prescription medications.

Wait, did I write this? Or is this some kind of “invasion of the body snatchers” type of phenomenon? Whoever these people are, I need to get to know them, because they are most definitely speaking my language.

PPIs are the best that Big Pharma has to offer for reflux relief — which is pretty pathetic, when you think about it.

Not only because dietary interventions work better. But because these drugs also carry a laundry list of nasty side effects along with them.

These side effects range from minor issues like abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation — to more serious problems like low magnesium and calcium levels, increased bone fractures, decreased vitamin B12 uptake, and pneumonia.

And these are just some of the most common concerns. Research has also established links between PPIs and heart attacks, dementia, stroke, and cardiovascular death. (Not to mention the considerable number of deaths that have resulted from accidental drug interactions.)

To make matters worse, PPIs are overprescribed, too. Past research suggests that up to 80 percent of these scripts went to patients who had no business filling them in the first place.

If you happen to be one of these unfortunate recipients, I can only suggest tossing that paper in the trash where it belongs. And following the only prescription that really works instead.