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How pH Levels and Acidity Relate to Heartburn

Friday, June 27, 2008 by: Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.
Tags: heartburn, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) The human body has a high water content; water is an essential medium for transportation of nutrients, biochemicals and oxygen all throughout the human body. This water-based medium may have acidic or alkaline properties that are measured by a graduated scale known as pH (potential hydrogen). Levels from 1.0 to 6.9 are considered as acidic pH, while 7.1 to 14.0 is alkaline pH. 7.0 is the neutral pH. The lower the pH number, the greater the acidity, and a higher pH number indicates greater alkalinity. The optimal goal should be a blood pH of 7.43, slightly alkaline.

Problems from imbalanced pH levels

Our diet plays an important role in maintaining appropriate pH levels in the body. Most diets can give rise to unhealthy acidic pH. An imbalanced pH can interrupt cellular activities and functions. Excessively acidic pH can lead to progression of several serious health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and heartburn. Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is also known as acid indigestion and it causes the sensation of burning chest pain that starts behind the breastbone and moves forward to the neck and throat. Pain, pressure and burning can last for about 2 hours and generally worsens after eating. Bending over, wearing tight clothing, or lying down may draw attention to symptoms of heartburn. Heartburn due to gastroesophageal reflux disease is very common in adults and children. It can cause coughing, vomiting and other respiratory problems.

Role of pH levels and acidity in developing heartburn

pH levels in the body can greatly influence our overall health. Generally, our normal body pH is 7.0. However, it is not the same in all parts of the body. The pH measurement of blood is found in the range of 7.36 to 7.42. Similar to that, the pH values of the internal environment of the body range from 7.36 to 7.42. The pH level of urine may range from 4.5 to 5.0-6.0. The pH of the outer layers of our skin is 5.2. Thus, every body part has its own pH levels and its normal functioning depends upon maintaining normal pH.

pH levels and acidity can be associated with heartburn. The contents of the stomach are highly acidic, with a pH level of 2.0. It can cause symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease such as acid regurgitation, heartburn and chest pain. Excess acidity in the gastric juice in the stomach can lead to heartburn discomfort. The main cause of heartburn is irritation of the lower esophagus due to stomach acid. Generally, the esophagus has higher pH than the stomach. Open sphincter muscles of the esophagus allow the stomach acid to travel back into the esophagus. This condition is known as acid reflux. The esophagus is not capable of tolerating a highly acidic environment. When the esophagus comes in contact with stomach acid, there is an irritation of the esophagus. In some cases, it may become inflamed and damaged. People with heartburn can experience chest pain, tightness in the throat, difficulty in swallowing and other symptoms.

Heartburn may be caused by having caffeinated beverages, citrus fruits, chocolates, acidic vegetables, fatty foods, mint and spicy foods. Tobacco also can cause the heartburn.

Complications of heartburn

If the heartburn arising from the acidity is not treated properly, it can give rise to three main complications:

* narrowing of the esophagus

* ulcers of esophagus

* Barrett's esophagus

Narrowing of the esophagus may result from the damage to the esophageal lining due to frequent contact with stomach acid. The esophagus tries to heal itself by developing scar tissues over the damaged areas, which can cause narrowing of the esophageal tube. There may be swelling of the esophagus, which can also cause narrowing. Large pieces of food sometimes get stuck in the narrowed sections, which can cause difficulty in swallowing.

Damage to the esophagus can lead to some serious conditions such as ulcers or sores. These wounds may be painful and bloody and cause difficulty in eating. Barrett's esophagus is another serious condition caused by heartburn. It does not give rise to any symptoms and can be diagnosed by endoscopy. Due to repetitive exposure to stomach acid, the cells in the esophagus change themselves to appear like the cells in the small intestine. People with Barrett's esophagus are at higher risk of developing the cancer of the esophagus.

Treatment of heartburn

Acid suppression is the process that is used in conventional medicine for reducing the acid secretion in the stomach with synthetic drugs, but it can be accomplished with natural products and a change of diet. Having less acidity in the stomach causes less damage if it washes up into the esophagus. It can help to heal and prevent the esophagus damage resulting from GERD. Synthetic medications like antacids, sodium bicarbonates, H2-receptor antagonists, alginates and proton-pump inhibitors that are used for the treatment of heartburn due to acidity will stop the acid but prolong the problem and may lead to cancer of the esophagus.

I recommend perfectlyhealthy products for treatment of heartburn, including Heartburn Ease to heal the esophagus, along with Mega Greens plus MSM and pH Plus to achieve the proper pH level. To test your pH levels I recommend the perfectlyhealthy pH strips. Digestive Enzymes and Aloe Vera Gel are also helpful tools to stop the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. For more information and nutritional recommendations along with a protocol on how to stop taking synthetic antacids, visit (www.perfectlyhealthy.net) .

About the author

Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. has specialized in Integrative Medicine for over twenty years, using conventional and natural methods to determine and discover the "root of the cause" in her clinic, Center for New Medicine in Irvine, California, each and every day. Many people come in to the clinic from all over the world with severe chronic illnesses that conventional medical protocols have been unsuccessful treating. She realized early on that she can truly change lives through education as well as treatment protocols.
Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D. and her medical staff strives to look at the whole person while exploring the effects and relationships among nutrition, psychological and social factors, environmental effects and personal attunement. Out of frustration of trying to find the right products to help her patients she formulated the perfectlyhealthy brand of products. All perfectlyhealthy products are clinically tested. For more information on recommended products, please visit www.perfectlyhealthy.net or www.perfectlyhealthy.com.

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