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GERD/Acid Reflux: Let's see if we can spot something that works for us

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  • GERD/Acid Reflux: Let's see if we can spot something that works for us


    If you are primal and suffering from GERD or Acid Reflux post your experience here. Post your known triggers, what you typically eat.

    If you had it pre primal and now it went away, let us know how bad it was. Did you have it everyday? What time of the day? Random, only at night.

    I'll go first:

    I have been primal for about one month now. Biggest changes were giving up on grains totally, re-introducing red meat, cooking with lots of good butter and coconut oil. Haven't seen improvement and probably a slight worsening.

    My typical day is 3 eggs and a fruit salad for breaksfast. All organic.

    Lunch a green salad (tomatoes, spinach, avocado, green mix, carrots, asparagus) with lots of olive oil. Depending on hunger levels, might add a piece of meat.

    Dinner is again a green salad with a meat or fish, depending on hunger, might make another fruit salad.

    I cook everything with either butter or coconut oil.

    Known triggers, intense exercise (running or swimming). Haven't been doing intense since going primal. Coffee, even decaf produces it, Mint/Lemon Grass will produce a volcano in my stomach.

    I don't eat at regular intervals. I eat when I am hungry or I have time. Sometimes work gets in the way, but primal seem suited for my lifestyle and my hunger cravings have disappeared so I can easily delay eating when I don't have time to eat (Thanks Mark!).

    Things that might play into this. I have been diagnosed with Hypoliri bug. Haven't decided to kill it yet. When I was first diagnosed with GERD they took a sample and it was negative. Years later I was diagnosed with it. So I don't think it has anything to do with it.

    I have had my gall bladder removed. Again I suffered GERD with and with out it.

    I really don't know what else do to, to try and control it. I dont' take proboitics because I haven't researched that yet.

    Hopefully if you guys post your experiences with GERD and primal, we can figure something out.



  • #2
    I wish I had the definitive answer for you. I can only tell my own story with dealing with this. When I was at my heaviest, I spent two years sleeping every night in a recliner because my reflux was so bad. Once I started losing weight (CW style at that time) my reflux went away. I've had my gall bladder out too, and like you, it didn't make any difference one way or the other with the reflux.

    The thing is, reflux actually causes damage. It's like a burn in your esophagus and in your trachea if you're one of the unfortunate who aspirate as well. It has to heal or the least little thing will irritate the injured tissues.

    If you're not sleeping with your torso elevated, I highly recommend that as a first step. Propping pillows doesn't work well. It's better for both reflux and spine to use a foam wedge or put blocks under the headboard legs of your bed. The idea is to stop the reflux long enough to let those inflamed tissues settle down and heal.

    You've already identified several triggers for yourself. Oranges were one of mine, and the WORST trigger was a combination of sugar and fat in the same meal. Eating large meals-- regardless of quality-- is also a common trigger. The sphincter at the top of the stomach is weaker than it should be, and lets the stomach contents backflow if under pressure.

    You may try eating just until the edge is off, then eating lightly again when hunger returns. It's a pain, and not a lifelong thing, but again, the goal here is to heal up so some sort of normality can be, well, the norm again. Even eating perfectly as for content, if the quantity is too much, too close to bedtime-- I'll burn at least a little.

    Your stomach may empty slower than "normal," too, so you may want to bump the last meal farther away from your usual bedtime. Lessee.... what else? Alcohol always burns me if consumed in the evening, and while I can now eat sweeter citrus (tangerines), navel oranges and orange juice are like swallowing acid. Tomatoes and tomato sauces don't bother me any more, though they did till I was well-healed.

    I know this is a lot of semi-random stuff, but maybe something here will help, I hope!
    My Primal Journal:


    • #3
      I had it until I went Primal. Pretty bad too, like enough for them to give me morphine once, and I've had 2 large babies with no drugs, so I'm not exactly a wimp.

      Ditching the wheat and excess sugar helped tremendously. When I start eating poorly, it comes back after a while. So I guess I just need to eat right consistently.

      The only thing that ever seemed to help wasn't Prilosec, Zantac, Tums or anything like that. Trust me, I tried them all. It was a spoonful of apple cider vinegar that made it go away. No diluting or anything, just a spoonful straight out of the bottle. It helps with the taste if you refrigerate it.

      I know it's counterintuitive, but most of the time GERD and acid reflux are caused by too little stomach acid and bad intestinal flora. Taking antacids and the like just makes it worse, especially long term. Chris Kresser has a really great 6 part post about it on his website, but his site is down right now so I can't post a link.

      ETA: It's back up again. Guess my timing was just lousy.
      Last edited by RitaRose; 03-24-2012, 10:59 AM.


      • #4
        Mine was bad enough to make me think I was having a heart attack on numerous occasions. I had an endoscopy and was checked for h.Pylori, which was negative but I have a feeling that there's more than one culprit bacteria. More evidence to support the theory that GERD is caused by bacterial overgrowth

        Sugars are/were a major trigger for me. I have fructose malabsorption and when I cut back on the FODMAPS, eliminated most fruit, it disappeared. If FM might possibly be an issue for you then I'll tell you which food in your regulars that could be an issue. Fruit salad, being the obvious. Stick to berries and low fructose fruits. Leafy greens can be a problem as well as the avocado, which has sorbitol. Stone fruits have sorbitol. FM also includes other fruit sugars. Asparagus due to it being a pre-biotic, meaning it is a food source for bacteria. Bad, unfortunately, along with the good. As for leafy greens, I can eat them as long as I get rid of most of the rib, as that's where most of the fructose is. I don't have a problem with asparagus or many of the other foods some with FM can't eat, such as cabbage, leeks, onions and garlic, although the cabbage and leeks have to be cooked. Google FODMAP and it will give you an idea of which foods may be an issue for you. There is quite a bit of evidence that bacteria plays a role in GERD, so basically you want to stop feeding it.
        Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.


        • #5
          I developed GERD in my mid-20s when I switched from moderately-low-carb (the only wheat-flour product I ate was tortillas. Never bread.) to a more SAD type diet (on the advice of a nutritionist!). I had no idea it was the switch in my diet that caused it, I mean, how could it be my diet? Everyone says it's grains are good for you right?


          I have to check my old journals to be sure, but I think it was eight years of GERD. My symptoms were seasonal and intermittent. Prilosec made me miserably bloated, so I relied on Zantac. Most of the time I only needed Zantac once a week or so. In a "lucky" month I only needed it twice all month. I sometimes took it preventatively before a large feast or before eating Cajun food. However, my symptons also followed a seasonal pattern. If it was switching from warm to cool, I had about two weeks of daily pain. If we were going from cool to warm (late spring-summer) I could be miserable for a month or longer.

          I had burping, I had stomach cramps, I had Vurps, I had a feeling that my diaphram was on fire, I had IBS . . .

          So anyway, I went Primal for various other reasons and I was shocked one day when my boyfriend turned to me and said, "you know, since we started eating this way, I haven't had an upset stomach." Suddenly, I realized that I hadn't had any indigestion, acid-reflux, or GERD problems either!

          It has come back a couple of times. Each time it was because I ate something to be polite to a friend who had cooked . . .. Both times it was wheat-related. I honestly think I am gluten intolerant.

          Sometimes if I really, really gorge myself with primal foods, I get a little burpy, but I never have the GERD family of symptoms unless there is Wheat involved.


          • #6
            Oh, and when I have had post-primal relapses, there is a stabbing pain in my lower gut about four-eight hours after eating the wheat-food, but the real fun is when I lie down at night. HEARTBURN from hell. also Vurping.

            It has taken about 24 hours to get back to normal.

            I have no idea what kind of long-term damage I have to repair.


            • #7
              hmmm good stuff. my GERD must not be so severe. When it was unchecked I was in misery. But once I knew to avoid obvious triggers it settled down to being tolerable.

              I have no idea of I'm damaging something, but I do know when I run sometimes I start aspirating and I think it's probably gook that got into my lungs.

              I just wish to one day not have it. I'm hoping that in a few years if I haven't found a cure for it, the surgery for the hiatal valve will be a mature one, and safer than it is today.


              • #8
                I've had GERD for years, used to pop chewable Pepcid AC's (the little tiny ones that seem to be discontinued now) like candy. My Dr. prescribed Nexium for me back in 2006, and I've taken it on and off when it would flare up really badly, but it was always just easier to eat Pepcid.

                Since I've gone Primal it's gone away for the most part. I stopped taking the Nexium within two months of going primal. On and off, I get acid reflux when I haven't eaten in a while, but I don't feel hungry. So then I eat something and it goes away. It actually just happened today, which is how I found this thread. Thought I'd do a little searching to see if others experience acid reflux when hungry. . . .

                I liked what RitaRose had to say about gut microflora. That's one of my issues, and over the past six months I've been drinking kefir, eating sauerkraut like on and off, eating good yogurts and popping probiotics like crazy to help get my microflora back in balance. Anyway, I had a massive asthma attack two weeks ago, triggered by some kind of bug, and the doctor put me on Z-Pack. I was reluctant to take it, but I was so sick, so I did. (Got better pretty quickly. Yay.)

                So now I'm wondering about the microflora thing and acid reflux, because I know that Z-pack pretty much counter acted all the good stuff I've been doing. And now I'm having a rare bout of acid reflux, when hungry, when I haven't had it in a while.

                Triggers? Wheat, wheat, and more wheat. I found six months ago that out I'm gluten intolerant and have been pretty good about cutting it out of my diet, but when I slide back, the acid reflux and other symptoms come back with a Vengeance. And maybe Hunger? Perhaps the overly coconut laden breakfast I had this morning?


                • #9
                  I had really bad GERD from the time I was a kid, in fact I was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus 6 years ago when I had an endoscopy, and have to have it checked every few years to make sure it's not progressing into cancer. I'm 32.

                  I was going to link to Chris Kresser's site but someone already beat me to it. My advice is pretty much his--ditch the medications if you're on any, I ditched them when I went Primal and while it took about a month to adjust, I am SO GLAD I no longer "need" them. You're probably experiencing rebound acid, and you also may have a gut flora imbalance. (Also, get rid of the H. Pylori!) Get some good probiotics, drink kefir, eat fermented foods, etc. to balance it out. One thing that really helped me through the transition was digestive enzymes, I had a roll of chewable papaya tablets. Axia3 is an antacid (calcium carbonate) combined with digestive enzymes, I tried not to take it much because I didn't want to put a bandaid on the problem, but it did help for those times when it felt like acid was going to come up and melt my teeth.


                  • #10
                    I had GERD pretty badly, was on 2-30mg Prevacids by prescription per day, and once I stopped eating carbs almost entirely it went away. I haven't had more than a couple refluxes in the last 5 years (and then it was during extremely strenuous labor on a full stomach). YMMV.
                    Peak weight on Standard American Diet: 316.8 lbs
                    Initial Weight When Starting Primal: 275 lbs
                    Current weight: 210.8 lbs
                    Goal weight: 220 lbs (or less): MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

                    The way "" should have looked:


                    • #11
                      I second the recommendation for using digestive enzymes! I've tried a couple different kinds and am really happy with these (oh, well when I dug up the link, it looks like they've now switched to a new and improved kind, but this is the brand, etc) : Buy Source Naturals Essential Enzymes Ultra Premium Digestive Blend, Capsules & More |


                      • #12
                        I am also struggling with GERD and feel like it's gotten worse since going Primal about 5 weeks ago. I'm really crossing my fingers it will shut off soon and would love to hear more from others who found relief after sticking with it. Very odd that it's gotten worse with healthier eating, but at least I know I'm not the only one trying to work through it.


                        • #13
                          I used to deal with it, for about ten years. Once starting Primal in early February it was like some threw the off switch on the GERD machine.
                          I had been taking prilosec daily with an occasional Pepcid complete at night when there would be breakthrough. There were plenty of nights when I would have to sleep propped up on pillows.
                          It's gotten so much better. I still take a Prilosec on the weekends cause most if not all of my 20% is on the weekends.
                          I have had one or two times when I had to take something at night but that was because of too much red wine.

                          Main triggers: Wheat (removed from diet), fried food (removed from diet), tomato sauces (I think this has gotten better), alcohol esp red wine and whiskeys.

                          I used to have to stock up prior to any kind of travel, but thankfully that's not the case anymore.
                          "I did it for money and for a woman. I didn't get the money, and I didn't get the woman"


                          • #14
                            A few months ago I was eating a pretty clean CW diet, minimal processed stuff, but still had reflux at night. I cut out milk and bread and within a couple of days my reflux had stopped and has not returned, not once.

                            I think the late-night glass of milk I used to have was the probable cause, so although I have some dairy, I don't drink milk. I also avoid eating late and only drink herbal teas in the evening.
                            Start weight: 238 lbs (March 2012)
                            Current weight: 205 lbs (July 2012)
                            Loss so far: 33 lbs!!!
                            WOE: Primal + IF
                            Movements: Hiking, sprinting.
                            Goal: to see my abs some time in 2013!


                            • #15
                              I've still been trying to figure out why my heartburn is worse when doing low carb and/or primal. I occasionally find other folks online posting about the same thing, but unfortunately, no solutions or answers. Adding more acid with HCl, using digestive enzymes and trying probiotics don't help. The addition of acid with HCl gives me the worst heartburn. If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them. It's either eat the bad stuff and feel like crud with some heartburn, or eat well and feel good with worse heartburn/reflux.