Heartburn causes a sensation of burning pain in the chest which rises up from the stomach into the back of the throat. It is very uncomfortable and often occurs after eating food. It is caused when the little valve at the bottom of the tube that directs food into your stomach, either gets stuck open or opens too soon. In a healthy digestive system, the food travels down the oesophagus (the little tube that links the back of your throat to your stomach), and through this valve. The valve is then meant to stay closed to prevent the food from coming back up again. Once in the stomach, the food becomes very acidic as the digestive juices are poured onto it (see post 'How your stomach works'). If these digestive juices manage to find a way back up the oesophagus, the acid burns the lining of this little tube and causes the sensation of pain and heartburn.
Interestingly, medical research has found that heartburn in up to 90% of people is caused by food triggers. This means that you are eating something that doesn’t agree with you, and it’s causing this problem. Now it’s an amazing fact, but researchers have found that your stomach can ‘taste’ your food. It has special sensors to identify carbohydrates, protein, fats and glucose, and the stomach can tell your brain whether the food you have eaten is palatable or not! It can even tell whether or not what you have eaten is nutritionally complete. The digestive system is sometimes referred to as the ‘little brain’. It contains a network of 100 million neurons whose job is to provide feedback, apart from the billions and billions of other cells. Research has also found that everyone is uniquely different and so food that might cause you a problem, may not be a problem for me at all. To find a simple way of identifying your specific food triggers, have a look at the free preview on this site for the NHD video and training programme.
Many people will tell you that they have an idea that they get heartburn when they eat certain foods, so they are already clued in to part of the problem. In reality however, most of us should be able to eat most foods without creating a problem, and that is where we would all like to get to. This is absolutely possible, when you understand the cause of the problem, because while food may be a trigger, it is not usually the cause. The cause usually lies in deeper stresses that have been buried and hidden throughout the process of life. This is because the stomach (or solar plexus region in energy terms), is where we are particularly sensitive to stress. There is a huge amount you can do to resolve these problems even in the short term. At a physical level, one of the best ways to start is to take some enzymes to help your stomach to digest the food more easily. This will usually give you immediate relief, and while it is not a cure, it is much better than taking antacids tablets. You see, your stomach is meant to be acidic in order to digest food. If you neutralise this acid with antacid tablets, you create a lot of problems for the rest of your digestive system. This can cause long-term damaging effects which only manifest years later.
On the other hand, if you help your stomach digest food that it has received by using an active enzyme product, you provide an immediate and pro-active solution that strengthens your digestive system. The big challenge is to find the appropriate enzyme product for you. For nearly 25 years, I have been recommending a particular enzyme complex that works for virtually everybody, and I have written a separate post on this product to explain exactly what it is, what is in it, and how it works (see the post ‘Enzyme products that work’). Most people can get immediate relief while using this product, and this gives them time to work on dealing with the underlying causes. You will also find more useful information about enzymes in the post ‘How enzymes work’ and the upcoming post ‘More about enzymes’.