Acid & the Stomach

Gut Health 101: Acid and the Stomach

According to a nationwide study done by Cedars-Sinai,

almost one-third of Americans experience some sort of acid reflux weekly.

So if you are suffering from heartburn, acid-indigestion, and/or GERD, you are certainly not alone.

However, just because you aren’t the only one dealing with this issue, doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating, painful, and potentially harmful.  And unbeknownst to many, treating it can go well-beyond an over-the-counter acid reducer or PPI (proton pump inhibitor).

Before deciding how to deal with your stomach upset, it is helpful to analyze what the underlying root cause may actually be before reaching for that antacid.

There are typically three main reasons for acid reflux:

  1. Too Much Acid
  2. Not Enough Acid
  3. Inflammation

This means, contrary to what you may think, heartburn and acid reflux aren’t always due to too much acid in your system (although, they can be).

Let’s take a closer look…

Too Much Acid

When the stomach has too much acid, it can travel back up through the sphincter to the esophagus and create acid reflux.

This can be caused by:

  • chronic stress
  • acidic foods
  • sugary and fried foods
  • alcohol
  • medications
  • eating too quickly
  • aging

and just the common way of American life.

Too Little Acid

Similar symptoms can be felt if you have too little stomach acid that can make you think you have too much.

However, too little acid can lead to the sphincter not working properly resulting in common acid reflux symptoms of heartburn and nausea, as well as:

  • an overly full feeling after eating 
  • bloating
  • gas

Too little stomach acid can develop from:

  • an overuse of acid reducers and/or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
  • an unhealthy diet 
  • chronic stress
  • medications
  • aging

in which the stomach can’t keep up with what the body is digesting or experiencing.


Whether it’s due to a prolonged period of too much or too little stomach acid, infection, poor diet, or chronic stress, inflammation of the digestive track can lead to stomach irritation and acid reflux.


Depending on the problem, there are a variety of natural treatments for stomach issues.

To soothe and coat the stomach and lining try:

  • a DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice root) supplement (available at the CNMA office)
  • The inner fillet of an aloe vera plant (this can be consumed in liquid form, typically found in the supplement section of a health food store)
  • herbal teas such as Stomach Ease by Yogi or Belly Comfort® by Traditional Medicinals
  • herbal supplements such as marshmallow root and slippery elm (available at the CNMA office in blended formulas)

For acid reduction:

  • Acid Reflux™ by Mountain Peak Nutritionals or Stomach Caps™ by Health Concerns® before a meal to calm the stomach
  • Heartburn Advantage™ by Integrative Therapeutics®
  • Plant Enzymes such as Similaise® by Integrative Therapeutics during a meal to help the food breakdown
  • eliminating food sensitivities

For acid production:

  • apple cider vinegar (1 tsp. before a meal, increasing if necessary)
  • bitters before or after a meal (such as bitter greens or cruciferous vegetables)
  • Digestzimes™ by designs for health® or Similaise® by Integrative Therapeutics during a meal
  • an HCL (a hydrochloric acid) supplement right before or during a meal (available at the CNMA office)
  • eliminating food sensitivities

As you can see, there can be hope in natural medicine to help heal your gut.

If you’re ready to wean off those antacids and help that tummy feel better, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to about potential options for your specific concern.

The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area.  For those outside of these areas, telehealth appointments are available.


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