Researchers have revealed popular acid-lowering treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) possibly do nothing to stop the condition’s true cause.
A team from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found GERD might be caused by immune-system-induced inflammation rather than stomach acid, Reuters reports.
In the study, researchers found stomach acid and bile took weeks to erode the esophagus. This made little sense, as acid usually causes immediate damage to tissue such as the skin.
Upon further examination, the team revealed esophagus cells sent out inflammatory signals in reaction to bile salts, according to Reuters. This seems to negate the belief that GERD is a direct result of acid invading the esophagus.
Antacids and acid-suppressing drugs have been used for years to treat GERD. Unfortunately, these medications come with several dangerous side effects.
Until researchers are able to determine the root cause of GERD, it might make sense to avoid drugs such as Prilosec and Nexium. An alternative that supports the digestive process is a digestive enzyme supplement with soothing herbs such as DGL, marshmallow root and aloe vera.