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Reflux Esophagitis (DoNotReply@BrilliantHealth.net) Here is your personal nutritional medicine consult from Dr. Ray Strand regarding RefluxEsophagitis or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): I appreciate your interest in learning how you can best support and optimize your body's naturaldefense systems through an aggressive nutritional supplement program. I have been practicingnutritional medicine now for over 12 years. I am a published author of several best selling booksand international speaker on the subject of preventive and nutritional medicine. I have gained atremendous amount of clinical experience in dealing with my patients over the years and theamount of nutritional supplementation that is required to give them the best chance to seeimprovement in their health. I share many of their stories in my book, What Your Doctor DoesntKnow about Nutritional Medicine [Thomas Nelson 2002]. You cannot find this information in amedical text book. That is why I have established my nutritional medicine practice online. Itallows me the opportunity to share what I have learned in my practice of nutritional medicineover the past 12 years.
The one thing that I have learned over the years is the fact that the best way to take backcontrol of your health is to develop a triad of healthy lifestyles, which is a healthy diet, modestexercise, and nutritional supplementation. When my patients finally decide to become moreproactive in protecting or regaining their health, they find that the best way to optimize theirbody's natural immune system, repair system, and antioxidant defense system is byincorporating these new, healthier lifestyles into their health. The level of supplementationrecommended in this personal consultation from me is the level that I have found that gives youthe best chance to improve your health. It takes a minimum of six months to build up yournatural defense systems; therefore, if you are going to consider my recommendations, you needto give these recommendations at least a 6 month trial. Nutritional medicine is really not aboutdisease, but instead, it is about health. In contrast to medication, it takes at least 6 months, oreven longer, for these recommendations to optimize your body's natural defenses and offer youa chance to see improvement in your health.
Now it is critical for you to understand the fact that my specialty is in nutritional medicine. I amprimarily concerned in giving your body the nutritional support necessary considering the illnesswith which you are dealing. These recommendations in no way are going to cure yourunderlying disease. Now it is possible to see some significant improvements in your health; however, it should never be considered alternative therapy for your disease. This means youshould never discontinue any medications that your doctor has prescribed for you without yourdoctor's personal direction and consent. You should only discontinue or reduce yourmedications under your doctor's direct supervision and orders. Most doctors are very willing todecrease or discontinue their patients medication if they observe significant improvement intheir health.
Reflux Esophagitis or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
I have been involved in a private family practice for well over 30 years. One of the complaintsthat have increased dramatically over the past 10 years in my patients is heart burn and acidreflux symptoms. The use of drugs like Prilosec, Nexium, Zantac, Pepcid, and Aciphex has alsoincreased dramatically. In fact, one of the more common email consultations I deal with arequestions about acid reflux and what one can do naturally to improve this problem.
Reflux Esophagitis Defined
The esophagus is the muscular tube that connects our mouth to our stomach. The circularmuscles of the esophagus contract in a coordinated manner to deliver the food and liquid we eator drink efficiently into the stomach. While no actual valve exists between the esophagus andthe stomach, stomach acid normally does not reflux back into the lower esophagus because of"lower esophageal pressure." However, if this pressure decreases for any reason, acid caneasily flow backwards from the stomach up into the lower esophagus. The esophagus does nothave a natural protective barrier against acid (as does the lining of the stomach), and anyportion of the lower esophagus that is exposed to stomach acid is literally burned. The acidcauses the release of a tremendous amount of free radicals which leads to oxidative stress anda tremendous amount of inflammation and damage to the lower esophagus. Repeated orchronic exposure of the esophagus to stomach acid can lead to significant damage overtime---and can even lead to esophageal cancer.
The symptoms of reflux esophagitis are primarily heart burn, substernal chest pressure or pain,and even choking. The longer this problem exists the greater the possibility of developing"chronic reflux esophagitis" (esophageal stricture or narrowing of the esophagus) and acondition called "Barrett's esophagus" (a pre-cancerous lesion).
A symptom that concerns me the most is when one of my patients begins complaining that theirfood is actually sticking in their throat or chest. If feels like their food is literally getting stuckbefore it gets into the stomach. Physicians refer to this symptom as "dysphagia." Thissymptom cannot be ignored. Dysphagia could be a sign of esophageal stricture, Barrett'sesophagus, or even cancer. When I hear this complaint, I immediately refer my patients to a GIspecialist so that they can look directly down into their lower esophagus and stomach through ascope-called an EGD.
Causes of Reflux
Increased abdominal pressure due to central obesity is the most common reason patients beginto reflux their stomach acid into their lower esophagus. When you begin gaining weight aroundyour middle, the increased abdominal pressure can literally force acid out of your stomach backup into your esophagus. This increased pressure can eventually force a portion of your stomachback up into the chest, a condition called a "hiatal hernia." You can have reflux without having ahiatal hernia; and you can have a hiatal hernia and not have problems with acid reflux. However,these two conditions are commonly associated.
Esophageal pressure can be decreased by many things; things like chocolate, spicy or greasyfoods, caffeine (even decaf coffee), alcohol, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication,carbonated beverages, and high-glycemic carbohydrates. You may even be aware of otherfoods that can set off reflux symptoms. Reflux can be experienced after eating a large meal;some patients can even have reflux symptoms if they lie down too soon following a regularmeal.
Another cause of reflux is the result of a GI infection called "H. Pylori." Have your physiciancheck for the possibility of this infection any time your symptoms of reflux persist or becomechronic in nature. Once this infection is effectively treated, the symptoms of reflux usually goaway permanently.
Traditional Medical Treatment
To treat acid reflux, most physicians will prescribe medication that decreases the production ofstomach acid. These medications generally fall into two different categories: 1) The H2 blockerslike Zantac, Pepcid, and Tagamet and 2) the proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, Nexium, orAciphex. Another category of medications-include drugs like Reglan and Propulsid (which hasbeen removed from the market), which increase esophageal motility. These drugs push foodand acid into the stomach more effectively and possibly increase the lower esophagealpressure.
The proton pump inhibitors are much more potent than the H2 blockers at decreasing thestomach acid you can produce and usually improve reflux symptoms fairly effectively. However,they are very difficult to quit once you have been on them for any length of time. When youdiscontinue drugs like Prilosec or Nexium, a "rebound phenomenon" occurs as the body beginsto make more stomach acid than you have ever made in your life. When that happens, acidreflux symptoms usually return with a vengeance. This leads many physicians to conclude thatthe patient has a chronic reflux problem that requires them staying on this medication for therest their life. (Drug companies don't want you or your doctor to know about this rebound, andthat this is why so many people are just not able to get off these drugs.) Once I feel that mypatient's esophagitis has healed, I recommend that they discontinue their proton pump inhibitorsand take an H2 blocker like Pepcid AC twice daily for three weeks. Since the H2 blockers do notcreate this "rebound phenomenon", they are able to get through this rebound time. Then theyare able to discontinue the Pepcid and generally do very well.
Nutritional Medicine and Reflux Esophagitis
The nutritional medicine approach to improving reflux is multifaceted. As mentioned earlier, thereflux of acid causes a significant increase in free radical production that causes inflammation ofthe lower esophageal area. This area quickly becomes depleted in antioxidants and theirsupporting nutrients. Since the main concern is the high risk of developing esophageal cancer,aggressive nutritional supplementation is necessary. Building up these nutrients to optimallevels and providing an abundance of antioxidants is a primary concern. My optimal nutritionalrecommendations are the Usana Essentials, 2 to 3 Proflavanol C 100, 2 Biomega-3, 2Coquinone 30 and 4 Active Calcium daily. Spread out these nutritional supplements throughoutthe day, and always take them with food.
, and jump-start this program with Usana's RESET KIT. Besides theobvious life-long improvement in your overall health, this program will help those struggling withacid reflux for two main reasons: First, participants in this program will lose a significant amountof central weight, thus reducing the abdominal pressure that can be forcing acid up into theesophagus. Second, patients' symptoms improve rather quickly in the majority of cases as soonas they begin to eliminate high-glycemic carbohydrates. I have become very suspicious(although I have never seen any studies that hav This foundational regime provides all the necessary micronutrients to the cell at ideal levels (not
RDA levels) for significant health benefits as documented in the medical literature. When the cell
is given maximum support, it can then determine what it does and does not need. Over a
six-month period each cell is able to not only overcome nutritional deficiencies but also to
optimize ALL .
The synergistic affect of providing all the nutrients needed by one's body at the mostadvantageous levels results in optimizing and rebuilding the body's natural immune system,antioxidant, and repair systems back to their fullest fighting potential against disease.
is to simply take Usana's Essentials,which are made up of a bottle of their Mega Antioxidant and a bottle of their Chelated Minerals. Irecommend taking 2 Mega Antioxidants and 2 Chelated Minerals in the AM with breakfast andagain in the PM with your evening meal. Usana's Essentials provide all of the antioxidants,B-cofactors, and antioxidant minerals at those optimal or advanced levels that I recommend foreveryone. These are the levels that have been shown to provide a health benefit in our medicalliterature. Again, these should be taken with food for better absorption and better tolerance.
, I also recommend adding to the UsanaEssentials either OptOmega (2 tsps daily) or BiOmega-3 (2 capsules daily), which provides the essential fats that are so important for optimal health. I also recommend adding Active Calcium(4 tablets daily) to provide additional calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, Boron, and vitamin D thatour bodies need. These recommendations provide all the nutrients at their ideal levels creatingthe cellular nutrition I recommend in my book, What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About NutritionalMedicine May Be Killing You. Optimizers
It is critical that you know the necessity of adding optimizers to your foundational cellularnutrition for optimal results. Patients who are suffering from a chronic degenerative disease orillness are under more oxidative stress than the average healthy individual. Therefore, addingpotent Optimizers to the basic cellular nutrition offers you the best chance to bring this oxidativestress back under control. The synergy and increased potency created by this approach tonutritional medicine is why I'm able to get such consistent results in my patients.
However, to suit each individual's unique needs, I always offer both an optimal and a minimal and for adding Optimizers. Obviously, one's improvement will bequicker and more consistent with the optimal recommendations; however, a minimal regime canstill produce significant clinical results.
Recommended Optimizers:
Optimal Recommendations
Nutritional Supplement
Breakfast Lunch
Minimal Recommendation
Nutritional Supplement
Breakfast Lunch
I have developed an internet-based behavioral management program designed to firmlyestablish new, healthier lifestyles. This web site will evaluate, educate, motivate, and holdaccountable those individuals who want to become more proactive in protecting their health orregaining their health. When you combine a healthy diet and modest exercise program to thesenutritional supplement recommendations, you give yourself the absolute best chance ofprotecting your health or even regaining your health. My patients who have incorporated thesehealthy lifestyles into their life along with an aggressive nutritional supplement program havealways done better than just using the supplements alone.
Usana has a fine line of meal and snack replacements called Macro-Optimizers. Usanaunderstands the concept of glycemic index and glycemic load and have developed meal andsnack replacements that contain those good, low-glycemic carbohydrates, good fats, and goodproteins. The Macro-Optimizers have helped my patients get out of what I refer to as "glycemicstress" and "carbohydrate addiction". Whether you are concerned about cancer, heart disease,diabetes, obesity, fibromyalgia, asthma, an autoimmune disease, or are just trying to protectyour health, the Healthy for Life Program is a tremendous way to optimize your health or evenpossibly regain health.
and take theFREE automated Health Risk Assessment that I have developed. Also take a tour of the websiteand check out the overview of the program. Many physicians, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals are now using the Usana's RESET and the Healthy for Life Program as theirwellness program they offer their patients in their practices.
Why I recommend USANA Products
USANA strictly follows pharmaceutical-grade Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). This meansthey not only purchase pharmaceutical-grade raw products, but also manufacture the productsaccording to tough pharmaceutical-quality guidelines. In addition, USANA Health Sciencesfollows USP guidelines for potency, uniformity, and dissolution of the tablet. In a nutshell,USANA manufactures their products to the strict standards of over-the-counter drugs eventhough not required to do soassuring all of their customers and associates that what is on thelabel is actually in the tablet.
Usana's essentials are complete and balanced and provides the cellular nutrition that I stronglyrecommend in my book, What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Nutritional Medicine May BeKilling You. This improves compliance and makes taking these advanced levels of nutritionalsupplements easier.
Starting Your USANA Nutritional Program
Over eighty percent of my patients are able to start the USANA Nutritional Program withabsolutely no set backs while beginning to experience the health benefits of high-qualitynutritional supplements immediately. Please keep in mind these supplements are extremelypotent and optimal levels of nutrients are being provided that the body has never had before.
The body is therefore able to finally rid itself of toxins, which have been accumulating for years(called detoxification). This is especially true in those who are suffering from a serious illnessand are taking a significant amount of medication. It is important to understand the possiblesigns and symptoms of detoxification so that you can deal with them confidently and properly.
Detoxification:
The most common detoxification reaction is muscle aches and/or mild headache. Thesesymptoms will usually pass within a few weeks. If the discomfort is not unbearable, I simplyhave my patients continue their program as I have prescribed. However, occasionally there is amore severe reaction. The patient is not in danger, rather, the amounts of nutrients are just toomuch too fast. In this case, I have my patients quit their supplements for a few days until thereaction subsides. I will then have them start back on their program but initially at lower doses(approximately one third of the recommended dose). Once they are tolerating this amount ofsupplementation, I suggest slowly building up to the recommended doses.
Some of my patients actually develop a "detox" skin rash somewhere on their body. As youknow, the skin is an important route for ridding the body's toxins. This rash is a dry, red rash thatlooks almost like a mild sunburn. Some people confuse this with an allergic reaction to thesupplements. This is not typically so. I have never seen an allergic reaction to the USANAEssentials and can only recall a couple of patients who reacted to Proflavanol because theywere actually allergic to grapes.
Patients may also experience some aspect of loose stools or even diarrhea. This again is acommon "detox" reaction because the GI tract is another prime route for eliminating toxins fromthe body. This symptom will usually diminish within a couple of weeks. It is an important part ofthe detoxification and healing process. Therefore, I usually encourage my patients to continuethe supplements as recommended unless their bottom gets too sore. I will then againrecommend lower doses of the supplements until they feel better and then begin adding thesupplements back more slowly until the recommended doses are reached. Diarrhea can be theresult of the magnesium in the Active Calcium or by the Proflavanol. Again, this is usually a mildreaction and will improve over the first week or two. However, some of my patients need todiscontinue the Active Calcium and/or the Proflavanol until this settles down. I then have themslowly add back the Proflavanol and eventually the Active Calcium.
Increasing dietary fiber may also increase the amount of intestinal gas and the frequency ofbowel movements. This will improve with time as the body adjusts to the higher intake of fiber,but is an important aspect of getting rid of the toxins, which have accumulated in the body.
Natural Relaxation Response:
A small percentage of patients develop a natural relaxation response when minerals areabsorbed into their body. This is of great concern to those patients who have just been told thatnutritional supplementation will help improve their energy level. They take the supplements asrecommended only to find themselves more fatigued and dragging themselves through theirday. If you experience this response, I recommend that you take all of your minerals (includingthe Active Calcium) with a light bedtime snack. This allows you to take advantage of your body'sresponse while getting a good night's sleep.
A small percentage of patients have difficulty tolerating vitamin C. It can cause an upsetstomach that will usually become evident a couple days after starting their nutritional program.
With USANA's specially combined vitamin C into Poly C, I have seen many of people who couldnot previously tolerate any nutritional supplements do very well with USANA's Mega Antioxidant.
However, if nausea is experienced, I suggest taking one Mega Antioxidant with the largest meal.
Once this level of supplementation is better tolerated, I suggest slowly adding another MegaAntioxidant to the next largest meal. I anticipate building them up to the recommended level ofsupplementation, but sometimes this is just not possible. For those extremely sensitive, I adviseusing Body Rox (the teenage dose of Antioxidants and Minerals) as the best alternative option.
Taking Your Supplements with Your Medication I am often asked, "Can I take my nutritionals with my medication?" To this I respond with thisquestion, "Can you eat?" I hope my point is made gently but clearlynutritional supplementssimply contain nutrients we should be getting from our foods, but at levels we can no longerobtain from our foods. If you can eat anything, you can also take nutritional supplements. Theonly exception to this is for those taking the medication, Coumadin (Warfarin), which blocksvitamin K in the body as a way of thinning the blood. If a patient is on Coumadin, I recommendhe or she take the Canadian Essentials and Canadian Active Calcium because they contain novitamin K. Also, patients who are on thyroid medication should take their medication on anempty stomach at least 1 hour prior to meals or prior to taking supplements. Thyroid medicationshould not be taken with food or with supplements because calcium can block the absorption ofthe medication.
Disclaimer
Every effort has been made to make this web site as accurate as possible. The purpose of thissite is to educate and inform. As such it is based on scientific evidence and my clinical trainingand experience. No individual should at any time use the information found on this web site forself-diagnosis, treatment, or justification in accepting or declining any medical therapy for anyhealth problems or diseases. Any application of the advice herein is at the reader's owndiscretion and risk. Therefore, any individual who has a specific health problem or is takingmedications must first seek advice from his or her personal physician or healthcare providerbefore starting a nutritional supplement program. Dr. Strand shall have neither liability norresponsibility to any person or entity with respect to loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this web site. We assume noresponsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. Any slights ofpeople, places, or organizations are unintentional.

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