Heartburn is very serious, but this fixes it

Adult man suffering from severe sharp heartache, chest pain

If you suffer from heartburn or GERD, it’s a dangerous inflammation that medication doesn’t fix…but this may fix it safely, naturally and permanently…

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Heartburn is very serious, but this fixes it

People think heartburn is no big deal.

So long as you are taking something — what’s the problem?

A lot.

The conventional view of heartburn is that stomach acid alone is responsible for all symptoms of esophageal burning and pain.

We can even see indications of this in the language used to describe heartburn…

For example, we use the term “acid reflux” to describe it…

And we use “proton pump inhibitors” as the first line of treatment.

But heartburn is a form of dangerous inflammation. It can lead to cancer. And it indicates something very wrong in the body.

Now, a new set of studies reveal the key to getting rid of heartburn without dangerous PPIs.

Yes, a considerable amount of evidence implicates oxidized fatty acids in playing a primary role in heartburn.

But the conventional view explains this incorrectly using mechanisms of “fat-induced acidity” and “reflux.”

Yet that simplistic view has been proven false, more or less…

High-fat diets do not cause any more reflux or acidity than those high in carbohydrates.

And neither does heartburn-inducing capsaicin (hot chili peppers).

“Moreover, it explains why patients with GERD complain of increased symptoms after fatty food – even though pH studies do not consistently detect an increase in esophageal acid exposure.”

Capsaicin is the molecule responsible for the heat and/or burning sensations that follow consumption of habanero, chili, and jalapeño peppers.

Capsaicin causes this burning sensation through activating the TRPV1 ion channel, its classic receptor.

And some lipid peroxides can do this too.

Even simple lipid peroxides such as 9-hydroxy linoleic acid and leukotriene B4 activate TRPV1 receptors…

This leads to pain and burning.

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This simple fact could partially account for heartburn severity, especially after considering how readily lipid peroxidation occurs in the stomach.

Trans receptor potential (TRP) ion channels are highly involved in the perception of heartburn symptoms.

Studies show that people with severe heartburn have 235% more TRPV1 receptors in their lower esophagus.

And they have 252% more of the mRNA that encodes them.

So it can be argued that molecules such as capsaicin, cinnamaldehyde, and eugenol cause heartburn not by “increasing acidity” or “reflux” but merely through their TRP receptors…

And that has been demonstrated (Mandadi, 2008):

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In a similar vein, evidence suggests that the association between dietary fat and heartburn is largely TRP-dependent.

Oxidized lipids are often potent ligands of TRP receptors…

And lipid peroxides form easily in the low pH of gastric fluid.

Now, saturated fatty acids are completely resistant to oxidation…

So this places the blame squarely on the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – in addition to hot spices.

But you’d want to avoid PUFAs anyway for other reasons…

Excessive PUFAs have been linked to cancer and ischemic heart disease.

And they’ve been shown to increase lipofuscin in the brain and peripheral nervous system.

By the end of this article, you’ll know what causes lipid peroxidation in the stomach, how to prevent it, and which natural drugs block heat-inducing TRP ion channels.

But first, here’s some evidence that PUFAs do in fact increase heartburn severity:

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This study recruited 22 participants (but because of disqualifications and dropouts, only 15 contributed to the data set).

The researchers gave the patients one of four test meals containing varying amounts of fat and calories each day of the study.

And they recorded pH around the clock using a wireless sensor implanted in the lower esophagus, the precise area where people sense heartburn the most.

The pH sensor’s receiver recorded acidity data for all 96 hours of the study.

In addition, the subjects used it to input data representing their heartburn symptoms.

“Patients with reflux symptoms were assessed over 4 days, with 24 hours in each of the 4 dietary conditions, producing a large data set.”

They found that acid reflux was completely independent of the meal’s fat content but rather a function of its caloric content.

This result is consistent with other studies.

The four meals had the same volume, so acid reflux was influenced by calories and nothing else:

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So now what do we make of the fat/heartburn association?

Are people who report that fried foods increase heartburn deluding themselves?

Or is there something unique about certain people?

Well, no, this study did show a strong relationship between fat content and heartburn symptoms.

In other words, dietary fat triggers heartburn sensations despite not increasing gastric reflux.

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So heartburn symptoms were pH-independent, having more to do with fat than with acidity.

“Thus, dietary fat appeared to increase visceral sensitivity to reflux events; an effect above and beyond that expected from any increase in esophageal acid exposure. This finding is consistent with a study by Meyer et al […]”

These results make little sense when viewed under the conventional paradigm in which acid is the sole cause of heartburn…

Yet it is exactly what you’d expect after studying the relationship between TRP channels and lipid hydroxides.

PUFAs, upon oxidation, have been shown to activate heat and pain sensors known as TPRV1 and TPRV4 channels, the same ones activated by capsaicin (found in hot peppers).

Now, the interaction between TPR receptors and omega−6 fatty acids is well established.

But there is also indication that omega−3 fatty acids are also ligands.

So it’s no surprise that fish oil capsules are commonly reported to cause heartburn…

Fish oil contains omega−3 fatty acids predominantly.

They are bad.

Omega−3 fatty acids are even worse in terms of generating life-shortening lipofuscin because DHA found in fish oil has so many double bonds – three times more than linoleic acid.

And it’s these double bonds that are dangerous.

Saturated fats have no double bonds…

Saturated fats can’t do any of the damage that PUFA fats can do…

That’s because saturated fats can’t be oxidized or transformed into eicosanoids (e.g. leukotrienes, prostaglandins, thromboxanes).

All the positive heartburn studies I’ve read, at least the ones reporting the type of fat used, administered PUFAs to their patients.

This one below is a good example:

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This study infused Intralipid into the duodenum through a nasogastric tube and then recorded heartburn severity.

According to the FDA, Intralipid contains 20% soybean oil, 1.2% egg yolk phospholipids, 2.25% glycerin, and water as the remainder.

In short, they gave these subjects a fat that was about 60% polyunsaturated.

Soybean oil is certainly among the worst…

So things probably would have turned out differently using coconut oil or butter instead.

“Patients commonly report that foods high in fat aggravate heartburn, but the basis for this association is poorly understood.”

The researchers actually blocked the subjects’ inherent ability to create stomach acid by giving them omeprazole beforehand.

I know that sounds dangerous, but they controlled this drug for personal variation, and this allowed them to administer solutions of known acidity.

Besides infusing the subjects’ duodenum with Intralipid, they infused their esophagus with graded solutions of acid ranging between pH 1.0 and pH 2.5.

The subjects also had a push button to activate the moment they could sense symptoms.

And the subjects also rated the severity of symptoms on a scale.

The researchers found that, even when placed in the duodenum, a mixture of soybean oil and water amplified the heartburn induced by acidity.

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Even though low pH is capable of causing symptoms, dietary fat can make it worse in a manner independent of the acid itself.

This is a good reason to avoid PUFAs specifically when suffering from heartburn.

Monounsaturated fatty acids are not prone to spontaneously oxidize, and saturated ones are completely resistant to it.

We do have ways to eliminate the pain induced by acidity, and nobody actually really needs to experience heartburn.

“We conclude that duodenal fat intensifies the perception of heartburn.”

Since TRPA1 channels are responsible for sensing acids, simply blocking these can reduce any heartburn we still experience after avoiding PUFAs.

Although d-limonene can activate TRPA1 receptors directly, its metabolite perillyl alcohol effectively blocks them.

Limonene consistently acts as a painkiller when given 30 minutes beforehand, about the time needed for it to fully metabolize.

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This is probably why d-limonene has been shown so effective at preventing heartburn, as long as it’s not refluxed directly that is.

Testimonials indicate that d-limonene’s protective effects persist after cessation.

And that is understandable when considering that TRPV1 receptors can be downregulated for months after inhibiting them.

And here’s some evidence showing that PUFAs are oxidized in the stomach, and what you can drink to prevent it:

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This was an in vitro study using artificial gastric fluid, unsaturated fatty acids, whole foods, antioxidants, and actual gastric fluid take from humans.

Predictably, they found that iron, a pro-oxidant, could significantly increase the degree of lipid peroxidation in gastric fluid.

This effect was pH-dependent, increasing in the same direction as acidity.

This could be why pork had been rated “the meat most likely to induce heartburn symptoms” – ahead of both chicken and beef.

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Pork is high in both iron and unsaturated fatty acids; beef and chicken are each only high in one.

Also, some cuts of chicken are high in neither.

Chicken breast (boneless and skinless) can be so lean as to be considered fat-free, and any bird is relatively low in iron.

In addition to showing that TRPV1-activating lipids are formed in gastric fluid, they also showed that this process can be inhibited by antioxidants.

Unfortunately, they tested only one antioxidant – red wine.

But red wine did substantially lower the amount of lipid peroxides formed:

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Presumably, this is a consequence of the wine’s polyphenol concentration and not the ethanol content.

For this reason, grape juice should work just as well, and perhaps even whole grapes eaten beforehand.

Wine is particularly high in sulfites, and that’s a good reason to kinda avoid it.

Alternatively, a suitable non-estrogenic polyphenol such as baicalein could be taken in capsule form.

Baicalein effectively inhibits cancer, inhibiting the enzyme glyoxalase and thereby increasing methylglyoxal levels.

“Red wine polyphenols at a concentration of 1.6 mM, significantly inhibited lipid peroxidation. Furthermore, the polyphenols at a concentration of 4.1 mM reversed the reaction and broke down hydroperoxides to zero concentration.”

They also reported that precooked and frozen turkey meat contains 100 times more lipid peroxides than fresh turkey.

Although certainly high, this would be nothing compared to foods fried in canola oil.

Could this be why spicy foods and fried foods, regardless of type, precipitate heartburn more than anything else?

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So anything that activates TRPV1 and/or TRPA1 receptors can induce heartburn…

That includes including oxidized fatty acids…

And anything that blocks those can reduce symptoms.

Monoterpenes are the class of natural molecules most reactive towards TRP ion channels…

However, the same monoterpene molecule will often block one receptor yet activate another.

Monoterpenes that antagonize at least one TRP ion channel while having little to no activating effect on the others include:

  • Borneol
  • Camphor
  • Eucalyptol
  • Perillyl alcohol (a metabolite of limonene, found in orange oil)

Antioxidants can reduce endogenous lipid peroxidation in the stomach, and so can iron and PUFA avoidance.

Doing things naturally is far safer than taking proton pump inhibitors, a class of drug consistently shown to cause osteoporosis.

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Matt Cook is editor-in-chief of Daily Medical Discoveries. Matt has been a full time health researcher for 26 years. ABC News interviewed Matt on sexual health issues not long ago. Matt is widely quoted on over 1,000,000 websites. He has over 300,000 daily newsletter readers. Daily Medical Discoveries finds hidden, buried or ignored medical studies through the lens of 100 years of proven science. Matt heads up the editorial team of scientists and health researchers. Each discovery is based upon primary studies from peer reviewed science sources following the Daily Medical Discoveries 7 Step Process to ensure accuracy.

Fox, Mark. "The effects of dietary fat and calorie density on esophageal acid exposure and reflux symptoms." Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (2007) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1542356506013036

Meyer, J. H. "Duodenal fat intensifies the perception of heartburn." Gut (2001) https://gut.bmj.com/content/gutjnl/49/5/624.full.pdf

Kanner, Joseph. "The stomach as a bioreactor: dietary lipid peroxidation in the gastric fluid and the effects of plant-derived antioxidants." Free Radical Biology and Medicine (2001) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891584901007183

Nebel, Otto. "Symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux: incidence and precipitating factors." The American journal of digestive diseases (1976) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01071906