Stop the burn... without causing a bleed
Plop, plop. Fizz, fizz.
You remember that old jingle for Alka-Seltzer. Those two tablets dropping into a glass of water and fizzing up made treating heartburn or stomach upset actually seem like fun.
In its heyday, this ad campaign convinced younger people with no digestive issues to use it -- even if it was just to cure a hangover.
But there's a reason why you should stop before you plop -- whether it's to stop reflux before it starts or to calm down the occasional stomach upset.
A warning from the Food and Drug Administration links antacids like Alka-Seltzer to stomach bleeds -- and even death.
According to the FDA, there were 41 cases of SERIOUS bleeding directly linked to these over-the-counter (OTC) antacids between 1969 and 2014.
Now, that might not sound like much over the course of a couple of decades, but it gets scarier when you consider that ALL of those cases were bad enough to send the patient to the hospital. And of those, 21 patients lost so much blood that they required transfusions!
And who's most "at risk?" Seniors over 60 -- especially those with a history of stomach ulcers.
It's because the most popular antacids out there -- like Alka-Seltzer, Bromo Seltzer, and many others (including their generics) -- are loaded with aspirin.
If you've followed recommendations from your doc, chances are you're ALREADY on a daily aspirin regimen -- but unless you read the label, you might not realize that you're adding yet ANOTHER dose of it to your day.
In the case of aspirin, more is NOT better. And as you down those fun and fizzy drinks to relieve pain and discomfort, you put yourself more at risk. Aspirin has been proven to do a number on your gut.
And it doesn't stop there. Prolonged aspirin use has also been linked to increased risk of stroke. That's why I keep a very close watch on my patients taking aspirin and keep them on the lowest possible dose as long as I'm certain they're not resistant.
Fortunately, you can calm your upset stomach without making it bleed.
As I share with you in the July issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter, capsules of Chios mastic gum can ease a number of digestive issues. You can even find mastic as an ingredient in some natural chewing gums -- and popping a piece after a meal is a good way to increase saliva and settle the stomach.
I've also found a product called Iberogast to be an invaluable tool when I want to treat a patient's entire gastrointestinal system. Developed in Germany in 1961, it's a liquid blend of nine herbs, the main active one being Iberis amara (the "bitter candytuft").
The others include peppermint, caraway, chamomile, licorice, milk thistle, and lemon balm -- all known to promote digestion.