Hey guys, I've been paleo for 1+ year, and around the one year mark, I developed GERD/Heartburn. It started after having a weird reaction to a food (i think coffee). In the process of finding out it was the coffee, I must've done something to weaken my lower esophageal sphincter pressure.
It seems like most of the GERD posts are about folks on SAD curing it with a paleo diet.
So what do you paleo folks do when you get heartburn?
Avoid FODMAPS? Fast? Not-fast?
In general, giving up processed foods cured my GERD but I can have mild symptoms if I eat too late in the day or eat a meal with large portions of fat/starch. I've learned to take a stomach acid capsule with such meals and to stop eating by about 6 pm. Since starch is a particular trigger for me I usually only eat starch between noon and 4 pm.
If I notice sensations of possible heartburn, I just sit up and drink a little water and that usually takes care of it as long as I haven't eaten for several hours.
I had pretty severe heartburn (never spoke to my doctor about it) before following a mostly strict paleo diet (no dairy except butter, no sugar, no grain, minimal nightshade). In the last few months I've figured out a few things. Coffee: switching to home roasting made a huge difference. Adding copious amounts of Kerrygold might help too. Alcohol: the acids and histamines caused major problems before, but now they are even worse. Tomatoes: should be kept at a minimum now. The heartburn is worse now than it was before when I indulge in general heartburn inducing foods. My reactions to anything unfriendly to my body are generally worse now. This includes second hand smoke, fragrance, alcohol, grain, dairy, and certain cosmetic chemicals. And I thought I was sensitive before.
I got my first round of GERD from over use of advil when I tweaked my back. It comes back to visit when I get any kind of stomach bug, or when I eat fodmaps. I can make it go away, almost like magic with bone broth + probiotic drinks (kefir/kombucha). I can now have a little bit of fodmaps foods, as long as I take in a bunch of probiotic drinks and keep my gut nice and healthy.
I had GERD before going paleo, but it got worse when I started - I suspect this is because I was using acid blockers, and having gone off of them, going Paleo allowed the proper minerals to be absorbed (zinc, magnesium, potassium, etc.) which produced more acid reflux.
However, the GERD did not go away until I took out all dairy about a month later.
So you'll have to find what triggers it. For me, wheat causes me the runs, but then immediately, acid reflux comes back at night. If I consume a bit of dairy (amount varies, but typically cheese, even raw milk cheese) triggers it. So far the only dairy that doesn't cause it is goat kefir/cheese.
I don't think it's lactose related for me, due to the timing, plus there's not much left after fermentation, so it's something in the proteins, likely the casein. As usual, you're your own n=1 and YMMV.
It might be the coffee, it might be the brand of coffee, or it might be what you put in it. Who knows, maybe they used the same grinder they use for wheat flour to grind your coffee if you picked up some low quality stuff.
I had been suffering from bouts of GERD on and off for 18 months. Taking betaine HCL supplements helped enormously but it wasn't a solution really. I would be two months on HCL capsules, then be fine for two months w/o HCL capsules until GERD started to return, and the cycle would repeat. Sometime during all this I went full Paleo (, I had been gluten free and dairy free throughout). So no, going full Paleo did not resolve my GERD issues. It did help enormously with another problem I had: IBS.
A couple months back I went to a gastroenterologist. I had a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy done. I had a benign stomach polyp caused by an H. pylori infection. Eliminating this infection, through a horrible course of antibiotics, eliminated both my IBS and GERD. I am SO MUCH better now.
Bottom line: go to a gastroenterologist and get tested for H. pylori. H. pylori causes a lowering of gastic pH as part of its survival mechanism. I can see where a large number of folks with GERD have this bacteria. There are a number of ways to test for H. pylori w/o the need for an endoscopy.
I experienced very similar reactions to food around the 1 year mark too. I began taking a very good probiotic and prebiotic by Quest. It has made a HUGE difference and I can drink as much coffee as I want! Hope this helps x
Coffee just might be the actual culprit: "Cross-reactive substances can comprise other, supposedly gluten-free grains, similar enough in molecular structure or genetics to cause reactivity in those particularly sensitive. Somewhat more mysteriously, they can include entirely unrelated compounds that may have an immunologically associative relationship to casein (actually, surprisingly similar molecule to gluten) AND EVEN COFFEE in some people. Coffee, in fact, according to researchers at Cyrex labs, may be the single most cross-reactive substance of them all." ~ Primal Body, Primal Mind (page 42)
Bummer, though, hope you feel better!
Maybe this might help: http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/dig14.php
I have a bit of extra detail here regarding coffee. I drank a lot of coffee years ago (I already had a slightly weak LES as a child - I could not run far without getting a 'stitch' or cramping symptoms in the abdominal region) and now I can not drink coffee as it makes me feel quite strange and affects my vision for about two or three weeks. The condition of reflux and later GERD crept up on me despite keeping a very steady healthy diet and weight. I kept away from coffee but liked (at the time) milk and cheese. To cut a long story short I have noticed that I can drink coffee and get rid of my GERD by living at 8,000 feet or above! I visited Ecuador and after a week of high altitude felt 100% and loved their coffee! On returning to sea level (Vancouver Island) my GERD returned within a day.
So anyone got any comments? Is it just an emotional response - Holiday = no GERD, or is this a heart mediated, oxygen mediated, neurological response (as I think it must be)? The LES tone is neurologically controlled. So coffee affects the nerve, as do other specific foods...Now how do we get a recovery? Surely the neural/immune response is the issue here but how do we recover?
I had a similar issue. I think my problem was that I had almost zero stomach acid before going paleo. Once my body started producing it on it's own, I had a lot of acid reflux - until my body adapted and started to deal with it properly. Supplements helped as did appropriate meal times, etc. Check out http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21577303
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