The natural solution for ulcers, deglycyrrhizinated licorice root (DGL), can also be an effective acid reflux treatment. The suggested dose of DGL is two tablets, chewed about 20 minutes before meals, three times a day, or it can be taken shortly before bedtime if you suffer mostly from nighttime acid reflux. Use only chewable DGL—it must be mixed with saliva in order to be effective. Enzymatic Therapy makes a chewable DGL product called—you guessed it—DGL. This is available at most health food stores and a number of online retailers.
Hundreds of clinical studies have shown that probiotics can prevent and treat hundreds of common ailments, including acid reflux problems. Probiotics are live micro-organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit to the host by engaging and neutralizing toxic compounds.
While commercial supplements are the first thought that comes to mind when you mention probiotics, naturally fermented, “live” foods have been around since the beginning of humankind. Fermented vegetables, fermented milk products (clabber, yogurt, cheese, buttermilk), kefir, fermented soy products (natto, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, fermented tofu), and even naturally fermented, unpasteurized beers are some of the most complete probiotics available. I highly recommend you include foods like these regularly in your diet, since they can help correct acid reflux problems.
My favorite fermented food (besides unpasteurized beer, of course) is homemade sauerkraut. I keep a fresh batch going almost constantly, and some already made in the fridge at all times. It provides one of the widest varieties of beneficial bacteria that are known to protect against all kinds of digestive troubles including acid reflux problems.
During those times when you’re not home or don’t have access to homemade sauerkraut or other fermented foods, I recommend the use of a commercial probiotic product. Look for one that can maintain viability without refrigeration, available in health food stores and over the Internet.
It appears that an extract from citrus peel known as d-limonene can provide a protective coating for both the stomach and esophagus. At this point, nobody’s really sure how this happens. But the evidence is clear that it does, which means d-limonene can help in treating acid reflux. In one trial, subjects took one gram of d-limonene every other day for 20 days, on an empty stomach (that is, half an hour before eating or an hour afterward). A third of them experienced relief from their heartburn after a single capsule, and within two weeks 90 percent had relief. After a single course of treatment, relief lasted for up to six months.