Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) can be described as too much acid concentrated in the stomach and lower oesophagus (part of the throat connected to the stomach). This condition is thought to be an important cause in the development of many inflammatory disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract (GI). GERD is currently one of the most common health concerns in the UK and the intake of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), such as omeprazole, is among the most widely consumed drugs in the world. Although these drugs have shown to be effective in relieving high acid levels, side effects can include; headaches, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue and dizziness.
It appears that these drugs are not needed for all cases of GERD. A recent study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found that a healthy diet was just as effective in treating symptoms associated with GERD compared with PPI’s.
In this study the researchers investigated 174 people with laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which is a type of GERD where acid is concentrated in the upper part of the digestive tract and triggered when pepsin, an enzyme from the stomach reaches sensitive tissues. Symptoms of LPR include; throat clearing, a feeling that something is lodged in the throat, hoarseness and trouble swallowing. 85 of the subjects were treated with PPI’s and 99 subjects were prescribed a healthy diet like the F3 programme. After 6 weeks, the people that changed their diet reported declines in the standardised reflux scale more so that the PPI drug group.
This study shows that people can be treated for common aliments with a good healthy diet, although his should be performed under the guidance of health and medical professionals.