Episode 56 – Heartburn, GERD, & Omeprazole – Are OTCs Safe, Part 3?

Over The Counter Medications | Dr. Beth Bagley


We’re back again with another episode covering Over-The-Counter (OTC) medications that might be more trouble than they’re worth. This week, we’re covering the tongue-twister that Dr. Schurger cannot pronounce, Omeprazole, the side effects, and real health concerns with taking this for extended times, as well as eating strategies that will help manage your heartburn or GERD without the use of drugs.

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Heartburn, GERD, & Omeprazole

Good evening, Dr. Bagley. How are you?

Good evening. I’m doing well.

Yeah, I am in the same boat. I had that new procedure that I’m doing.

It takes longer.

I had two back-to-back while I was checking people out. I had a new patient. His wife was the patient. I had to get X-rays on both of them.

It’s a good time. There was more time, and we ran out of waiting room chairs.

That means you need more chairs.

We could always pull more chairs in. It means that I need to be faster. I have noticed a lot of my patients. They list out the drugs they’re on, which a lot of people are interested in. Why do chiropractors care what drugs you are? There are interactions and things we don’t put people on or take them off drugs. None of the information that we’re going to be talking about is to tell you to stop taking something that medical doctors put you on. Everyone needs to be informed about the things that they’re on.

One of the things that we’ve noticed is a lot of people have heartburn. A lot of people have been put on this drug called Prilosec or Omeprazole. It’s the same thing. It’s the generic word. We’re going to keep calling it omeprazole through the show, but know it’s the same thing as Prilosec. It is an over-the-counter medication. That is interesting to me because it is not that safe. You start doing the research on it.

A lot of these medications that we’re talking about are not because we’re not taking you off of them. It’s because sometimes people come in with symptoms that may be directly related to taking these medications. Statins were the example from the last episode. You have all of these side effects that are possible with it. They’re aches and pains, what we would consider musculoskeletal. The medical doctors might miss it because you’re not there for aches and pains. You’re there for something else. You forget about it, and you say, “Doc, I have this.”

Speaking of forgetting about things, I had a patient come in. He said, “I’ve got a question on my testosterone. Here’s my number. Is this low?” For some people, it’s going to be low. For some people, it’s not. Unfortunately, I was running around doing some other stuff. I didn’t have a chance to address it. I had to give them a call later to say, “No, it’s for you. It’s not low. You are probably utilizing it.” He’s a lean, healthy young man versus somebody who might be 15 or 30 pounds overweight and saying, “Doc, do I have a problem here?” I was like, “We need to figure out how to get rid of the extra weight because certain medications have side effects.” Let’s talk about omeprazole.


Let me have to practice saying it’s also causing some serious things in people. Thank you to Celeste, who is a student at Logan and also works part-time in my office, who helped me put this research together. Thanks to Celeste. People have heard of GERD. Some people don’t. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is heartburn, but it’s gone crazy. In heartburn, everybody has eaten pizza and laid down. It’s not the right thing to do. Don’t lie down, and eat pizza.

As soon as I saw that, my initial thought was, “You know what would be good right now? Pepperoni. I don’t eat pepperoni, but I wanted pepperoni when I saw that word.” There is something about that word. As soon as I saw it, I said I wanted pepperoni. Now you bring up pizza.

For some people, red sauce will cause crazy reflux. People know their triggers. For me, if I eat sugar for more than three days in a row, I’m going to start getting heartburn. The minute I go back on a keto or a carnivore, it goes away within 24 hours. I don’t have the problem anymore. Everybody’s got their thing. It might be cheese.

For some people, we have this reflux. Much of it is correctable if you change your diet. We won’t go into that yet. It’s when stomach acid repeatedly. It keeps coming back up and into your esophagus. That can lead to some serious things like esophageal cancer and permanent damage. In no way should someone have reflux all the time. That is bad for you.

Maybe the answer isn’t a pill every day. We’re going to talk about that. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor that is used to manage or treat heartburn or ulcers. It could be ulcers, GERD, or H pylori. They try to treat it with that. We can talk about H pylori. It is a bacteria that causes ulcers in people. It’s a bacterial infection of the lining of the stomach. It is something that is also treatable, along with interesting things that aren’t antibiotics and omeprazole. In my opinion, omeprazole would make it worse. Let’s move on.

The mechanism of action inhibits the parietal cells. These are what make the acid in the stomach. It inhibits at the final step of stomach acid production. TUMS is a base like you’re putting sodium bicarb in your body. It’s taking away some of the acid in your stomach. Your stomach is still producing acid. This stops your stomach from producing acid. Maybe not 100%, but it does somewhat. You’ll start having inhibitory effects of it within one hour of taking it, which is interesting. It lasts for about 72 hours. It takes about 3 to 5 days for you to return to baseline.

If you took one Prilosec or one omeprazole, it would take five days for you to come back to normal. If you’ve taken it for a long period of time, the effects become more permanent, and it takes longer for your body to get off of it. One of the things a lot of medical doctors will tell people is don’t stop taking it. If you’ve been taking it for a long period of time, it’s not one that you can stop. It’s one that you have to step down off of.

What’s going on with that? That doesn’t make sense.

When people stop taking it, suddenly they will have such horrible pain of reflux that a lot of them will go to the hospital thinking they have a heart attack. You can’t stop taking it. You’re going to have to step down. The slow taper is over the course of two to four weeks. The higher the dose that you’ve been on and the longer you’ve been on it, the slower and the longer the taper should be. You can Google that, or please talk to your medical doctor about how to wean if you are deciding to wean off of that. We’re not telling you to do any of that stuff. For side effects, should I start with the scary ones first or the less scary ones?

Let’s start with what most people are going to have commonly first that they might not realize is the problem.

Headaches can be one. We see a lot of headaches in our office. That’s one of the things when I see this one pop up on the medication list and I see someone with headaches, I have to go, “Is it a neck misalignment, or is this that you’re taking this drug every day?” With constipation, a lot of people have that. They don’t like to talk about it. Diarrhea can happen, too. You can go either way.

I’ve heard some people say that constipation and diarrhea are two sides of the same coin. You still have stuff flushing out fast, but you still are impacted in one shape or form or another.

Let’s go through the mechanism. Let’s say I eat a burger, which has protein. Let’s say I’m a straight burger, not anything. I’m eating meat, and I swallow it. I’ve been taking Prilosec and omeprazole. My stomach doesn’t have acid in it or has low acid. It’s not bubbling up, but what’s it doing to the protein? Where does protein get its first set broken down first?

It’s mostly in the stomach.

In the stomach by stomach acid. The acid breaks the long proteins apart into amino acids so that we can absorb the amino acids. Our intestines can’t absorb giant proteins. They are little pieces.

Most people don’t appreciate this. They see guts on TV. If you’ve ever butchered an animal, you see this casing that looks like the small intestine. Most people don’t appreciate that the inside of that small intestine is one cell thick enough to absorb stuff properly. Things have to be small. If things are big, and this is getting into the leaky gut syndrome that a lot of people have, what that means is there are bigger gaps, and larger things get in. Larger things become an autoimmune issue because the body doesn’t recognize it as either something friendly or self. It starts attacking those proteins, which might turn into attacking your own proteins.

We can even go into autoimmune stuff, but that’s another topic. Proteins are supposed to be first broken down in the stomach by the acid. You don’t have the acid. Your body pushes through undigested protein into your intestines. For undigested protein, we got nothing there.

It’s got no place to go.

That’s where I think the constipation of the diarrhea comes in.

Those villi, the little fingers that are all over, help with the absorption, and increasing the surface area leads to the possibility that they start getting impacted by stuff bigger than what is supposed to be. They don’t let it pass through, but they aren’t able to absorb it. You have a double problem going on there.

What’s in vitamin B12? Do you remember how vitamin B12 is in the stomach? Is it the parietal cell?

That’s been a long time. Most of my brain thinks when I hear vitamin B12, I think, “That’s what your body can make it in the large intestine given the right mix of stuff, even vegans because most of B12 comes from food for most people who are eating some animal products.” You can make it, but it takes a long time. I do not remember this first part.

I figured it out. In the stomach, the acid of your stomach and enzymes unbind the B12 into its free form. Their B12 combines with a protein called intrinsic factor that’s being made in the stomach. It can be absorbed in the ileum into the small intestines. If you’re low on B12 or you’re not getting enough B12, it could be because you don’t have the stomach acid to digest it or to create it. You could do a couple of things with a B12 deficiency there. You could take sublingually or get B12 shots. B12 deficiency, which is a side effect of this, can cause pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, dizziness, confusion, and concentration problems. That’s a big deal.

The Side Effects Of Omeprazole

Common side effects are common things that come into our office. I had one new patient. She said the worst thing she’s got going for her right now is her migraines that would last a day. She can’t even take a nap to get better, but she gets to sleep. As we were going through her findings report, she mentioned, “Will this help with brain fog?” I’m like, “Yes.” We see that commonly. I reminded her that she also has four young children under the age of six. Unfortunately, that’s part of having a family. I don’t think it’s both sides of the coin.

Having little is hard. We’ve gone over headaches and stomach problems like diarrhea. We can have pain, nausea, vomiting, and gas, which makes sense because if your body is not digesting things correctly in the stomach, there’s going to be bacteria that are going to cause some weird stuff in bloating in the stomach or the intestine.

Those were the less scary things that could happen. It’s still scary, but those are less scary things. This drug, if you read about it, should be taken for a short amount of time. We’re talking two weeks. People and medical doctors, there are good ones out there. One of my staff had a gastroenterologist say, “How long have you been taking that? That’s not something you should be taking long-term. We have to get you off of that.” He taught her how to wean.

There are people who’ve done the research on this, but there are some people who take it because it’s on the shelf now. You can grab it. I saw it at ALDI. You can get omeprazole at ALDI. You can get this anywhere. People think, “It’s as safe as TUMS or Tylenol.” We’ve already talked about that. That’s not that safe, either. It’s not like that.

We’re going to get into the scary stuff that can happen when you do take it long-term. The first one we’re going to talk about is the prolonged use of omeprazole, which can cause an increased risk of quite a bit of diabetes. That’s type 2. This is from an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinal Metabolic. It’s from 2022.

Regular and prolonged use of PPIs, which are proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, is associated with a higher risk of diabetes. Physicians should, therefore, avoid unnecessary prescriptions of this class of drugs, particularly for long-term use. The thing is, people aren’t seeing that. If you’re getting it prescribed to you and it’s a two-week course of something, I’m not worried about it. If you’re grabbing it off the shelf once a month and you’re taking your 30-day supply of it, that’s scary because now you have an increased risk of diabetes.

The other scary one, and I’ll go into some of the other ones. Heart attack, stroke, liver disease, increased risk of fractures, and C diff infection, that’s that bug that is in the gut. When it takes over, it can kill people. It causes the worst diarrhea, and it’s contagious. Hypo magnesium, less low magnesium, can cause muscle pain, cramps, unusual weakness, fatigue, heartbeat problems, tremors, anemia, unusual bleeding or bruising, and hypocalcemia. The last two scary ones I’ll go over are dementia. Two recent studies, elevated risk of dementia and omeprazole. Why? I don’t think they’ve done the why in older adults. We’re talking about older people. It’s not like twenty-year-olds are going to get it. How will we know until they’re 70, 80, or 90 years old?

You mentioned brain fog. At what point in time does brain fog turn into dementia? We call brain fog a symptom. There’s nothing other than what the patient’s experiencing to define that. I have not seen anything about what brain fog would chemically be in the brain. Is it your things aren’t firing and things aren’t wiring together? Is it a pre-dementia type issue that, given enough time, could be a bigger problem?

Here are the numbers. The risk showed up after people used the drug for more than four years. We are seeing lots of people who’ve been on it for longer than that. People who use the PPI, the proton inhibitors for that duration or longer, had a 33% greater risk of developing dementia. They did include Alzheimer’s. It’s Alzheimer’s, progressive brain changes. It’s like they were covering all the ones that had that. That’s Nexium Prevacid, Prilosec. All of those are the PPIs. Omeprazole is the Prilosec. That’s scary. The last one is gastric cancer. It can cause stomach cancer, which is also scary.

When we look at that in general, this is something I don’t think should be on the store shelf. I can’t believe it’s on the store shelf that people take it whenever. A lot of people wouldn’t even tell you they’re on it because it’s over the counter. When you ask about medications, you were asking about what I’ve been prescribed.

I hope anyone reading this at least does the research on it. Open up Google and type in omeprazole and diabetes, omeprazole and dementia, omeprazole and liver disease. Once you start doing that, you’re going to realize that you need to be talking to your medical doctor about how to get off of that. Don’t stop taking it. The rebound hyperacidity is what they’ve termed after. If you stop taking it immediately as you stop and you don’t taper, it rebounds with extra, and you feel worse, which makes you take it again. It’s a drug like heroin. I know it’s not like heroin.

It’s a little bit like heroin because the worst part is it is causing the symptoms. It’s taking the symptom that you had problems with worse because you can’t function with it.

Most of the people get on something like fentanyl or heroin because they have pain of some sort. It makes the pain go away. If you stop taking it, the pain is worse than when you even started in the beginning. I see what you’re saying.

It’s not, but it is.

Addressing Acid Reflux

How does chiropractic fit into that? We talk a lot about a chiropractic lifestyle. A chiropractic lifestyle is a lifestyle where you’re looking at the cause rather than the symptom. You want to know why. Why do people get acid reflux? I can at least speak to myself when I am not eating properly. It’s when I have Christmas time or a birthday, and I eat a couple of extra days. It shouldn’t be one meal that throws you off.

If you’re eating the standard American diet every single day, and everyone knows what the sad diet is, which is the burgers, the fries, the milkshake, and the sugar, you will have heartburn every single night. That is no way to live it. The truth of it is it still baffles me how quickly my body will get better after not eating that garbage.

You were telling me when I came down to visit that, for Easter, you had all the junk. Within about a day and a half, it was all gone.

It can be two days max. We’re addicted to sugar. I’m a sugar junkie. I will admit it. Once I eat a little bit of it, I keep going after it. You think you can’t eat it. Your brain is like, “I could never not eat sugar. I could never fast for 18 hours or 3 days.” A lot of times, when people say, “You’ve done a fast before.” I was like, “Yeah, I’ve done a three-day fast multiple times.” They’re like, “How did you do that?” I was like, “You don’t eat for a few days.”

This goes back to what I found for people who had had problems with fasting. It’s hard to do straight water. Three equal parts are your sea salt, your baking soda, and your potassium chloride. Maybe throw some magnesium in there for good measure. Make sure you’re taking it as a supplement. You drink that.

If you sip on this all day long with that mix, you’re not going to be too worried about food. It is not difficult to do it. You need to know what the things that will help you do that are and get there. It takes some work and dedication. Anyone can skip 24 hours of meals. Eat dinner after you read this. Don’t eat a meal again until dinner the following day. You will not die.

The first time I did a fast, there was a fear. I don’t know what it was from, but there was an actual fear. I was like, “I don’t know how I can do this. I don’t know if my body can heal.” People will think you’re crazy for doing a fast like that. First of all, what my brain realizes, and it might be different than you, is how much I think about food. I do think about food a lot.

I don’t think about food at all except when I want beef and steak, but I don’t think about it.

I’m thinking about it right now, talking about food. I think, “What’s for dinner? I’m excited for dinner.”

I’ve already planned my dinner three times in my head. I’m like, “No, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do my bacon and eggs.” I could have chicken wings.

I’m having chicken wings on Saturday.

Have I planned what I’m going to eat? I’m going to Dallas. Have I planned what I’m having for dinner and lunch? Am I getting a rental car to go to In-N-Out and not spend extra, and will my In-N-Out meal not be $60?

We’re talking about the standard American diet. You’re going right for that. He’s doing that one time, not every day. That’s why it’s not all or nothing. You can do fast, but in general, find out what your triggers are and what causes you to not feel good and stop it. The person reading this starts looking at that as poison. What is triggering you is a poison to your body, or you’re allergic to it. Neither of those is true. We know that those aren’t true.

Over The Counter Medications | Dr. Beth Bagley

Did you hear about Lunchables? They have consumer reports that have said, “Lunchables have lead and cadmium in them.” These are ingredients in your batteries.

We’re feeding our children that crap. Why are our kids the sickest kids that they’ve ever been? There are many kids with chronic diseases.

They are being given these proton pump inhibitors because they are having heart problems.

I believe they put the babies on this.

I remember hearing that not too long ago, but I heard another discussion. How do you clean stuff up? It wasn’t Jordan Peterson’s podcast, but he was the guest for another medical doctor. An American psychologist said, “You can’t cure schizophrenia with a diet.” He takes another step back and says, “Maybe you can because going carnivore, as extreme as that sounds for some people, heck, going vegan.” As extreme as it sounds to people. Either way, it’s an elimination diet that you’ve eliminated the vast majority of stuff.

The reason I like carnivore is it’s a lot easier to stick to it without having processed foods. Your food is basic. It is meat, some salt, and spices, whereas a lot of the vegan and keto foods. It is easy to say, “I’m going keto. I’m going to have all the junk processed stuff with all the extra ingredients. This can still be a problem if that’s the route you’re going because if it has more than about five ingredients, it’s trash. It’s because that’s what keeps the shelf stable.

Over The Counter Medications | Dr. Beth Bagley

What did I see? Polysorbate. I read the rest of what they were talking about and how toxic it is. It was one of those Instagram posts that I saw. For a moment, I’m like, “That’s lovely.” Eating real food, where am I going for my fast food tomorrow? I’m going to In-N-Out Burger. When they run out of fresh food, they close the store. I go to a barbecue spot. Oftentimes, it’s when they’ve run out of brisket. Not Terry Black’s. There’s another one down in Austin. There’s a line around the block. When they’re out of food, they close. They’re done at about 2:00 in the afternoon at the latest. They open at 11:00, and they close at 2:00.

Those are the kinds of restaurants you want to visit, where the food doesn’t have a shelf life. In-N-Out only has a freezer for their ice cream, and that’s about it. Make your choices as healthy as you can, but if you don’t recognize an ingredient in something, it’s probably not good for you. It’s a preservative that you don’t need in your body.

Make your choices as healthy as you can, but if you don’t recognize an ingredient in something, it’s probably not good for you. It’s a preservative that you don’t need in your body.

Let’s say someone is having acid reflux, and they’re like, “What can I do?” There are some supplements that can be helpful with that. Some doctors will say taking some apple cider vinegar can help. That’s silly because you’re like, “I have too much acid. That’s why I have this. Let me take apple cider vinegar. That adds acid.” Here’s where we get into this weirdness. A lot of people have acid reflux because they don’t make enough acid in their stomachs. You eat something that doesn’t digest well, and it bubbles up. It’s gross. Adding acid helps you digest the food better.

About 200 or 300 years ago, a common practice was digestive drinks. It would’ve been cocktail hour back in the day. What they would do is make up these herbal concoctions that would help you get your digestion running better. When you sat down to eat, your stomach acid was at full force, ready to break down that protein.

For a lot of people, this ends up being the problem. It’s not that they don’t have enough acid in their stomach. It’s when they have enough acid. Oftentimes, you’ll have that meal. About an hour later, you have all that acid reflux coming up. The problem was that your body said, “I need to make acid and a lot of it right now.” Everything is moved through, and you get the acid. It shows up late to the party. Having that little bit of apple cider vinegar is going to be a great way to start that, especially if you’re finding that your pattern of acid reflux happens an hour to two hours afterward. Switch it up. Try to trigger that earlier so you can digest that food.

One of the things that Erin, who runs my front desk, does is she drinks aloe for the meal. She said it tastes bad, but she finds that it helps her digestion in aloe juice. I’ve never tried it. I don’t know other than I’ve heard from her that it helps.

Aloe is fantastic for many things. My grandfather had an aloe plant. I don’t know what happened to it. I think somebody forgot to bring it in one winter, and it ended up killing it off. I’m sad that we don’t have that anymore because he had cultivated that thing from a shoot. There are a lot of healing benefits of aloe all the way through.

Papaya enzyme is something I used when I was pregnant with the twins. I had terrible acid reflux when I was pregnant. One of the reasons a lot of pregnant women will get acid reflux is because a baby is sitting right below your stomach, and there’s no space. A lot of pregnant women that I see will ask, “How do I get the acid reflux to go away?” I said, “You have to have the baby.”

It depends upon your body type and how big a baby you have, and you had two.

My acid reflux was crazy during that time. I was not in good habits. If I had been eating keto or carnivore at that time, I would’ve been better off. At that point, I was not in that mindset. The papaya enzyme was helpful. It’s like a little tablet you chew up. It is tasty. It’s a yummy one. There’s a slippery elm, which is a powder. There are tablets that are also good for your voice if you’re a singer.

There is DGL, Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice. I’ve never tried it, but it’s something that is a digestive. It’s something you would take before your meal. Some of the other things that I have found helpful are bile salts and bile acids. There are some digestive enzymes that help with digestion in general. That doesn’t necessarily help the stomach.

If you’re having a fattier meal, that will help with that. That’s why I do like bile salts in general. They do pair them with some other stuff. If you have had your gallbladder removed, you will not be able to make bile fast enough in the livers. A bile acid supplement or bile salt is important. You can emulsify those fats and utilize the healthy fat that your body needs. Are there any others on that list?

That’s about all I’ve got in there, tips for someone who is going through acid reflux.

I’ve got two others before we get to on supplements. There are a few different supplements that I like from the standard process. One is called Zypan. Do not chew this. Papaya enzyme might taste awesome. With Zypan, no. Unless you don’t like the person and then you tell them to chew it. Zypan is a quick-acting. If you’re in a situation where you have that acid reflux an hour to two hours afterward, Zypan helps with that. It’s a proton. It’s a hydrogen donor.

It also increases your acid.

Your acid is HCL hydrochloric acid.

I’ve heard that Zypan helps if you’re eating a whole bunch of steak. You might take that, and it’ll help you digest the protein in it.

It’s got a couple of other things in there that help with that. The other one I’ve got is from MediHerb, which is the herbal line from the standard process, and it’s called Digest. I’m going to go off through some of the ingredients in here because these are things that you might make out of tea if you can’t get this directly. The first one is dandelion root.

It’s good for your liver.

It’s got tangerine fruit peel. Milk thistle is the next one, which is also good for the liver. It’s a good liver detox. It’s got ginger rhizome and gentian root. It’s got some tangerine and chamomile. If you’re having a problem, you can find these herbs as a tea at a lot of stores.

I’ve seen those digestive teas.

That’s another idea as far as supplements that you can try out if you are having this problem, especially if you’re trying to wean yourself off of the medication, adding in something like Zypan. I carry Zypan and Cholacol, which is their bile acid. I might have a mess of powder because I haven’t opened them in a while, but I still have them in case. You said some other dietary changes.

Habit Changes

These are habit changes. I want to know how you feel about this. Before we go to bed, how much energy do we need? This is not a lot. In the standard American diet, dinner is the biggest meal of the day, but it doesn’t make sense.

You have two problems. Not only is it our evening meal being the biggest meal of the day, but it is getting later. It used to be you’d have that evening meal at 5:30 at the latest. I’m looking at the clock right now. It’s 7:20.

That’d mean neither of us has eaten dinner.

It’ll be eight o’clock by the time I sit down and eat my eggs and bacon. Half the reason I choose an eggs and bacon meal is because it’s light and easy on my gut. When I have it, I’m not overwhelmed. Yesterday, I had six eggs. Now, I’m only going to do four because I haven’t pushed myself to need that extra protein. I had about a pound of beef and a couple of chicken wings at lunch. I focused on making sure I had more protein earlier. You’re getting right to the point that we need to focus on a bigger meal earlier in the day.

Lunch should be bigger.

Whatever your first meal is should be your big meal.

Whatever your first meal is should be your big meal.

Even if you haven’t eaten until lunch, which is what you and I do, we don’t eat breakfast.

It’s break fast. When you realize that, in that first meal, you should load up on protein and all the stuff you need for your energy. If you’re eating a big meal and you sit down, lean back in your recliner for a couple of hours, and go right to bed, you can digest all that food, but that’s a lot of work your body is got to do when it wanted to do other cellular healing.

It’s 8:00 at night, and neither of us needs a big meal. We’re both going to eat. I’m not saying we shouldn’t eat. I’m saying we don’t need the biggest meal of the day to be at 8:00 at night. People should stop eating after that meal. If it’s 5:00 or 6:00, there’s no reason to have another snack at 8:00. Is it delicious to have some ice cream at 8:00 at night? Yes, that sounds wonderful.

There is nothing going to help your body at eating at 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00 at night. Nothing has to go in your mouth because all that is doing is increasing your likelihood of having GERD or acid reflux. We don’t need the energy to sleep. We need the energy during the daytime. When we break the fast, that’s when you eat your big meal.

Let’s talk about two things on that. As we’ve talked about in the past, I wear this Oura ring that tracks my activity and sleep. One of the things that I look to is something called heart rate variability, which is my autonomic operating system. It’s telling me how well my nervous system is working as it communicates. They can measure how my heart is beating when I have a bigger meal late.

I had about a pound of hamburger at lunch and a couple of chicken wings. For dinner, I had six eggs and bacon and half a keto break throughout the day. I woke up this morning. I felt like I got a good night’s sleep, but my heart rate variability was on the low side for me. Not quite in the tank, but not in a great spot. What’s funny is I feel good. I started talking to my patients like when we started. At one point in time, I told somebody, “We’re going to see it on February 2nd.” She’s like, “Doc. Do you mean May?” I’m like, “Yes, I do.”

I don’t know why February came up other than I looked at May 2nd. Apparently, I’m having some weird dyslexia. I looked at the two and said, “Second month. That must be the word I want to come out with.” I am not working at my optimal level when, every day, every time, I’ll skip dinner, go to sleep, and wake up the next morning. I’ll see that number go up every time.

If I skip dinner or do that 24-hour that I mentioned earlier where I eat dinner and then don’t eat again until the following evening for dinner, I will see that number go up that night because I’ve got a meal in that my body needs and was able to utilize immediately opposed to two meals broken up. This is one of those things. What does your body need? We were talking about fasting. We are designed for feast and famine. We live in a society where we can feast every night.

You hear, “Eat lots of small meals.” That’s the worst advice you could give someone.

The science is showing that it’s garbage. It’s spiking your blood sugar, if nothing else, which means your insulin is still high. All these people with high A1Cs are trying to get it down so they don’t have to be put on diabetic medications. I’ll eat six a day. I’m going to eat a lot of these heart-healthy carbs and all of the stuff out there that we can eat.

The advice I can give someone is to try intermittent fasting. Do not eat your biggest meal before going to bed. Have dinner, but don’t make it the big meal. Focus on protein as your source of fuel. Proteins and fats are going to be a way better source of fuel than carbs.

Always prioritize eating your proteins first. If you’re going to eat your meat, veg, and salad, your salad should be the last thing you eat. Everybody eats that salad first, which takes up space. Your body doesn’t use that stomach acid to break down. You’re using up that stomach acid to break down vegetable matter.

Always prioritize eating your proteins first.

That doesn’t need to happen there.

The first thing you should do is do the protein so that your body can utilize the stomach acid that is present. If you’re going to eat salad, eat that last, or be like me and say, “The cow ate my salad.” Somebody decided to make a salad. They fried up a pound of bacon, diced up, and chopped. They poured that into a bowl and proceeded to eat that bowl of bacon. They said it was the best salad they ever had.

It’s in a bowl. It’s a salad bowl of bacon. Another thing is alcohol can make the thing called a sphincter, which is what closes our stomach. It can make that loose. Alcohol can increase your likelihood of GERD. Decreasing your alcohol or eliminating it, especially at nighttime, is a good idea. Smoking cigarettes can increase GERD. It also reduces the body’s ability to neutralize stuff. The sphincter can get weird with smoking.

Smoking, in general, we all know, is not that great for you. Don’t do that. If you are having a rough time with it, and you’ve done everything right, you can sleep a little bit propped up. I wouldn’t recommend that for the long term, but to get through a bad night, it can help you not have that reflux at that moment so that you can get some sleep. If you’re having to do that every night, we need to look at the why not so much. The answer isn’t sleeping propped up every day. That’s all I got on Omeprazole. It’s headaches, constipation, gastric cancer, dementia, fractures, stroke, and heart attack. It’s fabulous. It’s a good time.

It’s a good reason to change the diet a little bit. Find better foods. On Sunday night, eat your dinner. On Monday morning, don’t eat again till that evening, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

Give your system a break. It needs a little break. Humans did not evolve into where we are now by eating three square meals a day. That is not how it worked.

It never existed in reality prior to the turn of the 20th century.

Look at us. We are fatter and thicker than we ever have. Three squares are not working.

Six small is not better, either.

Where can they find you, Dr. Schurger?

I am at Keystone Chiropractic in Springfield, Illinois. KeystoneChiroSPI.com and some version of that on all the socials.

You can find me on most of the socials. On TikTok, I’m @DrBethBagley, but you can find me in St. Louis. I am on the West Side of St. Louis at PrecisionChiropraticSTL.com. That’s Precision Chiropractic.

We’ll be back in another episode. We’ve had some hiccups in our schedule. If we miss a week, make sure you’ve got auto-notifications on. Like and subscribe. Send a five-star review. Send a one-star review.

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Have a good one. We will talk to you in the next episode.


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