Book Review: Your Stomach

Author: Jonathan V. Wright
Publisher: Praktikos Books Book
Publication: 2009

It has been estimated that almost half of all Americans experience heartburn and / or acid regurgitations at least once a week. The medical term for this is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – a disorder affecting the valve between the esophagus and the stomach that pushes the stomach’s contents back into the esophagus. Symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, dental diseases and asthma. It has also been linked to esophogeal cancer.

According to pharmaceutical medicine (and the media), antacids are the best way to treat acid-related stomach problems. But Dr. Jonathan Wright, touted as one of the major pioneers of natural medicine in the U.S., questions the antacid solution, suggesting that it is a medical mistake – one that has affected millions of people. In Your Stomach: What is Really Making You Miserable and What to Do About It, Wright puts forward the theory that acid reflux and related stomach disorders are not actually due to too much stomach acid, but not enough. Through clinical observation and research, Wright has concluded that the promoters of antacids have ignored the fact that the stomach is designed to hold acid – “we need acid to break down and digest our food or to convert food from one form to another. For example iron in food is converted from a non-absorbable to an absorbable form. This is vital because we need iron to live.”

Through a series of questions asked and answered, Wright tackles the problem of stomach acid and how it has been misdiagnosed. He details what really causes things such as heartburn, medical conditions associated with low stomach acid, and the possible side effects of antacids. He also offers some safe, alternative approaches to stomach problems including folk remedies such as apple cider vinegar, as well as supplementation with hydrochloric acid and melatonin.

Wright concludes that the real challenge for the majority of people with acid reflux problems is to keep the acid in the stomach where it belongs. And while drug companies continue to make billions of dollars from the sale of antacids, “a search of major medical databases containing over 16,000 scientific research articles on stomach ailments reveals no evidence whatsoever that stomach acid is the source of the problem.”

Nature intended for our stomachs to have acid, so neutralizing or reducing it would seem, as Wright suggests, an ironic medical mistake.

Your Stomach is well worth its extremely short read (the book narrative runs about 40 pages with the remaining 100 pages devoted to notes and bibliography). It provides some real insight into stomach problems, while offering viable, non-drug solutions to their resultant miseries. The next time you feel the need to pop a Rolaids or Tums, it might make sense to rethink the whole antacid solution, and heed Wright’s advice – your stomach will likely thank you for it.

S

Susannah Kent is a Toronto area Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instructor.

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