2

votes

GERD when approaching the 1 year mark on Paleo: an epidemic?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 21, 2013 at 7:49 PM

I have seen quite a few Paleohacks members mentioning they have developed GERD when approaching the 1 year mark on Paleo. It seems to be between 7 and 11 months usually. Since the same is now occurring to me (at 9~10 months), i am becoming increasingly intrigued about the mechanics of such an alarming phenomenon.

Of course, i do not have the thousands of testimonials i should have to prove this is truly a phenomenon, but at the same time, seeing multiple individuals report such a peculiar circumstance clearly puts it outside of the realm of mere coincidence.

My theory, based on my own experience, is that Paleo alone is not enough to heal a gut which is either damaged in a specific way or colonized by a specific type of microorganism (or multiple), which ultimately causes a flare-up in certain circumstances, which seem to typically occur after 7 to 11 months of Paleo. Fundamentally, according to my intuition the general cause would be going on a Paleo diet without a sturdy gut.

Since GERD is often quite difficult to cure and can be dangerous and destroy the sufferer's quality of life, i cannot advocate going on a paleo diet to anyone anymore at this point in time.

I also feel the typical recommendations of ingesting probiotics as a way to heal the gut are not sufficient. I have made and consumed my own kefir and sauerkraut for the majority of my Paleo experience, which clearly hasn't cured my gut.

My Paleo staples were: Meats: chicken or turkey (and their stock), eggs, liver, fresh sardines and anchovies, cheese Extra fats: coconut oil, butter, heavy cream(whipped), olive oil Vegetables: carrots, kale, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, beets, onions, occasionally tomatoes Fruits: apples, kiwi, pears, occasionally bananas

As i suspect my trigger for GERD was the heavy cream, i have cut all dairy other than butter from my diet, proceeded to do an enema and fasted for 5 full days, but the GERD is of course far from gone now that i am slowly breaking it with simmered fruit juices. I am waiting for my Betaine HCL supplement to be delivered before consuming protein once more.

I would like to know if anyone in a similar situation has healed their GERD permanently through any way other than antibiotic triple/quadruple therapy.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on February 24, 2013
at 08:04 AM

So, I got GERD symptoms just tonight, after eating a "gluten-free" pizza at a friend's place. The pizza was obviously contaminated (common flour kitchen), since I got urgency within 10 minutes (I recently learned that I'm a celiac). But with it, I also got the GERD symptoms. But that's the only setting that I got such symptoms: with my intolerance to a specific food. Which tells me, that guys with GERD on Paleo are possibly intolerant to some specific food that the immune system gets around to battle months later. If I had to take a WILD guess, based on quantity consumed: eggs.

633099ce2b1c5d6d927637170d8b8727

(20)

on February 23, 2013
at 05:39 AM

Bubbie's is flash pasteurized. Raw no more.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 22, 2013
at 05:34 PM

Yes instead of eating lots of junk which causes problems, you're trading one evil for another, more natural evil haha.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:45 PM

It took me about 3 weeks eating low FODMAPS to notice a difference. I felt worse at first. I got REALLY SICK of eating (no appetite). But it was definitely worth it. Remember there's no one right way to paleo (can I make that a verb?). Keep tweaking and you'll find your happy place.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:42 PM

That's the excellent answer i hoped to see when i wrote my question. Even though many others have mentioned FODMAPS, your case is a perfect example. Thank you for your wishes as well. I can now go back to being a paleo proponent, but keeping FODMAPS low will be my new focus. I also want to urge everyone to not share Paleo as a perfect diet without first considering others' health in detail. Someone with ah history of bloating will need to watch their FODMAPS, but there are many other complex circumstances that could arise as well, starting from the simple diet transitioning stress.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:30 PM

My suggestion is not nonsensical, given that you can actually try it and see if you feel less bad. I do not know if it is the acid, an immune response to the bacteria, or both, but it is worth a shot. What is somewhat nonsensical is the bulk of your text. Paleo is quite new, and I don't know anyone personally who has adopted it, despite my obvious success. Yet you have disciples? Meanwhile there's no reference to this phenomenon on Paleohacks. Do you get paid to disparage us, or is this all pro bono on your part?

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:28 PM

Indeed, however many paleo proponets, such as myself just a month ago fail to recognize paleo won't immediately cure all and any ailments, making some even worse instead, like in the case of people who develop GERD on paleo.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:26 PM

... and i developed GERD.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:26 PM

Well, just to take my case, i love offal and oysters, would cook broth habitually, make and consume my own fermented foods almost daily and have almost religiously a higher balance of vegetal matter over meat. 2 meals a day: one with meat, fats and vegetables, the second with vegetables, fruits and some fats.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:17 PM

Thank you for your suggestion. I have already been eating sauerkraut, however, albeit not every day, as it seems all that salt can actually be damaging, in an already salt-unrestricted diet.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:16 PM

It's exactly what i am saying: by going Paleo some may actually worsen their symptoms unknowingly. Paleo currently doesn't include a low FODMAPS diet and doesn't account for its main adopters: people with damaged healths. I have been avoiding eating nightshades consistently, but not FODMAPS, for instance.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:10 PM

Thank you for your advice. I'll shift my diet to a low FODMAP one as i'm healing. The list seems a little authoritarian at times, but it shouldn't hurt.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 02:58 PM

One of the problems of human communication is that the people who sound the most rational/agreeable are often simply the least inquisitive/most conservative ones. Those people also find it easier to be the most vocal, for obvious reasons. That said, i never said everyone who adopts a Paleo diet is bound to encounter such issues. It is however a consistent phenomenon in my eyes, from direct experiences, including friends and family whom i have advised to change their diet. Finally, the suggestion to avoid acid foods is nonsensical. Stomach acid is more acid than any food you would ingest.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 02:46 PM

It is not easy to find the exact questions, but i saved perhaps the most telling one: http://paleohacks.com/questions/113916/has-anyone-developed-gerd-heartburn-after-going-paleo-and-cured-it#axzz2LU0MRL7Q Also, this one is new and took me 3 minutes to find: http://paleohacks.com/questions/17327/stopping-acid-reflux#axzz2LU0MRL7Q If you know what to look for you'll find more. Google can do a better job than paleohacks' own search.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 22, 2013
at 04:24 AM

the mention of corn as an easily digestible starchy grain caught my attention. is that corn as 'sweet corn' (corn on the cob)? do you mash it up 1st (breaking the outer hull) or just chew well. i mention because i have seen that corn can be used as a home test for bowel transit time. if swallowed whole corn usually passes right through undigested.

92d67b02a709cad2250f10848f9178e6

(2422)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:47 AM

If you could just provide the links, that would be nice.

92d67b02a709cad2250f10848f9178e6

(2422)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:46 AM

Can you post the original posts based on which you formulated your theory?

6e37f170409bc1b100c880c57508c5fd

on February 22, 2013
at 12:26 AM

Just reading today that a study looked at celiac patients 9 yrs after they went gluten-free and the gut still wasn't entirely healed.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 21, 2013
at 11:48 PM

Or look for Bubbie's brand in the refrigerated section.

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11 Answers

best answer

2
5e4c221c4d7a2895d34d28e80d9a4380

on February 21, 2013
at 11:27 PM

Actually, I never had GERD until I ate paleo as well.

I didn't even know what it was until 4 months in to paleo when I experienced symptoms. When it started I usually woke up with the burning sensation/upset stomach...and I suddenly lost my tolerance for taking BCAAs. Anytime of the day it would make me puke up bile. Yummy.

With the GERD, my IBS problems returned and made me start doing some extra research. I realized it was the worst when consuming a lot of canned coconut milk, cruciferous vegetables, wine or fruit high in fructose. Aha, it was the FODMAPs. In the summer, when I started doing paleo, I drank a lot of wine and cherries but never had a problem. It seems seasonality has something to do with it as well as the amount I eat and how often...there isn't a single problem with a single solution.

I haven't had as bad of symptoms as of late. I eat a lot of bone broths, leafy greens, berries, grass-fed beef and pastured chicken. Brown-spotted bananas post-workout and some carbs at night if I need 'em- yams, potatoes or squash (sometimes white rice). I can eat carbs before bed but protein and fat seem to flare stomach aches/GERD in the morning if I eat them within 2 hours of sleeping. When things are bad I find taking -glutamine helps the most.

I really believe I'm much healthier and find it easier to make gains in the gym because of the paleo diet. My recovery from exercise has never been faster and my arthritis is hardly noticeable. GERD sucks, but it's getting better with changes in my diet. Hopefully soon I can get my digestion on track and make daily stomach problems a thing of the past.

Good luck on your getting rid of the GERD!

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:42 PM

That's the excellent answer i hoped to see when i wrote my question. Even though many others have mentioned FODMAPS, your case is a perfect example. Thank you for your wishes as well. I can now go back to being a paleo proponent, but keeping FODMAPS low will be my new focus. I also want to urge everyone to not share Paleo as a perfect diet without first considering others' health in detail. Someone with ah history of bloating will need to watch their FODMAPS, but there are many other complex circumstances that could arise as well, starting from the simple diet transitioning stress.

2
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on February 21, 2013
at 10:07 PM

I think the assumptions that you are making in this question are not true.
I searched this board for GERD. I didn't read them all, but I read enough. People reduced their symptoms with Paleo, which is consistent with what happened to me. There's one person who was not able to cure to his or her satisfaction, but it looks like the problem was severe for a while and the acid may have simply caused too much damage. If you are really having symptoms, you might try to avoid high acid/fermented foods for a while. I do remember getting sore throats when I was drinking homemade kombucha. I have been Paleo for four years and your suggestions are not consistent with my reality. Anyway, I also looked at what you have written on Paleohacks, and I am wondering whether or not you are a troll.

The enema and the 5 day fast made me suspicious.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 02:58 PM

One of the problems of human communication is that the people who sound the most rational/agreeable are often simply the least inquisitive/most conservative ones. Those people also find it easier to be the most vocal, for obvious reasons. That said, i never said everyone who adopts a Paleo diet is bound to encounter such issues. It is however a consistent phenomenon in my eyes, from direct experiences, including friends and family whom i have advised to change their diet. Finally, the suggestion to avoid acid foods is nonsensical. Stomach acid is more acid than any food you would ingest.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:30 PM

My suggestion is not nonsensical, given that you can actually try it and see if you feel less bad. I do not know if it is the acid, an immune response to the bacteria, or both, but it is worth a shot. What is somewhat nonsensical is the bulk of your text. Paleo is quite new, and I don't know anyone personally who has adopted it, despite my obvious success. Yet you have disciples? Meanwhile there's no reference to this phenomenon on Paleohacks. Do you get paid to disparage us, or is this all pro bono on your part?

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 21, 2013
at 07:58 PM

No, Paleo rather has treated my GERD.

Lactose or casein in butter could still be a trigger,

Try turning it into ghee instead.

What is the cause of your GERD? What are your other symptoms? Have you tried removing certain foods from your diet? FODMAPS and nightshades could easily be a trigger and you may have been unwittingly consuming more of these when you changed to a paleolithic diet.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:16 PM

It's exactly what i am saying: by going Paleo some may actually worsen their symptoms unknowingly. Paleo currently doesn't include a low FODMAPS diet and doesn't account for its main adopters: people with damaged healths. I have been avoiding eating nightshades consistently, but not FODMAPS, for instance.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 22, 2013
at 05:34 PM

Yes instead of eating lots of junk which causes problems, you're trading one evil for another, more natural evil haha.

1
4430c600b097f03d9936f0ae8b6b0201

on February 22, 2013
at 02:09 AM

Early on when I didn't know much about paleo I got a little bit of heart burn when I would eat just eggs and bacon for breakfast. Since then I have stopped eating bacon and I always eat vegetables or fruits with every meal and have not had any heart burn problems.

1
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on February 21, 2013
at 09:47 PM

To answer the question: I healed my GERD by going paleo.

You should do whatever you want, but a smart thing to do, paleo or not, would be to do some self-experimentation and identify the culprit. If it's cream for you, so be it. Some people would call cream paleo and some wouldn't, but everybody agrees that some people have a problem with it and some don't. There are all sorts of foods that are paleo that some people can't tolerate, and there are all sorts of foods that are not paleo that some people can tolerate.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:28 PM

Indeed, however many paleo proponets, such as myself just a month ago fail to recognize paleo won't immediately cure all and any ailments, making some even worse instead, like in the case of people who develop GERD on paleo.

1
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on February 21, 2013
at 08:52 PM

I suspect that the real problem is that these people who get GERD don't eat properly. For example, they don't eat enough fermented foods, they snob offal and oysters, they possibly never cooked a bone broth, and the biggest one: 2/3s in weight on a Paleo dish is supposed to be veggies, NOT meat/fish. And yet, all you see in most of these paleo recipe pictures is a HUGE beef steak, with a minuscule amount of veggies. Snobbing over fruits doesn't help either.

Personally, I'm on Paleo for 1.5+ years now, I haven't developed GERD.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:26 PM

... and i developed GERD.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:26 PM

Well, just to take my case, i love offal and oysters, would cook broth habitually, make and consume my own fermented foods almost daily and have almost religiously a higher balance of vegetal matter over meat. 2 meals a day: one with meat, fats and vegetables, the second with vegetables, fruits and some fats.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on February 24, 2013
at 08:04 AM

So, I got GERD symptoms just tonight, after eating a "gluten-free" pizza at a friend's place. The pizza was obviously contaminated (common flour kitchen), since I got urgency within 10 minutes (I recently learned that I'm a celiac). But with it, I also got the GERD symptoms. But that's the only setting that I got such symptoms: with my intolerance to a specific food. Which tells me, that guys with GERD on Paleo are possibly intolerant to some specific food that the immune system gets around to battle months later. If I had to take a WILD guess, based on quantity consumed: eggs.

1
633099ce2b1c5d6d927637170d8b8727

on February 21, 2013
at 08:04 PM

Sauerkraut. Has to be unpasteurized. Meaning you will need to make it yourself. Will cure it like magic.

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:17 PM

Thank you for your suggestion. I have already been eating sauerkraut, however, albeit not every day, as it seems all that salt can actually be damaging, in an already salt-unrestricted diet.

633099ce2b1c5d6d927637170d8b8727

(20)

on February 23, 2013
at 05:39 AM

Bubbie's is flash pasteurized. Raw no more.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 21, 2013
at 11:48 PM

Or look for Bubbie's brand in the refrigerated section.

0
Cfec3fb17e6d06f984ffedc2aae54920

(150)

on February 22, 2013
at 01:36 AM

Found the following list that may cause or aggravate gerd: • citrus fruits • chocolate • drinks with caffeine • fatty and fried foods • garlic and onions • mint flavorings • spicy foods • tomato-based foods, like spaghetti sauce, chili, and pizza

0
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on February 21, 2013
at 09:06 PM

As others have suggested, take a close look at your carbohydrate intake and see which foods might be triggering your GERD. I believe GERD is frequently caused by bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Reducing one's carb intake and being selective about it can be very helpful; it has worked for me (..and no, going Paleo did not cause my GERD). However if you don't mind taking HCL capsules you might be able to get by with eating more carbs and keep your GERD under control. Perhaps the more rapid and complete digestion of food in the stomach leaves less for the SIBO to ferment further down, at least when it comes to simple carbohydrates.

I personally prefer restricting my carbs (60-75 grams/day) and upping my protein intake a bit than turning to HCL capsules at every meal.

_Lazza

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on February 21, 2013
at 08:42 PM

I have a lot of digestive problems, and a 'balanced' Paleo-style diet including carbohydrates (even some easily digestible starchy grains now and then, like white rice and corn) is really the only thing that works to keep me 100%.

Very-low-carb paleo, while it helped other issues at the time and was much better than being a higher-carb vegetarian (!), did give me GERD-like symptoms within a few months, which is mostly why I stopped doing it.

I find all this talk of 'healing the gut' rather woo. Your digestive system doesn't take long (a few weeks) to heal almost completely even from something very severe and debilitating like active celiac disease. What evidence do we have that it takes months or years of eating a certain way to see improvements in digestive issues? If what you're eating is aggravating your system, you realize it in pretty short order; and should make changes, accordingly.

6e37f170409bc1b100c880c57508c5fd

on February 22, 2013
at 12:26 AM

Just reading today that a study looked at celiac patients 9 yrs after they went gluten-free and the gut still wasn't entirely healed.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 22, 2013
at 04:24 AM

the mention of corn as an easily digestible starchy grain caught my attention. is that corn as 'sweet corn' (corn on the cob)? do you mash it up 1st (breaking the outer hull) or just chew well. i mention because i have seen that corn can be used as a home test for bowel transit time. if swallowed whole corn usually passes right through undigested.

0
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 21, 2013
at 08:23 PM

Holy cow you are eating a lot of FODMAPS! It will absolutely cause those problems. The worst offenders for me are broccoli, cabbage, and onions. Check out this site for more information; she has extensive information on paleo and digestive health:

http://www.eat-real-food-paleodietitian.com/support-files/Paleo-FODMAP-food-list.pdf

Db83c2c5ea492d6716c28a0b561ee174

(161)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:10 PM

Thank you for your advice. I'll shift my diet to a low FODMAP one as i'm healing. The list seems a little authoritarian at times, but it shouldn't hurt.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:45 PM

It took me about 3 weeks eating low FODMAPS to notice a difference. I felt worse at first. I got REALLY SICK of eating (no appetite). But it was definitely worth it. Remember there's no one right way to paleo (can I make that a verb?). Keep tweaking and you'll find your happy place.

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