1

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Never had heartburn before! Are the Paleo gods mad at me?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 06, 2012 at 7:53 PM

I've been paleo for a year, but starting last week I get heartburn after pretty much every meal! It's really very painful. I never had it before in my life and actually didn't even know what it was when I first felt it and nearly panicked. Now I sympathize!

Potentially helpful facts: I have been Paleo for well over a year, crossfitting for about 3 months and have never had a problem until last week. I haven't added any new foods recently. I started supplementing with Mark Sisson's Fish Oil/Vitamin D/Gut Flora combo about 3 months ago. I was very sick recently (worst cold I've had since going Paleo) and coughing to the point of losing my voice and abdominal soreness.

-Could the Gut Flora be doing this? Perhaps bacteria built up over time in my lower intestine and that's why I didn't feel it until now? is that even possible?

-Could I have damaged my stomach opening somehow with the coughing?

-Could it be caused by cold meds? The heartburn came on a week after I stopped taking them.

I read some great posts on here about how to treat heartburn, so I'm going to try the apple cider vinegar thing, but I really want to know what's causing it. Paleo isn't supposed to give me health problems I didn't have before! Boo!

What could it be?

UPDATE: Thanks for all your thoughtful responses. I cut out all the supplements and, after a week or so, started feeling relief. I added vitamin D back in without a problem. Two days ago I tried adding the fish oil back in at bed time and about 30 mins later, the heartburn was back! I haven't tried with the probiotics, I have just given up on those. Anyway, I think I found my culprit. It's really terrible, because I don't like anything other than salmon and I get bored of that pretty fast. What to do for those lovely omega-3s...I'm sure PH has a solution for that. Off to search i go, thanks again!

UPDATE 2 (1-31-13): I have stopped all supplements and 9 months later the "heartburn" is worse than ever. Went to a GI and an allergist and no one seems to be able to figure out what it is. I get it at random times throughout the day without any correlation to what I'm eating. It does not cause me to cough, but I do sometimes feel mucus coming up into my throat. I'm not even sure at this point if it's heartburn at all. Anyway, just thought I'd update in case anyone was following this. Hope you find more relief than I have!

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 09, 2012
at 03:08 PM

Thanks April!!!

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on April 09, 2012
at 12:54 AM

Just wondering. I know several ladies who got heartburn almost as soon as they conceived!

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 08, 2012
at 11:25 PM

Haahaa, I hope not. Just thinking about that gives me heartburn.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 07, 2012
at 05:33 AM

I have access to the document and have just uploaded it for your viewing pleasure: http://www.scribd.com/doc/88341575/Fish-Oil-Reduces-Gastric-Acid-Secretion

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 11:00 PM

oh wow. Would aspirating stomach acid have an ongoing effect like this? You'd think I would have felt it immediately when it happened and then it would have subsided when the cough ended. Zero carb is not an option for me as good carbs help me manage depression and without them I get hopelessly down. I'll look into the authors you recommended. Thanks!

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 06, 2012
at 10:21 PM

yeah the use a barium x-ray

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 10:12 PM

Melissa, thanks for the link. Sadly, I have to have a subscription to get the medical literature. Maybe I can get it through a friend. Happy, thanks for the follow-up, that's very helpful.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 10:09 PM

Thanks Ender, i appreciate the advice and the concern. I'll check it out with my doc. I wonder if they can do an x-ray to see.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 06, 2012
at 09:43 PM

If it doesn't start to get better in a few weeks, you might've herniated something with the coughing, and would be wise to give your doc a call.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 06, 2012
at 09:40 PM

It usually takes a few weeks to a month of being being completely off corn syrup to right things for me, be extra vigilant in the meantime, condiments can sneak it in where you are least expecting it, like worchestershire sauce. For some reason once I've already aggravated it fruit causes problems too, but I'm fine other times. Fish oil, plus fruit can cause some weird burps for me, and if you've damaged the lining of your esophagus it'll burn more than usual. Sleeping propped up, and not bending over, can give it a chance to heal too.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 06, 2012
at 09:32 PM

Fish oil can also lower stomach acid, which can lead to bacterial overgrowth or just digestive issues. Betaine HCL could help, there isn't much evidence for it though, but I've used it with some success. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/003655299750025282

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Brilliant. I will try it and report back. Where can I learn more about prostaglandin synthesis and fish oil? Now I'm on the hunt. :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 06, 2012
at 08:46 PM

Fish oil can take a while to imbalance prostaglandin synthesis, which can damage the stomach. NyQuil is going to magnify that. Stop taking both for awhile, see if the heartburn goes away, and then maybe try to add it back in. Or just eat fish.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 08:37 PM

Happy, I DID take NyQuil! how long does it take for the heartburn to go away after you stop taking NyQuil?

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 08:30 PM

Thanks! Melissa, I know you had your own experience with heartburn, so thank you for taking time to comment here. Why would the fish oil/gut flora be affecting me now, over 3 months after I started taking them? Also, can I work them back in, or do I need to eliminate them forever? (I have a hard time getting omega-3s and I strength train, so the fish oil is my best friend).

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 06, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Stop taking all supplements. Fish oil in particular can mess with the stomach lining. Add back in D later since that's unlikely to be an issue.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on April 06, 2012
at 08:00 PM

Did you take NyQuil? I get hearburn for a while after using anything with corn syrup. The coughing could have certainly messed something up in the sphincter between your stomach and esophagus.

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5 Answers

2
0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on April 07, 2012
at 05:15 AM

I found that NSAIDS aggravate or even cause GERD. If you used any advil, aspirin, alleve, anything like that, you may have generated the acid.

A few tricks for making GERD calm down when it's super angry. Black licorice is a natural anti-acid, and you can take it in tablet form-I use a product called gastrocare, and if I chew a tab or two, the symptoms go away immediately. Drink a lot of water. Avoid fructose and FODMAPS foods in general.

Do not, repeat, do not go down the road of taking pepcid/prilosec. Stick with natural treatment, rather than monkeying with the balance of acid in your belly.

2
A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 06, 2012
at 09:59 PM

I am no doctor but that coughing fit could have cased a hiatal hernia which can really give you some bad heartburn. Just to be safe take it to your doc if you can. It may not be diet related at all, and a more serious problem.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 10:09 PM

Thanks Ender, i appreciate the advice and the concern. I'll check it out with my doc. I wonder if they can do an x-ray to see.

A905679417ee71c3f9e2d88964b3b1f0

(368)

on April 06, 2012
at 10:21 PM

yeah the use a barium x-ray

1
Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

on April 07, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Could you be pregnant?

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 08, 2012
at 11:25 PM

Haahaa, I hope not. Just thinking about that gives me heartburn.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on April 09, 2012
at 12:54 AM

Just wondering. I know several ladies who got heartburn almost as soon as they conceived!

0
F59d04be1acdc85dd1e6da34f43dc447

on January 31, 2013
at 08:47 PM

This happened to me too. I had never had heartburn before paleo, but then started getting serious chest pain. After some trial and error, cutting out olive oil did the trick for me.

Good luck!

0
649698ae0a7ac90af80c860b32ad0e7f

on April 06, 2012
at 10:21 PM

You could have aspirated stomach acid into your windpipe with your bad cough. Chris Kresser has a series on GERD. He recommends 2 books. Both are helpful. A meat and fat only diet helped me. ZERO carbs and HCL (Twin Labs) also worked. Jonathan Wright recommends pancreatic enzymes for more "mature" sufferers of acid reflux. They were a tremendous help. You can do this. Takes some time, though.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 06, 2012
at 11:00 PM

oh wow. Would aspirating stomach acid have an ongoing effect like this? You'd think I would have felt it immediately when it happened and then it would have subsided when the cough ended. Zero carb is not an option for me as good carbs help me manage depression and without them I get hopelessly down. I'll look into the authors you recommended. Thanks!

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