Gastro Problems & D-limonene
Orange Peel Extract May Have Other Health Benefits
D-limonene’s ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells has been studied since 1997. In the laboratory, it has been found capable of stopping the growth of liver, colon, pancreatic, and stomach cancers.15-19 Ongoing research is attempting to determine whether d-limonene can indeed become a significant tool in the fight against cancer.
Wilkins believes that in addition to its promise in fighting cancer, d-limonene may prove to be an important antimicrobial agent that could kill an array of dangerous bacteria and viruses. Studies are under way, he says, to determine whether its ability to coat and protect the linings of the gastro-intestinal tract may also make d-limonene effective in treating Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal disorders.13
Lifestyle Strategies for Preventing Heartburn
A number of dietary and lifestyle factors have been shown to exacerbate the symptoms of GERD. People who suffer from this condition—including those taking prescription medications—are encouraged to avoid:
Maintaining a healthy body weight may be another strategy for averting GERD. Health professionals have understood for years that overweight people experience heartburn pain and GERD far more often than those of a healthy weight because abdominal fat increases pressure on the stomach, encouraging stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus.20 In fact, a study of more than 10,000 American women published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms a close correlation between increases in body weight and exacerbation of GERD symptoms.21
Chronic GERD sufferers should elevate the head of their bed with two or more phone books to keep damaging gastric juices out of the esophagus at night.
Caution with Pregnancy, Ulcers
D-limonene should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, or by people who have or suspect that they have ulcers. Individuals who do not have these health concerns are advised to use products containing d-limonene according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
About the Inventor
Joe Wilkins suffered such severe GERD symptoms that he consumed two packages of Tums® a day for many years. After two weeks of taking 1000 mg of d-limonene each day, his chronic pain vanished. In over a decade, he has never experienced heartburn symptoms again. Joe currently maintains his esophageal health by supplementing with just one 1000-mg d-limonene capsule each month.
Derived from orange peel oil, d-limonene offers hope to those with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Clinical data suggest that this amazing plant-derived nutrient yields long-lasting effects, with some individuals reporting that a short course of d-limonene therapy provides relief for weeks or even months after they discontinue its use.
D-limonene thus offers a natural alternative to conventional heartburn treatment, without the nutrient-depleting effects associated with some prescription heartburn drugs.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition caused by the backwash—or reflux—of stomach acid into the esophagus, the tube that transports swallowed foods and liquids from the throat to the stomach.
This reflux occurs when the valve between the lower end of the esophagus and the stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter) fails to close properly. Virtually everyone has experienced the discomfort in the chest or throat, and sour taste in the mouth, caused by this reflux process. Reflux most often is the result of overeating, consuming particular kinds of foods and beverages, and lying down too soon after eating. These symptoms are labeled GERD when they occur two or more times a week and become difficult to control.22
Extremely caustic hydrochloric acid is the chief component of stomach acid. Hydrochloric acid is vitally important in supporting the breakdown and absorption of nutrients in food and in preventing bacteria from growing in the stomach. The walls of the stomach itself are protected from the corrosive effects of the acid by a special lining that the fragile esophagus does not have. Over time, refluxed stomach acid (along with bile, enzymes, food, and liquid beverages) can erode or cause ulcerations in the lining of the esophagus. Some GERD sufferers develop scar tissue, which narrows the esophagus and can make swallowing food difficult. People with GERD also are at higher risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus, a condition marked by severe damage to the esophagus that is linked to an increased risk of esophageal cancer.3,4,22
Studies have shown a relationship between GERD and asthma. GERD appears to worsen asthma symptoms in some patients, and some asthma medications clearly worsen GERD symptoms. Treating GERD, however, often helps relieve the symptoms of asthma. Physicians tend to diagnose GERD as the cause of asthma when it begins in adulthood, when asthma symptoms worsen after a meal or after lying down, and when it does not respond to standard asthma medications.23
People who experience significant pain beneath their breastbone or in their throat should consult a physician to ensure that they do not have a potentially dangerous cardiovascular condition.
If physicians determine that GERD is the cause of a patient’s symptoms, they often prescribe antacids, H2 blockers (which block gastric acid secretion), or proton pump inhibitors before performing invasive tests. If the symptoms are reduced or alleviated by these medications, GERD is the normal diagnosis.
In certain cases, doctors perform an endoscopy, a procedure that allows them to visually observe the lining of the esophagus (as well as the stomach) with a thin, flexible, lighted instrument inserted through the mouth. Manometry tests help determine how well muscles in the esophagus move food into the stomach and how tightly the lower esophageal sphincter closes. Tests that monitor pH levels determine how often acid from the stomach gets into the esophagus and how long it stays there. A variety of x-ray procedures can detect other problems that may cause GERD symptoms, such as a hiatal hernia—caused when a portion of the stomach herniates (abnormally protrudes) into an opening in the diaphragm muscle—or a narrowing of the esophagus known as an esophageal stricture.22
1. Srinivasan R, Tutuian R, Schoenfeld P, et al. Profile of GERD in the adult population of a northeast urban community. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2004 Sep;38(8):651-7.
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