If you suffer from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) you’ll be happy to note the latest treatment suggested. It will not only keep your reflux and heartburn at bay, but will also give you a good night’s sleep. It’s melatonin! It seems that the gastrointestinal tract secretes up to 500 times as much melatonin as the pineal gland which puts out melatonin naturally when you’re exposed to darkness. There is evidence that melatonin may also reduce gastric acid secretion and normalize pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing it to close more effectively.
Researchers have recently discovered that melatonin plays its part in your digestive system. For instance, it can prevent oxidative stress on GI cells, regulate cholestral uptake by the intestinal wall, help to heal damage to the lining of the GI track, and promote the secretion of other hormones that aid digestion and elimination. It can also help treat esophageal ulcers, upset stomach and irritable bowel syndrome.
If you’ve been taking PPIs (Nexium, Prilosec, Omeprazole, Zantac or Tagamet) or other drugs or supplements, you may be just the right candidate to try melatonin. And you’ll get a good night’s sleep besides. They seem to go together. The GERD problems will keep you awake most nights. I’m a sufferer myself from both. I tried propping up the head of my bed, only to find that kept me awake, and if I put the bed back in place, my heartburn kept me awake. Now I can take the recommended 3-6 mg of melatonin a half hour before bedtime and sleep like a baby.
Check out Dr. Mark Stengler’s column in the October 2011 issue of Bottom Line’s “Natural Healing” for his suggestions. It works for me!