Many people believe that heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid. It is believed that this excess acid gets into the esophagus (the food tube that connects the throat to the stomach) and causes heartburn. According to this logic, reducing the amount of acid in the stomach should cure heartburn.
This is what all commercial acid drugs do. They prevent the stomach from producing acid or neutralize stomach acid. Now to wake up a little your stomach has to be full of acid! Gastric acid helps the absorption of calcium, a very important mineral. Lack of calcium can lead to serious health problems such as osteoporosis. Stomach acid also helps kill harmful bacteria and fungi.
However, research shows that the heartburn medicine cancer increases the longer the drugs for controlling heartburn are taken. Many patients have taken heartburn drugs daily for years, exposing them to risk for bladder or stomach cancer which is third-largest cancer worldwide.
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If stomach acid is good for the body, one might wonder why it causes heartburn. The cause of heartburn isn't because your stomach has too much acid, it's because your stomach doesn't hold acid. In order to understand how it can leak, you need to understand how the stomach works.
There is something between the stomach and esophagus called the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). The LES acts as the throat between the esophagus and stomach. It usually opens to allow food to pass through the esophagus and then closes again to contain food and stomach acid. Another is pressure on the stomach. When you put pressure on the stomach, it decreases and the acid has to go somewhere or the stomach will burst.