Post Event: Oh My GERD ! Hosted By Nuvapine

August 06, 2017

This question keeps playing on my mind, " What makes life worth living?". Some might answer food, travel, nightlife or even relationship. A majority will say food as food has become a norm in our life. That why we willing to pay more just to enjoy the beauty of food. But do you know some people have the inability to enjoy the food?

However, the inability to enjoy food is a reality for those suffering a specific tummy affliction which has been sweeping the nation. This was what happened to Raymond. With a thriving career, Raymond was at his peak. Unfortunately, his tummy got in the way.

Raymond experienced heartburn years back but the symptoms would go away with a gulp of antacids. In the last year, however, Raymond would have great discomfort especially after eating. He would feel the food coming back up and a sour taste in his mouth. Not just that, there was gas and bloating too. Each day was a struggle as he would feel tired, not being able to sleep well at night because of the reflux. Tests at the hospital finally showed that Raymond was experiencing a chronic form of heartburn called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for short.

What is GERD? 

Photo Credit: Nuvapine

Normal condition, the food that we consume will travel down to esophagus into our stomach. But when lower esophageal sphincter (LES) damaged and failed to close all the way, causing acidic contents of stomach to move back up (reflux) into the esophagus. When stomach acid contacts the esophagus and sometimes rises up into the mouth, damage and pain ensues.

Acid reflux causes a burning pain in the chest commonly known as heartburn. When acid reflux symptoms happen more than twice a week or are accompanied by difficulty in breathing or swallowing, it could denote a more serious condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The prevalence of GERD has been found to be rising across Southeast Asia, numbers of which are up to 20% from data recorded after 2005.

Those that suffer from GERD believe their condition is caused stress or unhealthy eating habit like eating too spicy or acidic food. Stress is not considered as a cause but is one of the factors that can aggravate GERD. Scientists have found that people are more sensitive to stomach acid when they are stressed. Besides stress, obesity is also another driving factor of GERD development. As weight accumulates in the belly area, it creates pressure on the diaphragm and LES to cause further weakening of the LES muscles. With Malaysia ranked as the fattest nation in Asia, it is not surprising that more and more people are suffering GERD. Smoking is another risk factor for GERD as the nicotine in cigarettes cause a relaxing effect on the LES, hence allowing stomach acid to escape into the esophagus.

Photo to Nuvapine

During the talk, " Oh My GERD" hosted by Nuvapine, a panel of experts came together to discuss the severity of the GERD epidemic, to help the public to rectify the signs and symptoms of GERD and manage the condition successfully. The panel comprised Dr. Raja Affendi Raja Ali, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; Dr. Vagif Soultanov, a Gastroenterologist and Naturopathic Doctor from Melbourne, and Datin Swanee Teh, Pharmacist and Natural Therapies Advocate. 

According to Dr. Affendi, "GERD is a condition that worsens over time if left untreated. Because it’s a disease driven both by structural and lifestyle factors, patients need to take proactive steps to manage it well. Think of it this way, if you had a wound and did nothing about it, that wound will fester to cause greater harm. Similarly, GERD needs to be addressed.”

The Effect of GERD to Life

  • Poorer quality of life in terms of mental health, social functioning and vitality.
  • Decreased work productivity
  • Restful sleep 
  • Lost of food enjoyment

What does GERD look like?

Photo Credit to Nuvapine 

Heartburn is one of the hallmark symptoms of acid reflux. The other symptoms of GERD include a sour-tasting fluid at the back of the throat (stomach acid has a sourish taste), difficulty swallowing or a sensation that something is stuck in the chest or throat, gas build-up, and excessive belching. Some patients may even experience a chronic dry cough or breathlessness, which is triggered by the acid reflux. Should the acid rise up further into the mouth, bad breath can develop as the acid kills off good bacteria in the mouth. Tooth decay is another consequence of acid damaging teeth and gums.

Is there a solution?

Conventionally, heartburn and GERD are treated with medications that control acid. Routinely, the use of acid-blocking drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is initiated. Examples of PPI drugs include deslansoprazole, pantoprazole, omeprazole, and esomeprazole. PPIs are potent stomach acid suppressants. They are popular choices to help patients deal with symptoms as they work fast. Current guidelines recommend that PPIs be used for only 4 - 6 weeks after which they should be withdrawn or stepped down to less-potent therapy. In reality, however, patients continue their PPIs indefinitely as symptoms tend to recur. 

Clinical Pine Therapy

GERD is not a simple condition to manage. As a naturopathic doctor as well as a researcher, Dr. Soultanov was at hand to share the results from a recent clinical study done on a pine conifer green needle extract called Bioeffective® A and its effects on gastrointestinal health and GERD.

“We know that Bioeffective® A possess cellular healing properties. In this study, we wanted to see the extent of its effects amongst patients with pre-cancerous stomach conditions who were also experiencing GERD. The administration of Bioeffective® A resulted in a 92% improvement in dyspeptic symptoms (GERD), including improvement in symptoms such as gastritis, gas and bowel disorders. Not only that, patients also regained normality of stomach function besides a reversal in pre-cancerous lesions,” shared Dr. Soultanov.

“Instead of sitting around worrying more and more about GERD, Bioeffective® A as a natural medicine can offer patients added arsenal to deal better with their condition. By helping to strengthen damaged or weakened esophageal valves, as well as to support the normalisation of digestive juices in the stomach, Bioeffective® A will help get you, your normal tummy back,” said Datin Swanee Teh. Bioeffective® A is made in Australia and is available at leading pharmacies throughout Malaysia. For more information please call Nuvanta’s Nuvaceuticals® division at 03-56363758 or email

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