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Acid Reflux and Canned Food

Acid Reflux and Canned Food

With a multitude of causes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) will affect 60 percent of the United States population at some point in any given 12 month period, and as much as 30 percent will experience symptoms weekly. Data suggests that approximately 7 million Americans have some symptoms of GERD.

GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach that keeps the esophagus closed in order to prevent stomach acid and consumed food from rising into the esophagus, is either weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to escape into the throat.


Some forms of GERD are caused by hiatal hernia which can weaken the esophageal sphincter. Hiatal hernia happens when the upper portion of the stomach moves up into the chest through a small hole in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the stomach from the chest. Hiatal hernia is thought to allow the stomach’s contents to leak back up into the esophagus more easily.

Identified by symptoms ranging from heartburn to lasting damage to the esophagus, GERD is a serious gastroesophageal disorder. Most people will experience symptoms like burning sensations in the chest that moves up towards the neck and throat, leaving an acid taste in the mouth. Symptoms can last as long as two hours and are exacerbated by eating.

The causes of GERD are numerous and wide reaching, ranging from diet to genetic factors, to environmental factors. One interesting new link being explored is that between canned foods and acid reflux.

Canned foods

More specifically, the inner lining used in canning foods has recently been under fire for possible links to several health risks from exposure to BPA, a type of plastic. Bisphenol A, or BPA for short, has been linked to such things as structural damage to the brain, increased fat formation and higher risk of obesity, altered immune function, stimulation of cancer cells, specifically prostate cancer, increased prostate size and decreased sperm production, and even changes in gender-specific behavior or abnormal sexual behavior.

Studies are revealing that acid reflux may be another ailment to add to the list caused by consuming high amounts of canned food.

The elevated risk of acid reflux from canned foods is, as studies are revealing, related mostly to certain canned foods being high in salt content, with one study referring specifically to the risks of smoked and canned foods.

This study examines the Alimentary factors in the development of gastric intestinal metaplasia in functional dyspeptic patients, studying 320 patients with functional dyspepsia. Using a food consumption questionnaire, researchers measured food intake of half of the patients, each with intestinal metaplasia, the transformation (metaplasia) of epithelium (usually of the stomach or the esophagus) into a type of epithelium resembling that found in the intestine, a disorder that can lead to cancer.

Upon completion of the study, researchers found “a higher frequency of canned and smoked foods consumption in the first group and, on the other hand, a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables in patients without intestinal metaplasia” recommending that participants who consumed a lot of canned and smoked foods to decrease their consumption od said foods, and increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, which researchers found can actually lead to a diminution of gastric metaplasia.

Fruits and Vegetables

Like the previous study, another study evaluates the role of salt intake in gastric intestinal metaplasia, hoping to draw a connection between salt intake and eventual gastric cancer.


Researchers conducted a meta-study, reviewing 17 articles that address the association between dietary salt exposure and gastric intestinal metaplasia, estimating salt exposure via salt and salty food consumption, preference for salty foods, use of table salt, and sodium urinary excretion.

This research found that the combined odds ratio was 1.68 for the association between salty meat consumption and intestinal metaplasia, as well, the combined odds ratio for salt preference in diet was 1.53, finding a statistically significant association between an over-preference of salt and intestinal metaplasia.

Consuming too much salt in the diet is harmful in many other ways as well, with studies showing a connection between high amounts of salt intake and extremely harmful diseases like kidney damage, high blood pressure which can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and even stroke or death, and some suggest that salt intake may be bad for our bones as well.

Eat less salt

Since sodium is a preservative, many canned foods have elevated sodium levels, making them doubly harmful; the high sodium levels causing the aforementioned diseases and the BPA and other chemicals in the lining of the can linked to cancer and other dangerous diseases.

Another stomach disorder that is plaguing Americans is functional dyspepsia, and there may be a link between this and GERD, as studies suggest common pathogenic mechanisms.

Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a chronic disorder of sensation and movement (peristalsis) in the upper digestive tract. Peristalsis is the normal downward pumping and squeezing of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, which begins after swallowing. The symptoms of this common disorder are stomach discomfort, bloating, burping, feeling full very quickly after eating, nausea, and vomiting.

To test the theory of commonality in GERD and functional dyspepsia, researchers studied 184 subjects for 4 months, using an interview-based questionnaire to diagnose functional dyspepsia and GERD while evaluating eating habits and frequency of food intake. GERD was deemed present in 31 percent of participants with predictors being advanced age and the use of canned foods. Functional dyspepsia was present in 7.6 percent of participants with its predictors being low education level, consumption of canned food, and the consumption of alcoholic drinks at least weekly.

Salty foods and alcoholic beverages

A common denominator in functional dyspepsia and GERD is regular consumption of canned foods, as well as consumption of fast food, notoriously salty and fat laden, and regular consumption of alcoholic beverages.

The connection with fast food further drives home the point that reducing sodium consumption is a great way to improve health almost instantly. Fast food is notorious for being extremely high in sodium, in addition, most meals are served with a side of French fries, to which most consumers can be seen adding more salt, making fast food a sure-fire cause of high blood pressure and eventually all of the effects of that disorder.

Our ancestors have been canning food since about 1810, the invention of which was the result of the French government requiring a cheap and effective way to store large amounts of food for long periods of time. It has helped our species survive famine, so there is obvious benefit in the practice of canning.

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Dr. Ryan Shelton, N.M.D.
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Dr. Ryan Shelton, N.M.D.

Dr. Ryan embodies our philosophy of natural treatments backed by hard science. Between his best-selling books and his medical practice in Hawaii, Dr. Ryan has helped hundreds of thousands of men & women reach their health goals. Here at Zenith Labs, Dr. Ryan and his team use their extensive knowledge of alternative medicine and recent developments in traditional medicine to custom-formulate each supplement. Each formula relies on a precise combination of ingredients to maximize results.

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