Acid Reflux Treatment, Remedies, and Medicine
What is it and how do we get rid of it?
In this video tutorial, we walk through the various forms of Acid Reflux (GERD), its causes, its symptoms, and how it particularly affects our singing voice.
Many people have some form of reflux and don’t even know it.
While the esophagus was designed to handle a certain amount of acid from the stomach, the larynx (voice box) was not.
Explore with me the cause and effects of Acid Reflux and how to manage and eliminate this vocal cord killer!
Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy – Where the PROOF is in the SINGING!
Hey guys! Welcome back again to Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy, where the proof is in the singing! We got a lot of requests for this, and that is “Ken, I think I have acid reflex, or I know I have acid reflux, what do I do?” Well, the very first thing you do is you go to a quality, licensed healthcare practitioner that can give you good medical advice. That’s the first thing you do. What you don’t do is you go to some Yahoo on the Internet who’s cut and pasted a bunch of stuff and claims to be an expert and. You’re going to follow what they say. Don’t do that. Go, again, to a quality, licensed healthcare practitioner, and get good quality medical advice. That’s the first thing you do.
Now, if you’re asking me my opinion, I’m happy to give it to you, with 30 years of experience of doing this, which I’ve had it myself, and I’ve had a lot of students, and I’ve had a lot of band members with Gerd, LPR, with silent reflux, and I’m going to go into all of these different things here in a minute. But I’ll give you my personal history and story, in hopes that this may help you in your journey to overcome this. Okay?
Now first of all, what is Gerd? Well, Gerd is Gastro Esophaegeal Reflux Disease. Gerd. Gastro Esophaegeal Reflux Disease. It’s where acid builds up in the stomach, and then it goes into the esophagus, and it burns the esophagus, and you get this heartburn and it can cause chest pains, it can cause all kinds of grief. Right? That’s what Gerd is. Now Gerd isn’t the only thing that acid reflux is, title for acid reflux. There’s some other stuff. I’m going to get to that in a minute, but acid comes up in the stomach, in the esophagus like I said, and the esophagus itself can handle a certain amount of acid reflux. It was designed to do that. The larynx, or the voice box, wasn’t. So we need to deal with not allowing this acid to go through the esophagus and get up into the voice box, and we’re going to discuss this here in a minute.
Now, if acid hits the lungs itself, it can cause all kinds of grief. Everything from bronchitis to pneumonia, so we don’t want it going into the lung, either, that’s a no-no! And there’s some other conditions it can cause, too. Where you’re constantly, you know, clearing your throat, or you’re constantly feeling like there’s mucus in your throat. Like there’s a bunch of gak, always in your throat. It especially happens when you’re laying down or sleeping and you feel like there’s this constant, like, I don’t know, ball of stuff in your throat.
So there’s all kinds of things like this it can cause. But I want to get into acid reflux now. The larynx, the voice box, which I’m going to get into, LPR… When LPR happens, which is called laryngeal pharyngeal reflux. So LPR goes from the stomach to the esophagus, into the voice box. That’s called LPR. And I’m going to discuss this, too, in a couple of seconds, and some ways we can identify it, and reconcile it. Okay? So that’s really important.
Now, the first thing is how does this affect me, or how does this affect my vocal folds? Now, this isn’t a video on acid reflux for the masses of how do you deal with this, though this applies to you, too. I’m going to focus predominantly on how this applies to the voice or specifically for singers, okay? So my goal is to help singers out and guys with acid reflux or LPR, or silent reflux, the information we’re going to give you is great, too, and it will help you, but I’m going to zero in on singers.
So how does it happen? That’s the most important thing. How does it affect us? And that’s another thing, so how it affects us is you’ll get hoarseness. You’ll kinda be talking like this and you’ll kind of wonder what’s going on. Kind of almost simulates like the feeling of a node, which I have a video out on nodes and polyps, and you can refer to that too. The feeling of like a lump in the throat, like a lump in the bottom, right around here, you’ll get that sort of sensation. It can affect your sinuses so the Velo nasal port, and so post nasal drip, constant dripping on the folds themselves, which causes swelling and inflammation, which loses good cord closure, when you lose good cord closure you start to force more air, and this vicious cycle happens with that.
Another thing is constant throat clearing, ahem, you know, just constant, like always feeling you have gak in the throat, which I mentioned when laying down. Excessive throat mucus, or sore throats, laryngitis or just losing your voice altogether, laryngeal spasms where all of a sudden you’ll be kind of talking or swallowing or something and you feel like your throat spasms. And then throat pain. And there’s more beyond that too, but I’m going to focus on the main subjects at hand.
How does it happen? So we take in, we ingest food, we eat something we drink something, whatever it is, and their’s two pipes. There’s the windpipe which is the trachea, and the esophagus. The esophagus is what goes down into the stomach. So food goes down into the esophagus, right? And there’s this muscle, it’s kind of a funny name, lower esophagus sphincter, yes. It’s called LES or lower esophagus sphincter, so it’s kind of like a butthole. And what it does, it releases or relaxes, kind of like you’re going to the bathroom, but for your stomach. It goes okay I’m going to expunge this food into the stomach. I’m going to allow this food to release into the stomach. And then it goes oh! Is that so? And it puckers back up and it closes off, right? We actually want that pucker. We wanted to stay tight enclosed. So we don’t want to compromise this sphincter of the stomach, so to speak, or the end of the esophagus just before it hits your stomach. So is the food goes down in your esophagus, this muscle releases and relaxes. Okay I’m going to release this food, food babies, into the stomach. And then I’m going to close back up and not allow it to go back up through the esophagus, okay?
We don’t want to compromise this lower esophagus sphincter, because, at the LES, because when that happens is it leaks into the esophagus. Acid starts to come up.
Now, if you’ve ever seen someone pour, or like Alka-Seltzer, for example. You take Alka-Seltzer. You guys know what that is, it was a, I think we still haven’t around. I haven’t dealt with this in a long time. But it’s like you poured Coca-Cola on Alka-Seltzer and it bubbles… And it creates all this acid, right? Well, in some cases some of the inflammatory foods I’m going to talk about actually exacerbate that and create exactly that response in the stomach that actually forces, again, the sphincter muscle to re-open to allow this to go up into the esophagus.
Well, it’s fine because like I said, the esophagus can handle certain amount of acid, but the larynx, or the voice box can’t. It wasn’t designed for that. So, we’re going to discuss this here in a minute.
Now, what compromises this valve? Well, I’m glad you asked. Lots of stuff. Overuse of alcohol, tobacco, carmidatives, such as spearmint, or mint, or peppermint, something like that which releases the valve, which we don’t want. Spicy foods, fried foods, tomatoes, orange juice, anything really acidic or anything that’s really high in inflammatory properties. Heavy sugars. Lots of sugar. Even chocolate, unfortunately, can do this. Vegetable oil, or refined flour, eating pizza, and you know, high fatty foods. Dairy. Artificial sweeteners, or any artificial additives. All of this stuff can actually bring about this acid reflux.
Now, processed meats. I want to talk about different, what that means. And we think of processed meats life only eating, maybe, processed meats like sandwich meats. But believe it or not, unfortunately even a lot of our beef and stuff, because of the GMO’s in a lot of the corn that’s being fed to the animals also creates kind of a version of processed meats. So, just be careful on that and monitor yourself. Because a lot of people are really sensitive, not only sensitive to that, but gluten, trans fats, carbonated beverages too. Like you drink a Coke or anything that’s really carbonated you can also create the same response.
But trans fats, I went to get to this even more so, because gluten, and trans fats, kind of one in the same, when I talk about cows that he GMO’s and stuff. People are hypersensitive to gluten now, so they can’t even eat gluten, because this acid causes the same response. But if cows have eaten something that can cause the same effect, you want to avoid that too. So, try to get to cows, or meat… Not cows, but just meat in general, that are free range, grass fed, and all that stuff. And I cover this in a nutrition video that I have out, so if you want to, refer to that, it would be a good resource for you.
Now, another thing you can do, or some things we can do, and let’s talk about some of the positives. I’m going to get into silent reflux and some other things in a minute, is you can lay down, or don’t lay down, excuse me, within about two hours after eating, right? 2 to 3 hours, actually, you know, wait a couple three hours, and then that way the gastrointestinal fluids and the gas itself has had time to digest and it’s not going to regurgitate and go up back through the esophagus. That’s very important.
Something else that’s actually – which releases this LES pressure, so you’re not regurgitating this stuff. Eat small meals. Don’t eat three giant meals and go “all right..” What’s that Monty Python thing? “I can’t eat another bite!” And then you eat something else. No. Eat four or five small meals throughout the day, and then that will help, again, to keep at bay not having this pressure in the stomach and this gastrointestinal fluid that’s causing this, you know, Alka-Seltzer sort of response to building these bubbles that go up the esophagus. This is important.
Another thing: Inter-abdominal pressure. What is that? No, “Intra-“ not “inter”. Intra. Intra Abdominal Pressure is a lot of leaning over or working out with your stomach, doing crunches, or a lot of weightlifting with using abdominal pressure. But for singers, we have to use abdominal pressure. It’s what we do. We use our abdomen to sing. Right? Well, so we have to figure out a way,” Well, Ken, you told me to use my abdomen and now I’ve got this response. You know, I need to figure out a way to, you know, overcome this. Well, if you do these other things over here, by the way, I’ve had a lot of acid reflux in my life, I’ve also had a hiatal hernia in my life, by the way, I’m going to gross you out for a second, I want to show you guys something. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but I think it’s important.
Right? Here’s my stomach. Take a good look at it. By the way, I have no fat. Like, you’re not going to find fat on me. I’m not a fat guy. But I had my spleen removed, I had staph infection that came in, peritonitis and staph infection that came in where it almost killed me as a child at 22, I mean at 14. I made a rocket that shot into my stomach and I had to remove my spleen. And I’ve had to overcome incredible abdominal incapacitations.
So the reason I bring that up is for all you out there going “Oh, you know, you just always had this stuff, and you’ve always been good”no, actually that’s not true. I’ve had to work through, and have a hiatal hernia at the top, which is another subject for another day, which I’ve been able to overcome without surgery. We can talk about that another time. But this is really important because, to show you, you know, I’ve seen this really gnarly stuff on a guy that has a really ugly looking gut, that had been able to rehabilitate this stuff to a point where I believe it buys me the right to talk about some of this stuff that I’m talking about.
So anyway, sorry to gross you out and show you that but I think it’s important to look at. (oh, my gosh, T.M.I. too much information!) I don’t blame you, sorry about that.
But anyway, so let’s get on to some of this other stuff. So what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to compromise the L.E.S. pressure, or the sphincter valve to stave off Gerd or LPR or any of this stuff. We don’t want to compromise this stuff. Okay? It’s very important. And in addition to that, when we try to eliminate acid in the stomach, and I’m going to cover this in a second, we actually compromise our digestive tract to a point where we compromise our immune system. So, we’re going to get into that in a second.
Anyway, so I’m going to focus this again with a view towards singers, so all you other guys want to come along for the ride, that’s great, but I’m going to focus on this now.
When we take over-the-counter medications for this stuff to neutralize acids in the stomach, oh my gosh, dude! You’ve got to be kidding me. First of all the FDA comes out and clearly says don’t take this stuff for more than two weeks, because it will compromise the homeostasis in the stomach that will fight off good bacteria that’s supposed to fight off the bad bacteria, and you’re going to screw yourself, and you’re going to eat away at the lining of the walls of your stomach and end up with leaky gut, or a bunch of other stuff. And it’s not digesting the nutrients in your stomach. So that’s extremely important, number one.
Number two, I want to talk about what isn’t good, and then what is good. So it isn’t good to take a bunch of antacids, Prilosec, Mylanta, milk of magnesia, all of these over-the-counter medicines, thinking okay, this is just going to close off the valve, or keep the valve closed to keep this stuff down in my stomach. That’s just crazy! Don’t listen to that stuff. If you need it for a minute, if there’s something going on, take it for a second, two weeks max. But don’t rely on this stuff, don’t go back to this is your go to.
Now let’s talk about diet. Now diet is the key to all of this. It’s not about taking some pill or some antacid, and I’m going to discuss this even more here in a minute. There’s a wonderful doctor on the East Coast of the United States named Doctor Jamie Kaufman. And I’ve had students that have gone out to her. She is kind of the premier Doctor on acid reflux actually. She’s written a book called Dropping Acid I think is the name of it. Funny title, but that’s it. In fact here is her information, and I’m going to post this now. Check this out.
So Doctor Kaufman has written a definitive book on how to overcome acid reflux, and Simon reflux, which is also really important because silent reflux is like you don’t even know you have it. You’re sleeping at night and it’s gnawing away at your vocal cords and you don’t even know your regurgitating all of this acid, and she’s pointed out that not only the acid that we know about that goes to the vocal box or the larynx, but also that there is regurgitation response or I should say spasm response that happens again in this muscle, this sphincter muscle, that creates a cascading effect that goes through the esophagus that also affects the whole mechanism of our speaking and singing register that isn’t necessarily the acid itself getting into the voice box but the acid that happens down here that is a cascading response that goes up into the voice box.
This is important information, especially for you guys that are, like, feeling baffled on, like, trying to figure out what’s going on with your voice. Great information.
There’s another book out there called eat to live by Doctor Joel Fuhrman. And I posted this before, here check it out, you can see it here. This book is amazing, because it talks about pretty much all plant-based foods that really help our immune system. It helps with our digestion, it helps with diabetes, it helps with weight loss, which is kind of its primary focus. For me, actually, just for good health and immune function, and digestive tract function it’s great. But then there’s also some things that we can do, ”Ken, I can’t necessarily go on this crazy diets and eat like this, I’m on the road, I work a lot, I can’t take time to make all these meals.” To whatever extent you can do this is how good you’ll get it this and the better you’ll feel in the better you’ll accomplish this success in arena, whatever you want to do.
But there are things that we can do, some silly stuff. Believe it or not, Doctor Fuhrman talks about chewing your food really thoroughly, so that the enzymes in the saliva digest this before it even gets into the digestive tract, in order to be able to disseminate this throughout the body and digest this. Believe it or not too, chewing gum at the end of the meal… Sounds crazy, but this also activates the salvatory glands to get this ball rolling for the digestive stuff we just discussed.
Other things we can do, I think I might have said this before or I haven’t, I said sleep on your left side, because the valve on the right side releases pressure. So you can release this into the left side. If you sleep on your left side it will help overcome acid reflux. Again I want to bring this back to acid reflux.
Get a good probiotic. Good probiotics like refrigeratable ones. And if you can’t afford that because they really are expensive, there’s other things you can do, which are like fermented vegetables. You can do sauerkraut. You can do cabbage. You can do kimchi. All kinds of stuff, but make sure that if you get it in the store that it’s not loaded with MSG and other bad guys that are going to countermand or negate the good stuff that’s in it. So, that’s good stuff!
Apple cider vinegar, will also help in alkaline. Now, I want to talk about this concept where eliminating acids in the stomach. That’s just nonsense. Now, this is Ken Tamplin talking. This kind of goes counterculture to what the medical profession-world tells you, and that’s, you know, get rid of the acids and take Mylanta, and take Prilosec, and all this stuff. Dude, if we neutralize the acid’s in our stomach, you are screwed, because acids were meant to digest the food, assimilated to the body, and put the nutrients throughout the body. If you’re going to get rid of that acid, it’s going to create a cauldron of bad guys, of bacteria in the stomach, where you’re going to get all kinds of stuff that you don’t want to deal with, and the good guys are going to go bye-bye, and you’re just, like, taking an antibiotic. You are wiping out the acids in the stomach that were meant to digest and gnaw away at the food itself, to disseminate this throughout the body, the nutrients throughout the body.
So don’t get this in your idea, in your psyche that I want to get rid of all acid. That’s just plain crazy. So, this again is counterculture to what Western medicine kind of pumps, “Oh, take Mylanta, take Prilosec, take this stuff! Close off the valve! Keep it at bay! Eat any food you want, you just take this drug!”
That’s just crazy! So, that’s why I was on the subject of apple cider vinegar because actually it helps produce acid function. But homeostasis, balance of acid production.
Something else. Licorice helps. Licorice. You heard me right. You know, this actually helps with the feeling of indigestion. It doesn’t actually help with the digestive process but it helps with the bloating feeling in the stomach. Aloe Vera is also really good. Aloe vera helps with digestion. Be a little careful with that, too, because it can also be a laxative, so if you take too much, you’re going to be rrrrrr! You know, right?
Something else that’s good. Slippery elm, which is high in polysaccharides, which is also great for digestion. And believe it or not, even Himalayan sea salt, or a good sea salt will help bring up the hydrochloric acid in the stomach to create a good pH balance in the stomach to digest food properly, to disseminate good nutrients throughout the body.
Okay? Guys, this is a lot of information. Hopefully this was good for you, and we have more coming your way. Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy, where the proof is in the singing. Thank you for joining me.
Watch this 30 second before and after video of a student who took the course:
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