There’s heartburn, and then there’s heartburn. Three years ago, Elroy Vojdani, MD, experienced a debilitating and chronic version of it. “It was a ten-out-of-ten pain, and I would literally keel over at my desk, not able to do anything else,” says Dr. Vojdani, the founder of Regenera Medical in Los Angeles. “This would happen every day for a week, every one to two months.”
Serious problems such as gastric ulcers and pancreatitis had been ruled out, so his doctors just kept recommending higher doses of the same drugs. But Dr. Vojdani worried about taking Prilosec because long-term use has been linked to osteoporosis and possibly irritable bowel syndrome. Tums and Zantac helped but didn’t fix the underlying issue. He needed a better solution, but he was stumped.
That’s when Dr. Vojdani turned to supplements, taking cues from his study of functional medicine, which looks to address the root of a problem and treat each patient with a personalized mix of interventions. After he identified and eliminated his trigger foods—including his beloved “bulletproof coffee,” a homemade blend of black coffee, coconut milk, and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil— he decided to try some of the alternative remedies he’d been learning about.
The next time his heartburn hit, he took a stomach-soothing blend of marshmallow root, licorice, and aloe extracts (you can find it online and in health food s