Barrett’s Oesophagus

Barrett’s oesophagus is a serious digestive condition and is generally associated with a history of Gastro-Esophageal reflux disease GERD (chronic regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the lower esophagus). It refers to the epithelial changes which take place in the lower portion of the oesophagus. It is characterised by dysplasia, changes in the normal epithelium lining with goblet cells (which are usually found in the gastrointestinal tract). This changes are adaptive and in response to continual chronic exposure to acid reflux as seen in reflux esophagitis conditions.

Symptoms of Barrett’s Oesophagus

  • Frequent heartburn and nausea
  • Dsyphagia (trouble swallowing)
  • Hematemesis (vomitting blood)
  • Pain under the breastbone (where the oesophagus meets the stomach)
  • Odynophagia (painful eating)
  • Chronic cough or Laryngitis
  • Some people experience little or no symptoms at all

Common causes of Barrett’s Oesophagus

  • Stress
  • Food triggers
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Allergies (especially milk protein or gluten from grains)
  • Smoking
  • Hiatus Hernia
  • Helic-bacter pylori bacterial infections

Diet tips for Barrett’s Oesophagus

  • Avoid irritant foods such as spices, caffeine, chocolate and peppermint
  • Avoid alcohol and stimulant caffeine drinks
  • Begin each day with a small glass of warm water with ½ lemon squeezed in it. Lemon juice increases digestive juices, alkalises the digestion, cleanses the bowels and kick starts the liver to detoxify
  • Eat more green bitter foods such as rocket, radicchio and endive as these bitter foods promote digestion
  • Reduce foods such as sugar, wheat, dairy, preserved, processed and refined foods, tea, coffee and alcohol as these may compromise the effectiveness of your digestion
  • Eat more alkaline and less acidic foods to encourage a healthy digestive system and reduce rebellious Qi (reflux and indigestion)
  • Reduce saturated fats (animal fats and dairy foods), transfatty acids, processed foods and simple sugars. Saturated fats and transfatty acids are commonly found in foods such as cakes, cookies, biscuits, bakery foods, margarine, donuts, processed and deep fried foods
  • Eating foods high in sulphur help to stimulate liver detoxification such as garlic, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower and radish
  • Increase vegetables in your meals, especially the family of cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and green beans which encourage the liver to detoxify and support bile function. Preferably steam your vegetables rather than boiling to retain maximum nutrients
  • Introduce herbal teas such as Dandelion, Burdock, Green Tea, lemon and ginger to support liver detoxification, digestion and the production of bile
  • Consume good raw oils in your diet. Foods which contain good oils are raw olive oil, fish oil capsules, flaxseed oil capsules, hemp seed, fish, nuts and seeds and avocados
  • Have a vegetable juice each day (beetroot, carrot, celery and ginger) as these encourage liver detoxification, alkalise and cleanse the system and provide vitamin C to move the bowels
  • Increase foods which are well broken down such as soups, juices, broths and smoothies as these are light on the digestion and contain many minerals to facilitate healing
  • Increase fermented foods in your diet to encourage healthy gut bacteria

Lifestyle tips for Barrett’s Oesophagus

  • Avoid smoking and irritants
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Manage gastrointestinal bacteria
  • Address digestive reflux condition
  • Improve digestion
  • Support liver and digestive function
  • Address Helico-bacter pylori bacteria
  • Loose weight if this is an issue for you
  • Avoid tight fitting clothes around the waist which can put pressure on your abdomen and aggravate any symptoms
  • Avoid laying down immediately after eating
  • Raising the bed at the head end, place wooden blocks under to elevate your head. This helps the stomach acid to remain where it is supposed to in the stomach rather than reflux back up the oesophagus

Natural remedies for Barrett’s oesophagus

  • Take 1 teaspoon of slippery elm powder before your meals, this herb is highly demulcent and calming to reduce acid reflux, coat the damaged area and to facilitate healing of the tissues in the area. Take before meals it can coat the inflamed area and protect it from the acid created in the digestive process and can also assist the sphincter to rebuild integrity
  • Consider taking a quality probiotic to ensure adequate and healthy bacteria inhabit the digestive tract. A balanced flora can help to reduce inflammation, ensure ultimate digestion, reduce acidity and kill off detrimental bacteria growth caused by inflammatory conditions
  • Take an antioxidant supplement containing herbs such as Green Tea, Pycnogenol, Grapeseed and Polygonum
  • General herbs to reduce acidity in the stomach are Slippery elm, Burdock, Gentian, Marshmallow, Aloe Vera, St Marys Thistle, Globe Artichoke and Chamomile
  • Take a small amount of digestive bitters such as apple cider vinegar before meals to promote adequate digestion