SOURCE: BrendaWatson.com

August 02, 2006 10:00 ET

PBS Show Features "GI Jane," Brenda Watson Helping Americans With Their Plop, Plop, Fiz, Fiz Problems

TAMPA, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 2, 2006 -- Antacids are quick-fix remedies taken by millions to help relieve heartburn, acid reflux and other uncomfortable digestive problems. Americans spend more than $3 billion a year on over-the-counter heartburn drugs, according to the American Pharmacists Association, and more than $13 billion on prescription acid reducing drugs.

There's a growing concern among physicians about the hidden dangers of heartburn and many are now warning patients who have had severe gastric esophageal reflux disease for several years that they shouldn't keep popping antacids without seeing a doctor first. Heartburn seems to be driving the nations' fastest-increasing type of cancer, a type of esophageal disease called adenocarcinoma. The occurrences have jumped six-fold in the last 30 years and many suspect heartburn is the culprit.

"People take antacids to lower the amount of acid in their stomach but many are misdiagnosing themselves and shouldn't be taking antacids at all," says Brenda Watson, author of, "The H.O.P.E. Formula," and "Gut Solutions," a series of books on digestive health. "Ninety percent of people with heartburn or acid reflux symptoms may not have enough acid in their stomach."

Too little acid in the stomach, or what's known as hypochlorhydria, is more common than most realize. Stomach acid production starts to naturally decline in your mid 30s, and by age 50, doctors say 50 percent of people will have the condition. Watson recommends asking your physician for a "Heidelberg" test to determine if your underlying problem is low or high acid.

"Many doctors don't test for it, so acid blocking medications are being over-prescribed in the same way antibiotics have been," says Watson. "It's a big concern because hypochlorhydria can be corrected by changing your diet."

Watson launched a crusade to educate Americans about problems affecting their gut as a result of her own poor digestive health. She will be hosting a PBS television special airing nationwide starting this August called, "Brenda Watson's H.O.P.E. Formula -- The Ultimate Health Secret." The program will expose Americans to the hidden dangers of heartburn and acid reflux, IBS, ulcers and constipation; and what to do to eliminate these health problems without drugs. Go to www.brendawatson.com for show times, dates and more GI tips.

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