Alginate-based Raft Therapy
The best and most well-researched raft therapy uses alginate, also called alginic acid. This compound is found within the cell walls of brown algae. Alginate has a unique ability to hold upwards of 200-300 times its own weight in water, making it a naturally gelling substance. When taken with natural buffering agents like calcium carbonate, the alginate it produces a very effective raft to block reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus.
When alginate reaches the acidic environment of the stomach, it forms a pliable gel. At the same time, the calcium carbonate mixes with gastric acid to produce carbon dioxide bubbles that gets trapped in the gel causing it to float to the top of the stomach contents. It literally is like a foam raft sitting on top of the stomach contents. The raft-forming process takes less than a minute the raft can survive in the stomach for as long as four hours. As it makes its way through the intestinal tract it partially digested and behaves as other dietary fibers until it is finally passed out of the body.
Head-to-head studies with alginate against other drugs, including PPIs, other acid-blocking drugs, and antacids have shown this natural approach is superior to others in terms of safety and efficacy. The effects are immediate and long-lasting. It words sometime within a few seconds of taking an alginate-based product. And, since the barrier can be retained in the stomach for up to 4 hours or more, the alginate-raft also provides long lasting relief. Another big advantage for alginate is its excellent safety profile. No side effects, drug interactions, or toxicity. In contrast, acid-blocking drugs are now known to carry significant health risks.
Plus, one of the limitations of PPIs is that most often GERD is not caused by excessive stomach acid. GERD often occurs when the sphincter valve between the stomach and esophagus fails to close completely leading to the stomach contents of undigested food and drink, bile, digestive enzymes, and acids to flow upward (reflux) into the esophagus to cause irritation and pain. An alginate raft literally blocks this reflux from happening.