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Dealing with acid reflux, GERD or heartburn? Apple cider vinegar might just be your ticket to recovery.
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a natural alternative to medicine due to its many health benefits. With only 3 calories per tablespoon, this vinegar contains a number of healthy antioxidants and amino acids.
Taking ACV in liquid or pill form every day has shown to offer a number of health benefits, especially in the digestion department.
Before we dig into how ACV for acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD, let's break down the differences amongst them first.
Acid reflux occurs when contents from your stomach move up into your esophagus. The main symptom of acid reflux is the uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, which can rise upwards toward your neck. This feeling is known as heartburn.
Acid reflux is more likely to occur:
- When you're lying down or bending over
- After you eat a heavy meal
- After consuming fatty or spicy foods
It can occur at any time of day, but most people experience symptoms at night. This is because lying down makes it easier for acid to move up and into the chest.
Symptoms of acid reflux range from mild to serious and are often different for everyone. A few reflux symptoms include:
- Bitter taste
- Difficulty swallowing
Heartburn is the burning feeling in your chest that often occurs as a symptom of acid reflux. Eating a large meal or lying down can make heartburn symptoms worse. If heartburn occurs more than twice a week, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
This uncomfortable feeling occurs when contents from the stomach back up into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food and fluids from your mouth to your stomach, so it's quite unsettling when those contents move in the wrong direction.
Connecting your esophagus to your stomach is the lower esophageal sphincter, which closes when food leaves the esophagus and enters the stomach. If the cardiac sphincter isn't functioning properly, food contents from the stomach can leak back into the esophagus. Stomach acids can then irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn occur more than twice a week. This disease affects about 20% of the population in the United States.
Symptoms of GERD range from heartburn, a bitter taste in your mouth, difficulty swallowing, and sometimes breathing problems like a chronic cough or asthma.
Potential Causes of GERD
GERD can be caused by a number of conditions or risk factors including, but not limited to:
- Hiatal hernia
- Eating large meals
- Lying down or going to sleep shortly after eating
- Drinking coffee, alcohol or soda
- Use of aspirin or ibuprofen
SUMMARY: Acid reflux is caused by food moving back up the esophagus, in the wrong direction. Heartburn is the burning feeling associated with acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is the diagnosis when acid reflux and heartburn are occurring on a frequent basis (twice a week or more).
If using apple cider vinegar for acid reflux sounds like fighting fire with fire, you're not entirely wrong. After all, acidic foods for people fighting acid reflux and heartburn is typically a big no-no. However, there are a few theories supporting the benefits of ACV for acid reflux — let us explain.
Apple Cider Vinegar and its Effect on Stomach Acid
One theory suggests that using apple cider vinegar for acid reflux is beneficial because it can help balance the stomach's pH levels by neutralizing stomach acid.
Apple cider vinegar introduces more acid into the digestive tract. Because acid reflux can be a result of too little stomach acid, it's hoped that the addition of acid from ACV will protect the digestive system from acid reflux.
Another possible benefit of taking apple cider vinegar for acid reflux is its fighting effect against bacteria. ACV acts like an anti-microbial agent and has the ability to eliminate bad bacteria in the gut. Since acid reflux can be caused by bacterial imbalances in the gut, theories believe that this could help prevent acid reflux.
One other theory points out that apple cider vinegar is rich in enzymes, pectins, and protein, all of which are said to reduce acid reflux.
Looking to improve your stomach acid symptoms with apple cider vinegar? It's worth a shot. Besides its impact on heartburn, acid reflux and GERD, the regular use of ACV has a number of health benefits including weight loss, lowered blood sugar levels and many more.
We recommend taking apple cider vinegar pills rather than the liquid form. Not only does the liquid form of ACV taste awful, but its high acidity can cause a number of issues like tooth enamel erosion and the burning of your esophagus lining.
Just like their liquid counterpart, apple cider vinegar pills are packed full of healthy amino acids and antioxidants, so you'll reap the same health benefits. Taking ACV pills with meals will work best to reduce your acid reflux and heartburn symptoms.
If you're experiencing symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux more than twice a week, it's best to consult your health practitioner so they can properly diagnose your health concerns.