Apple cider vinegar is extensively used to deal with many health conditions, but does it treat acid reflux? This is a very valid question, but there is no scientific evidence either in favour or against its use for acid reflux.
There are people who swear by it and the others just say, it doesn't work because it is a diluted acid. But, you simply can't give up on this potent home remedy just because by nature it is a mild acid.
For the sake of argument one of the main active components of Gaviscon, the most famous antacid recommended for heartburn by doctors around the world, is alginic acid. Of course alginic acid is much less powerful than the hydrochloric acid that resides in the stomach.
If alginic acid in the gaviscon can save you from heartburn then why should acetic acid in apple cider vinegar not help?
To understand these questions, you really need to understand what is acid reflux and how it gives heartburn?
What is the Mechanism of Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is the term characterising regurgitation of stomach acids moving up in the food pipe. So, if the acids are moving up in the pipe then why should you add more acids to the stomach, even if they are diluted?
For that, you first need to understand why the acids move up? Has it got anything to do with acid itself or some other mechanical condition that promotes the acids and the rest of the food to move up the food pipe instead of going down as naturally expected?
One of the predominant causes of acid reflux is hiatal hernia, a condition in which the stomach protrudes into the diaphragm. Hiatal hernia can happen in any part of the stomach but when it hits the diaphragm the esophageal is affected causing acid reflux. The valve that stops the food to come back gets weaker allowing the food to rise in the food pipe.
Obesity is another cause for weakening the wall and eating a stomach full of food also causes the pressure and food may go up if the valve is weak.
Since stomach acids are around the food they get into the food pipe. Now, if you understand this then it is not the acid in the stomach that is causing the acid reflux and heartburn but it is the way content is organized in the stomach and the weakness of the valve that causes the acid reflux.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Help in Acid Reflux?
After understanding the mechanism of how acid reflux is formed, the question still remains"If gaviscon with alginic acid helps to stop heartburn, then why not apple cider vinegar?". Gaviscon is not a typical antacid. It works completely differently to control acid reflux and heartburn.
The alginic acid develops a barrier by forming a foamy gel against the stomach acids. Since it sits above the stomach acid the stomach acids are not damaged or neutralized. They continue to remain strong to do the job they are supposed to do- digestion.
There are no real answers as no research has been done. It is just thought that since acids are regurgitating in the food pipe then logically alkaline material such as aluminum hydroxide and magnesium carbonate that are generally used in antacids should neutralize it. It certainly does in most cases so we keep using those tablets.
So, where does apple cider vinegar stand on this?
Apple cider vinegar has some powerful healing compounds such as acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes. The enzymes and probiotics certainly balances out the pH imbalance in the stomach. This results in prevention of heartburn.
Folk medicine lovers believe and many people have tried and found that apple cider vinegar works to stop heartburn caused by acid reflux. Will it work in your case? Well it might. Try it out. You wouldn't know until you try it out. It is a harmless and useful healthy product, if you try it in the right way.
Now, let us rule out some of the conditions where taking apple cider vinegar is definitely a no.
- If you are taking medications such as laxatives, diuretics, heart disease medications or diabetes drugs, then don't try apple cider vinegar. It interferes with these medications. You can try other home remedies for acid reflux. Apple cider vinegar is not for you.
- If you are taking any other medications, then check with your doctor before trying out apple cider vinegar.
- If you are not taking any other medications and generally healthy except that you occasionally have acid reflux, then certainly trying apple cider vinegar is worth.
Since you are a healthy person with acid reflux, the apple cider vinegar will not only help you with your heartburn but will also help you in many different ways as under:
- Detoxes Your Body
- Kills Candida (Yeast) and Boost Probiotics
- Supports Weight Loss and Metabolism
- Balances Blood Sugar and Improves Diabetes
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Fights Seasonal Allergies
- Cures a Cold and Sore Throat
With so many other benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar, you as otherwise healthy person should not hesitate to try it out to treat your acid reflux. Even if it doesn't work, it won't harm.
How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar for Best results?
Remember, apple cider vinegar is acid so its direct contact with teeth will damage the enamel. No problems, drink it with a straw to completely bypass the teeth to come in contact. Another thing is you may have to dilute it as the original apple cider vinegar directly from the bottle can be sour and you may not like the taste. It may also hurt the mucus linings in some cases. You can add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink it with a straw half hour before eating your food.
Make sure that you consume small portions of meal every time you eat. You can eat as many times as you want instead of just 3 big meals. This habit itself will reduce incidences of acid reflux.
Other ways of Controlling Acid Reflux
There are many other natural ways to deal with acid reflux than using apple cider vinegar. Some of them work better in your case than the other. Try them out and stick to what works best for you.
- Baking Soda
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Cumin seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Licorice Root
- Slippery Elm
- Yellow Mustard
- Chewing Gum
Most of these items are available in your kitchen cabinets. If not then they will be available from your nearest grocery store.
Acid reflux is a controllable condition in the majority of cases, however, if it is happening due to any other underlying medical conditions then check it out with your doctor and treat the underlying condition.