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Apple Cider Vinegar for Heartburn: Does it Work?

Apple Cider Vinegar for Heartburn

You’ve just finished a large meal, and an unwelcome, fiery sensation erupts in the area just behind your breastbone. This distress signal from your body is known as heartburn.

Heartburn commonly occurs following a large meal, especially if eaten quickly. It can also happen when you eat spicy, fatty, or acidic foods. The symptoms of heartburn can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • A burning sensation lasting several minutes to hours
  • Chest pain that worsens when bending over or lying down
  • A hot, sour, or acidic taste at the back of the throat
  • A chronic cough or sore throat

These symptoms happen when stomach acid travels back into the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach, called the esophagus. More chronic symptoms can lead to a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is created by crushing apples to extract their juice. This juice then undergoes a process of fermentation, transforming into vinegar. Water is added to the vinegar to dilute it to the desired strength, resulting in the final product of ACV.

ACV is known for containing beneficial bacteria due to its fermentation process.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Heartburn

ACV is often talked about as a natural remedy for heartburn or acid reflux. The idea that apple cider vinegar can help your stomach stems from it having beneficial bacteria in it.

The beneficial bacteria in ACV are thought to create a better balance of good and bad bacteria in your stomach, making your stomach feel better and reducing heartburn symptoms.

While we don’t have enough evidence to say for sure it works for heartburn, trying ACV probably won’t hurt. If you are curious and want to see if it helps your symptoms, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Moderation is key. Taking too much ACV can weaken tooth enamel and cause nausea.
  • Always mix apple cider vinegar with water to dilute its acidity.
  • Be mindful of possible interactions with medications, including:
    • Heart medications
    • Laxatives
    • Diuretics

What Should I Do if I Have Frequent Heartburn Symptoms?

Frequent heartburn can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acid to re-enter the esophagus
  • Large meals and late-night snacking
  • Laying down after eating
  • Alcohol and carbonated beverages
  • Spicy foods
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications

Persistent or worsening symptoms warrant a consultation with a doctor.

If left unchecked, intermittent acid reflux can turn into a more severe condition like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A serious complication of untreated GERD is Barrett’s esophagus.

In Barrett’s esophagus, the tissue lining the esophagus changes, becoming similar to the lining of the intestine. This change increases your risk of developing esophageal cancer. Other complications from long-term GERD include:

  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Narrowing of the esophagus due to scar tissue
  • Respiratory problems

Combatting Occasional Heartburn

For those grappling with occasional heartburn, relief can often be found through over-the-counter antacids or acid blockers. However, lasting relief usually involves lifestyle adjustments, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals
  • Avoiding lying down immediately after eating
  • Eliminating foods known to cause reflux

If you’re battling persistent heartburn, don’t wait to reach out to one of our specialists to explore your treatment options and get lasting relief – schedule an appointment today!

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