Should You Take Apple Cider Vinegar for Acid Reflux?

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Acid reflux can cause a burning sensation in the chest and impact your daily life. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is thought to provide various health benefits, including alleviating acid reflux symptoms. 

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe to Drink?

While there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence that ACV works for heartburn, there are no scientific studies to confirm these claims. It is generally safe to consume in small amounts, but many circumstances require caution, such as:

  • A sensitive esophagus: Drinking ACV may increase burning and irritation.
  • Required medication: You should not take certain medications with ACV, including diuretics, insulin, laxatives and heart disease medications. 
  • Ulcers: ACV can aggravate symptoms.
  • Severe acid reflux: If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ACV will worsen your symptoms.

Many believe ACV may benefit those who experience acid reflux due to little stomach acid. The vinegar introduces more acid into the digestive tract, helping individuals find balance. 

There are no scientific studies to substantiate the benefits of ACV. More research is needed to determine whether it is a reputable and consistent way to treat acid reflux. However, ACV is safe to consume, so you can try it as an at-home treatment for heartburn. 

How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Should You Take for Acid Reflux?

One teaspoon to one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in eight ounces of water is the recommended dosage. Apple cider vinegar can harm tooth enamel, so the best way to drink it is diluted through a straw, either right before or after a meal.

Other Treatments for Heartburn

Apple cider vinegar can potentially increase your acid reflux symptoms by adding more acid to your stomach, so it may be best to try other proven methods to find relief.

Lifestyle Changes

Heartburn is often the result of various food triggers, including:

  • Fried, acidic and spicy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages

To prevent or decrease heartburn, avoid these foods and beverages. Limiting tobacco use can also help with acid reflux symptoms.

Other habits that can alleviate symptoms include:

  • Achieving a healthy weight
  • Elevating your head and upper body while sleeping
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Eating slowly
  • Practicing portion control

Over-the-Counter Medications

Many over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help you find relief from acid reflux. They include:

  • Antacids: Common antacids include Tums and Rolaids.
  • Proton pump inhibitors: Esompeprazole, omeprazole and lansoprazole have all been proven to help with acid reflux.
  • Histamine-2 (H2) receptor blockers: A couple options include famotidine and cimetidine.

When to See a Doctor for Acid Reflux

If you experience severe acid reflux that does not get better with lifestyle changes, home remedies or OTC medication, speak with your doctor. They can help identify underlying causes and potential treatment options.

You should also see a doctor if your acid reflux symptoms are accompanied by:

  • Chest pain during physical activities
  • Difficulty swallowing or eating
  • Weight loss
  • Black or red stool
  • Frequent and bloody vomit
  • Severe and constant stomach pain

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