Can Probiotics Work as a Natural Treatment for Acid Reflux?
7 minute read
Two hot-button topics in health these days are acid reflux and probiotics. The good news is the two can work hand-in-hand with probiotics providing a simple, non-prescription way to manage acid reflux.
Let’s dive deeper into each topic to learn more and then see the beneficial ways they can work together.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is when acid and other stomach contents come back up the esophagus. This can cause heartburn, chest pain, and regurgitation. If your acid reflux symptoms occur more than twice a week, you may have progressed to having a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD.
If your acid reflux has reached this level you may encounter more symptoms, such as:
♦ Bloody or tarry stool
♦ Weight loss
♦ Dysphagia, narrowing of the esophagus
If you have acid reflux or feel that you’ve progressed to GERD, it’s important to see a medical health professional.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that live in your digestive system and help keep your gut healthy. You can find probiotics in some foods, like yogurt, or in supplements, like high-quality probiotics supplement by 1MD.
There are several different ways that multi strain probiotics can help your body and gut health. Research in this area is still very new and there are important ways probiotics can help that have yet to be discovered. At this point, we know that high potency probiotics affect the nerves that regulate gut movement and ease digestion.
There are many different ways just moving food through the system efficiently can benefit the body, this helps
♦ Improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
♦ Decrease the effects of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
♦ Relieve both infectious diarrhea and diarrhea caused by antibiotics
In addition to those conditions, which are directly related to digestion, there is also evidence that pre and probiotic supplements can help with:
♦ Relief from skin problems like eczema
♦ Lessening and prevention of urinary problems
♦ Eliminating some vaginal issues
♦ Prevention or lessening of colds and flu
♦ Lessening of allergies
♦ Supporting oral health
♦ Natural weapon against acid reflux
How Probiotics Treat Acid Reflux
While you can see how probiotics supplements are becoming so popular, what you really want to know is how probiotics help acid reflux. This is one of those areas where science is still very actively studying the results of probiotics on acid reflux, but there are some theories why this natural remedy works.
Prevent fermentation: One theory is that an overgrowth of the bad bacteria in your stomach causes fermentation, resulting in extra gas. The belief is that these gas forces open the lower esophageal sphincter, which then allows acid and other stomach contents to flow upward into the esophagus.
The use of probiotics balances out the good and bad bacteria in the body, reducing the gas and eliminating fermentation.
The stomach works faster: Probiotics may promote faster absorption and stomach emptying. Many sufferers of acid reflux report that they suffer more symptoms after overeating.
This full-stomach feeling may be emotionally satisfying but it makes it much easier for food to back up into the esophagus. When your stomach empties faster, you’re closing the window on regurgitation and other GERD symptoms.
Decreases inflammation: When acid reflux reaches the point of GERD, or when it continually creeps up into the esophagus, the lining is irritated and inflammation results. Probiotics have anti-inflammatory properties and can ease these acid reflux symptoms, provided you buy one with the right probiotic strains.
Weight loss: Excess weight seems to play a pretty big role in acid reflux, creating pressure on the stomach, which forces food into the esophagus. While probiotics are not a weight loss miracle by any means, there have been studies that suggest they can aid in weight loss.
Other Acid Reflux Treatments
If your acid reflux is more severe or isn’t responding to probiotics, there are other steps you can take. The first is to see your healthcare professional.
When acid reflux progresses to GERD the symptoms are much more severe, they can disrupt your life in a variety of ways, and they can lead to permanent damage. Some other treatments for acid reflux include:
Lifestyle changes: Your lifestyle choices have a big effect on your health, but you may be making some choices that cause acid reflux that you didn’t realize were bad for you.
The obvious changes that most doctors prescribe are to quit smoking and limit alcohol intake. These changes also help acid reflux sufferers. But did you know that eating fatty foods, consuming caffeine, having a pre-bedtime snack, and loving spicy foods can be the cause of your acid reflux?
Have your doctor give you a complete list of things that can cause acid reflux, it, unfortunately, may include some of your favorites, so you can make the lifestyle changes you’re comfortable with.
Lose weight: Being overweight definitely seems to be a trigger for acid reflux and GERD. Exercising and losing weight both decrease the occurrence of acid reflux. It’s a win/win situation.
Lift your bed: If you’re someone who suffers from acid reflux symptoms at bedtime, simply raising the head of your bed 4 to 6 inches may be your solution. This “cure” uses gravity to help you fight reflux reactions.
Acid Reflux Medications
If you and your doctor determine that medication is the right course of action for you in your battle against acid reflux, there are a lot of different acid reflux medications to try.
Acid reflux has become so common that many of these medications are available over-the-counter, but some still require a prescription. It’s a good idea to determine what is causing your heartburn symptoms, so you can find a treatment that targets your specific concerns.
The Bottom Line
Your goal here should be to do whatever you can to eliminate acid reflux naturally through supplements and lifestyle changes as much as possible. Then, take the least amount of medication necessary to prevent symptoms and heal any damage that’s already occurred.
Apart from diet and exercise, probiotics have been shown to help mitigate the problems associated with acid reflux, and may even help as an alternative, natural treatment.