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Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a condition where stomach acid splashes up into the esophagus.
If you suffer with reflux, you know it…
The heartburn sensation, the acid regurgitation and sometimes even chest pain… yep, to say it’s uncomfortable is an understatement. But it’s also dangerous… if you don’t get it under control, your risk of throat cancer is elevated.
These symptoms are often treated with a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). But unfortunately this treatment still leaves up to 30 percent of sufferers with no relief, plus the meds can cause unwanted side effects…
Luckily, there are a variety of simple remedies that can help put out the fire naturally…
Apple cider vinegar. Since vinegar is an acidic food, it may seem contradictory to take it as a supplement for reflux. However, consuming around one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water before meals can help balance the production of stomach acid in some people, having a similar effect as antacid.
A special note though: make sure you drink it through a straw to avoid prolonged contact with your teeth, as the acidity can damage tooth enamel over the long term.
Carob. If you’ve never tried carob, now might be the time. With an appearance similar to cocoa, carob powder is naturally sweet and can be used as a cocoa replacement in beverages, mixed with yogurt or as an addition to cereal.
A number of clinical trials have shown that carob decreases the acid pH in the stomach, helps decrease the amount of regurgitation and reduces overall reflux symptoms.
Carob powder is readily available in most grocery store outlets or health food stores. Roasted carob powder is the most flavorful.
Quince. Quince fruit is rich with flavonoids, which are natural chemical compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
A study in children compared quince syrup to a traditional PPI drug therapy. The results showed that quince was just as effective as the drug therapy in reducing all the symptoms of GERD. Even better, the soothing effects of the natural remedy were still effective for up to two weeks after the dose was given!
Quince paste is readily available from stores such as Trader Joes and Walmart. With a flavor crossed between an apple and a pear, it’s perfect eaten with cheese or as a healthier substitute for jams and jellies. Quince syrup can be purchased via online stores like Amazon — try taking 1-2 teaspoons before meals.
Olive oil. Olive oil contains more than 36 phenolic compounds, with a variety of those being well known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties — oleocanthal, oleic acid, tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. In fact, it’s these compounds that are responsible for olive oils anti-cancer effect.
In patients who saw no improvement from PPIs, 2 to 6 months of consuming 3 teaspoons of olive oil 4 to 6 times per day, saw most patients completely symptom free. And the remaining patients all had significantly reduced symptoms.
Try dosing up on some quality virgin olive oil at least 3 times per day before meals.
The important thing to recognize with natural remedies for reflux is that different people respond to different treatments. So if one method doesn’t work, don’t give up, try another and see if you respond better.
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- Salehi M, et al. Medicinal plants for management of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a review of animal and human studies. — The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2017;23(2):82-95.
- Zohalinezhad ME, et al. Effects of Quince syrup on clinical symptoms of children with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease: A double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. — Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2015;21:68-276.
- Karamanolis G, et al. Olive oil for symptomatic relief of duodeno-gastro-oesophageal reflux after gastrectomy. — European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2006;18:1239.
- Yeh, Zoe. Is Apple Cider Vinegar Effective for Reducing Heartburn Symptoms Related to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? — Arizona State University. 2016.