Acid reflux occurs when acid from your stomach flows up into your esophagus. This can cause inflammation and irritation in the esophageal lining. When this happens, you may feel a burning sensation in your chest or throat. This is known as heartburn.
Anyone who has experienced heartburn knows that certain types of food can make your symptoms worse. That spicy Mexican dinner you had last night? You may pay for it later. Was a raw garlic glove mixed in with that pasta sauce? Time to grab the Tums.
When it comes to lemon for reducing symptoms, there are some mixed signals. Some experts say that lemon and other citrus fruit increase the severity of acid reflux symptoms. Others tout the benefits of "home remedies" using lemon water. They claim it can reduce heartburn symptoms. So who's got the right answer here? As it turns out, there’s a bit of truth to both sides.
There are significant health benefits that can be gained by ingesting lemon. For example, one study found that lemon compounds helped mice lose fat cells and keep them off. Obesity and weight gain can both contribute to the symptoms of acid reflux. If lemon can help people lose weight, it may lead to a reduction in acid reflux symptoms.
A 2014 study found that lemon is linked to lowering blood pressure, especially in people at high risk for high blood pressure and cholesterol. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. It is a powerful antioxidant and helps protect your body against cell damage that could be caused by acid reflux.
There’s evidence that diets rich in ascorbic acid, such as lemon juice, actually help protect the stomach from certain cancers and other damage. These findings were especially applicable to people with peptic ulcers.
If your acid reflux is caused by low stomach acid, drinking lemon water may be beneficial for you due to its potential alkalizing effects
Although lemon juice is very acidic, small amounts mixed with water can have an alkalizing effect when it’s digested. This can help neutralize the acid in your stomach.
If you decide to try this home remedy, you should mix one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with eight ounces of water. Then drink it about 20 minutes before a meal to help prevent symptoms that might be triggered by food.
Be sure to drink this mixture through a straw, if possible. This can prevent the acid in the juice from touching your teeth and eroding tooth enamel. And you should never drink straight lemon juice due to its acidity. It needs to be diluted with water to be effective.
If your acid reflux is mild or moderate, you may be able to control it with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.
Antacids, such as Tums, can treat infrequent heartburn. Stronger medications such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors are better for recurrent acid reflux. They can provide relief for an extended period of time and are available in different strengths.
There are risks to taking any type of medication, so talk to your doctor before beginning any regular regimen. In severe cases of acid reflux, your doctor may recommend surgery to strengthen the esophageal sphincter.
Although limited research is available, it’s possible that lemon water may relieve your symptoms. If you’re interested in trying this home remedy, remember to:
- thoroughly dilute the lemon juice with water.
- add no more than one tablespoon of lemon juice.
- drink the mixture through a straw.
You may consider drinking a reduced amount at first to determine what kind of effect it may have. If you don’t experience an increase in symptoms, you may wish to try the full amount.
If your symptoms persist, you should speak with your doctor. They can help devise the best treatment plan for you.