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Some people use diluted apple cider vinegar to reduce symptoms of acid reflux. But more research is needed on its effectiveness. Consuming it diluted in small doses may have other benefits.
Apple cider vinegar is generally made from crushed apples. Bacteria and yeast are added to ferment the liquid. At first, the liquid is similar to a hard apple cider because of the alcohol content. More fermentation changes the alcohol into vinegar.
Organic and raw apple cider vinegar are both allowed to ferment naturally. These liquids are unfiltered and typically take on a brownish, cloudy appearance. This process leaves behind the “mother” of the apple.
The mother is a cobweb-like substance found at the bottom of all bottles of organic apple cider vinegar. Nonorganic apple cider vinegar is pasteurized, and the mother of apple is removed.
It’s thought that the mother is rich in enzymes, proteins, and pectin. Because of this, organic varieties are considered the gold standard when used to treat health conditions, such as acid reflux.
The acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar may provide several health benefits.
For some people, acid reflux may be a result of too little stomach acid. Proponents of this remedy claim apple cider vinegar might be beneficial because it introduces more acid into the digestive tract. This acid is also effective against several types of bacteria and acts as an antimicrobial agent.
Apple cider vinegar may also help people with diabetes manage blood sugar. Ingesting vinegar can raise your body’s insulin sensitivity. This allows the insulin to move glucose through your body and decrease your blood sugar levels.
- Raw or unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains the “mother” of the apple, which is thought to be high in protein.
- Apple cider vinegar may introduce more acid into the digestive tract. If your acid reflux is the result of too little stomach acid, this might be beneficial.
- The acetic acid found in the vinegar fights against bacteria and other foreign bodies.
Apple cider vinegar might improve acid reflux in people not taking medications and with minimal risk. But although there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence, there’s very limited research.
In fact, no research supporting this claim has been published in a medical journal. A graduate thesis did find that raw or unfiltered apple cider vinegar may prevent heartburn, though.
More research is needed to determine whether apple cider vinegar is a consistent and reputable way to treat acid reflux.
You may try using apple cider vinegar to relieve acid reflux symptoms, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work. It’s thought this home remedy helps balance your stomach pH by balancing stomach acid.
It’s generally accepted as safe to consume a small amount of apple cider vinegar. Dilute it with water. This should relieve any burning sensation caused by the acid in the vinegar.
Diluting it may also help prevent the acid from damaging the enamel on your teeth. To further avoid this, drink it through a straw, if possible.
Many people find the taste of apple cider vinegar to be sharp or sour. You may consider adding honey to the solution to taste.
Some people may experience side effects after consuming apple cider vinegar. They can include:
- tooth erosion
- blood thinning
- throat irritation
- decreased potassium
These side effects may be worse if you use undiluted or large amounts of apple cider vinegar.
- Apple cider vinegar may interact with certain medications, including diuretics, laxatives, and heart disease medications.
- Don’t use apple cider vinegar if you have an ulcer, as it can aggravate your symptoms.
- Drinking vinegar, even when diluted in water, can also wear down your teeth enamel.
Conventional treatments for acid reflux include prescription and over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes.
Medications used to treat reflux include:
- antacids to help balance stomach acid
- H2 receptor blockers, such as famotidine (Pepcid), to block the receptors in the stomach that release acid
- proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), to reduce acid production
Lifestyle changes that may help acid reflux include the following:
- Eat smaller meals.
- Avoid foods and beverages that trigger heartburn.
- Quit smoking.
- Don’t lie down after eating.
- Elevate the head of your bed several inches.
Sometimes conventional treatments aren’t enough. Serious complications from acid reflux can include esophageal scarring or ulcers.
To avoid these complications, your doctor may recommend a surgery called fundoplication. In this procedure, the upper part of your stomach is wrapped around the lower esophagus. This strengthens the esophageal sphincter to prevent reflux.
Although anecdotal evidence suggests apple cider vinegar may be a useful remedy, there isn’t a firm medical basis for this treatment. If you do explore this option, remember to:
- Consume apple cider vinegar in small quantities.
- Dilute the vinegar with water.
- Speak with your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or worsen with use.
Work with your doctor to create a treatment plan that’s best for you, whether it’s lifestyle changes, medications, or a home remedy.
“One teaspoon to one tablespoon is a typical dosing range. This should be diluted in one cup (8 ounces) of water.”
— Natalie Butler, RD LD