Acidic foods, including citrus fruits, generally worsen acid reflux symptoms. However, diluted lemon water may also have some benefits for acid reflux.

There are some mixed signals about lemon’s ability to reduce symptoms. Some experts say that lemon and other citrus fruits increase the severity of acid reflux symptoms. Others highlight the benefits of home remedies using lemon water, suggesting it can lower heartburn symptoms.

Acid reflux occurs when acid from your stomach flows up into your esophagus, a tube that connects your throat and stomach. 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.

If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), experts typically recommend avoiding citrus fruits and other acidic foods, as they can worsen symptoms of acid reflux.

According to a 2022 study on lemon water and gastric emptying, compared with water, drinking lemon juice with a meal increased the contents in the stomach after eating by 1.5 times.

Having more content in your stomach may increase acid reflux symptoms. Eating large meals and eating quickly also typically worsens or triggers reflux. According to 2023 research, the link between stomach volume and acid reflux may be stronger than that of any specific food triggers.

While lemon water may increase stomach volume, it may also decrease the time it takes for stomach contents to move further into your digestive tract by 1.5 times. This may help reduce symptoms by moving stomach contents further along and further from the esophagus.

Other research suggests that eating a diet of functional foods high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals may help lower your risk of acid reflux.

Lemons and other fruits also contain beneficial nutrients. But if you notice drinking lemon water worsens your symptoms, you can get beneficial nutrients from other fruits, vegetables, and seeds.

More research on the effectiveness of drinking lemon water for acid reflux is still needed.

Although lemon juice is very acidic, some people believe that small amounts mixed with water may help relieve acid reflux symptoms.

If you decide to try this home remedy, mix 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with 8 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. Due to its acidity, you should avoid drinking straight lemon juice. Be sure to dilute it before drinking.

If your acid reflux is mild or moderate, you may be able to manage it with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications and changes to when, what, and how you eat.

Antacids, such as Tums, can help treat less common heartburn. Stronger medications, such as H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), are better for recurrent acid reflux. They can provide relief for an extended period of time and are available in different strengths.

Taking any type of medication carries risks, so talk with your doctor before beginning any regular regimen. In severe cases of chronic GERD, your doctor may recommend surgery to strengthen the esophageal sphincter.

Other home remedies for acid reflux or GERD may help you find relief from your symptoms.

Lemon water may potentially lower symptoms of acid reflux. You may consider drinking a reduced amount at first to determine its effect on you. If you don’t experience an increase in symptoms, you may wish to try the full amount.

If your symptoms persist, you may speak with a doctor. They can help determine whether underlying causes, such as a hiatal hernia, may contribute to your acid reflux that require treatment.