Acid reflux is a common condition, in which stomach acid regurgitates into the esophagus (gullet) and causes a burning sensation in the chest known as heartburn. This acid exposure not only brings immense pain but also carries the risk of developing cancer over time.
Therefore, if you frequently experience acid reflux, it is crucial to seek medical advice from your doctor rather than endure in silence.
However, there may be cases where specific treatment alone struggles to eliminate acid reflux.
What causes acid reflux?
- Normally, a muscular structure known as the esophageal sphincter resides above the stomach, functioning as a barrier to prevent the upward flow of stomach acid. When this sphincter fails to operate correctly, it allows for the passage of stomach acid towards the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux. Dietary fat, chocolate, alcohol, tea, and coffee can relax this sphincter muscle and provoke symptoms.
- Increased gastric acid secretion e.g. after a large meal, spicy foods, stress, and anxiety
- Increased pressure in the stomach eg. obesity, pregnancy
- Analgesic medications like aspirin, ibuprofen
- Hiatus hernia (when part of your stomach moves up into your chest)
What are the symptoms?
- Heartburn – Burning sensation in the chest
- Unpleasant sour taste in the mouth
- Bloating and feeling sick after eating
- Stomach pain
- Bad breath
These vitamins can help with acid reflux
Research suggests B vitamins, especially folate, vitamin B2, and B6, can help relieve acid reflux.
According to a study in the Journal of Pineal Research, dietary supplementation with B vitamins showed a better regression of symptoms compared to the over-the-counter treatment.
Moreover, increased consumption of folate and vitamin B6 exhibited a decreased susceptibility to esophagus cancer and Barrett’s esophagus that may arise as potential complications from prolonged acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Foods containing B vitamins
Beans, lentils, spinach, avocado, oranges, and sweet corn are among the top dietary sources of folate. Riboflavin (B2) is predominantly present in meat and fortified foods but can also be found in select nuts and leafy green vegetables. Vitamin B6 is abundantly found in fish, beef liver, potatoes, chickpeas, and certain fortified cereals.
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for maintaining good health including helping with acid reflux. It helps to protect the lining of the esophagus and stomach, preventing damage from stomach acid.
In a 2019 study, a high intake of micronutrients including vitamin A was found to be associated with a lower risk of nonerosive reflux disease.
Good dietary sources of vitamin A include sweet potatoes, squash, liver, eggs, carrots, and spinach.
For individuals struggling with acid reflux, the question of whether vitamin C can worsen or alleviate this condition often arises due to the acidic nature of the vitamin itself.
Renowned for its antioxidant properties and immune system-enhancing abilities, vitamin C plays a crucial role in safeguarding the body against harmful free radicals, infections, and diseases that have the potential to exacerbate or trigger acid reflux. Furthermore, it is worth noting that vitamin C might even offer benefits by mitigating inflammation and facilitating the healing process of tissues damaged as a result of acid reflux.
Sources of vitamin C
You can get vitamin C from buffered supplements or fruits and vegetables and keep your acid reflux symptoms under control.
Natural sources of vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, limes, strawberries, and kiwis.
Vitamin D, commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” plays a critical role in numerous biochemical processes within the body. Its significance lies in facilitating calcium absorption, crucial for proper muscle function, including the muscles in your esophagus.
By ensuring healthy levels of vitamin D, you can prevent muscle weakness which can reduce your risk of acid reflux.
Where can I get vitamin D?
The easiest way to get enough vitamin D is from sunlight. Sunlight promotes the synthesis of vitamin D from cholesterol in the body.
Dietary sources of vitamin D are oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, eggs, mushrooms, milk and dairy products.
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that aids in reducing inflammation and protects the lining of the stomach to prevent acid reflux.
A 2012 research paper involving 180 subjects found that antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E may help prevent GERD and its complications.
You can get this essential vitamin from spinach, avocado, plant oils( olive oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil), nuts, and seeds (almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds).
Lifestyle changes to relieve acid reflux
Making simple lifestyle changes will help you manage acid reflux better.
✅Opt for small, frequent meals instead of a few large meals
✅Try to lose weight if you are overweight
✅Keep your head elevated while you sleep. Using an extra pillow can also help prevent reflux
✅Wear loose-fitting clothes to ease pressure on the stomach
❌Do not eat within 3 hours before bed
❌Avoid food and drink that can provoke your symptoms
Do you recommend vitamins for acid reflux?
For those seeking an adjunctive solution to combat acid reflux, I recommend incorporating those vitamins into your medicinal repertoire. These vitamins have garnered recognition for their potential to alleviate symptoms of acid reflux, while also offering a multitude of additional health benefits which can be further explored in my previous articles.
However, do not solely rely on vitamins as a means of managing acid reflux before seeking out a professional opinion. Moreover, it is crucial to remember that implementing lifestyle modifications can significantly contribute to the overall improvement of this condition.
Vitamin supplements for acid reflux
While it is crucial to prioritize obtaining vitamins from food, there are instances when our dietary habits falter and fail to provide the requirements for our bodies. So, here are my top recommendations for enhancing your daily vitamin intake.
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