July 28, 2023

Does Milk Help Heartburn?

Heartburn is highly common, as it affects an estimated 20% of people in the U.S. It is a symptom of acid reflux. Vomiting, coughing and difficulty swallowing are some of the many other symptoms you may experience with heartburn if you have acid reflux.

For many years, it’s been a common belief that drinking milk can make heartburn go away. However, before reaching for milk the next time you have heartburn, it may help to know whether this remedy truly works.

Is milk good for heartburn? The answer to this question is below, along with many other at-home remedies for acid reflux.

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Common Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for short.

GERD occurs when contents from your stomach flow back up into your esophagus. Normally, food flows down your esophagus and through an opening that leads to your stomach. The opening, known as the sphincter, closes after food passes through.

However, if your sphincter is weak or doesn’t relax enough to allow food to pass through, your stomach contents can flow back up into the esophagus. The acid from your stomach can irritate and inflame the inside of your esophagus to cause heartburn.

A variety of different factors can cause GERD and heartburn. Common causes and risk factors of heartburn include:

·Obesity.

·Hiatal hernia.

·Pregnancy.

·Alcohol use.

·Certain medications.

·Acidic foods, including citrus fruits and tomatoes.

·Spicy foods.

·Fried foods.

·Large meals.

·Eating right before bedtime.

·Caffeinated drinks, including coffee and tea.

·Smoking.

Does Milk Help With Heartburn?

Milk — particularly cow’s milk — is cool, thick and creamy. These characteristics make it easy to think that milk could potentially “coat” the throat and stomach to relieve heartburn.

However, dairy products, including milk, can actually worsen or trigger heartburn due to the way it stimulates the stomach’s production of more acid. This debunks the myth that milk can help with heartburn. Evidence suggests that milk can make your heartburn worse.

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What Are the Health Benefits of Milk?

Though milk has no benefits when it comes to reducing heartburn specifically, it does offer a wide range of other health benefits. Milk is loaded with many important nutrients.

Nutrients in milk include:

·Vitamin D.

·Calcium.

·Vitamin A.

·Vitamin B2.

·Vitamin B12.

·Protein.

·Potassium.

·Phosphorus.

Milk can help strengthen your bones and reduce your risk for fractures and osteoporosis. Its high protein content can make you feel full after drinking it, which can help you lose excess weight.

Other health benefits of milk include:

·It contributes to strong, healthy teeth.

·It may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

·It may help lower high blood pressure.

·It may reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease.

·It may strengthen your immune system.

·It may reduce your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

·It may reduce your risk for cancer — particularly prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.

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At-Home Remedies For Acid Reflux

There are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for GERD. OTC medicines that may relieve heartburn and GERD include antacids, proton pump inhibitors and histamine-2 blockers. Unfortunately, these medicines can produce side effects such as headache, diarrhea, constipation and stomach cramps. The good news is that many at-home remedies for GERD and heartburn can help you find relief without causing adverse effects.

Next time you experience heartburn, try one or more of the following at-home treatments.

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Ginger

Ginger can help improve digestion and reduce the likelihood of stomach contents flowing back into your esophagus. It may also reduce inflammation and relieve other symptoms of acid reflux.

Drink a cup of ginger tea if you have heartburn or think you may have heartburn after eating spicy or acidic foods. (Licorice, chamomile and turmeric teas are also effective at treating acid reflux.) You can also eat a small piece of fresh ginger to find immediate relief.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has a high alkaline pH that can help neutralize your stomach acid and prevent acid reflux. To use baking soda for heartburn, add about one-fourth of a teaspoon to a glass of water and drink it when you first start feeling symptoms.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a cupboard staple that can be used to treat a wide variety of health issues, including heartburn and poor digestion. It works just like baking soda to neutralize your stomach acid and relieve symptoms of GERD. Mix about half a teaspoon of ACV with water or tea and drink it to find fast relief.

Gum

Chewing gum helps stimulate saliva production. Saliva can help reduce the amount of acid in your esophagus to relieve heartburn. When buying gum, look for sugar-free brands that won’t cause further irritation or worsen your symptoms.

Bananas

Bananas are low in acidity and have a high alkaline pH that can help combat heartburn and acid reflux. Bananas are also high in fiber and can improve your digestion. Unlike milk, bananas can actually produce a beneficial coat-like effect on the throat that can relieve your symptoms. Try to keep bananas on hand at home and grab one when you feel an episode of heartburn coming on.

Elevation

If you tend to experience heartburn mainly at night when lying down, try elevating the head of your bed. This helps promote the flow of stomach contents downward and may prevent symptoms of GERD.

Place blocks of wood under the feet of the head of your bed or place a wedge between the mattress and box spring to elevate the upper half of your body. Aim to raise the head of your bed by between six to nine inches, which may help with reflux.

When To See a Doctor

It may be time to see your doctor for heartburn if your symptoms are severe or if they occur frequently. You should also see your doctor if you take OTC medicines for heartburn more than two times a week. OTC heartburn medicines can become less effective if you use them too often.

Visit a hospital emergency room or seek medical care right away if you are experiencing chest pain, along with shortness of breath or pain in the jaw or arm. These symptoms indicate that you may be having a heart attack.

Request an appointment with Healthcare Associates of Texas today to receive treatment for any medical issue, including heartburn. Annual wellness exams, televisits and screenings are just some of our many primary care services.

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References

1.Antunes, Catiele, and Sean A Curtis. 2019. “Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.” nih.gov. StatPearls Publishing. 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441938/.

2.”Heartburn: What You Need to Know.” 2020. NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. https://magazine.medlineplus.gov/article/heartburn-what-you-need-to-know.

3.”Take a Preventive Game Strategy on Heartburn Relief.” 2019. www.utsouthwestern.edu. https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/articles/year-2019/heartburn-relief.html.

4.”Milk.” 2020. The Nutrition Source. October 19, 2020. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/milk/.

5.Gijsbers, Lieke, Eric L. Ding, Vasanti S. Malik, Janette de Goede, Johanna M. Geleijnse, and Sabita S. Soedamah-Muthu. 2016. “Consumption of Dairy Foods and Diabetes Incidence: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 103 (4): 1111–24. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.115.123216.

6.Zhang, Xingxia, Xinrong Chen, Yujie Xu, Jie Yang, Liang Du, Ka Li, and Yong Zhou. 2021. “Milk Consumption and Multiple Health Outcomes: Umbrella Review of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses in Humans.” Nutrition & Metabolism 18 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-020-00527-y.

7.Research, Center for Drug Evaluation and. 2021. “Over-the-Counter (OTC) Heartburn Treatment.” FDA, March. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-consumers-and-patients-drugs/over-counter-otc-heartburn-treatment.

DISCLAIMER
The information featured in this site is general in nature. The site provides health information designed to complement your personal health management. It does not provide medical advice or health services and is not meant to replace professional advice or imply coverage of specific clinical services or products. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on such websites.

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