We have all suffered from bouts of acid reflux and indigestion. No matter how healthy we are, one slip or caving in to eat the wrong kind of food, and we are back to experiencing that familiar burning sensation in our chest.
What Causes Heartburn?
Heartburn, which is caused by acid reflux, is a condition in which the acidic stomach contents come back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest area.1
After food passes through the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to let it into the stomach and then closes to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. But if the LES does not function properly, acid flows back into the esophagus and causes heartburn as the esophageal lining is not strong enough to withstand its corrosive effect. The inability of the esophagus to remove the acid can prolong the symptoms of heartburn.
Consumption of certain food stuff or beverages such as high-fat foods, chocolate, coffee, and aerated drinks; obesity; and stress are causes for heartburn. Certain lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking alcohol, using certain medicines, and even certain exercises can lead to acid reflux.2
Apple Cider Vinegar For Heartburn
Traditionally, a doctor would prescribe antacids and alkalizers for heartburn. This is where a natural product like apple cider vinegar (ACV) comes in handy. Many have claimed its efficacy in relieving the painful symptoms of heartburn.
Lowers Stomach Acidity
The current medical consensus is that heartburn occurs when the excess acid in your stomach flows into the esophagus. ACV, primarily made of acetic acid, a weaker acid than the hydrochloric acid naturally found in our stomach, helps lower stomach acidity without compromising on digestion.
Prevents Heartburn Due To Obesity
As ACV can keep body fat from accumulating, it can also reduce heartburn which occurs because of obesity.3
Improves The Tone Of The Lower Esophageal Sphincter
ACV is believed to improve the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter. A weak LES would let stomach acids pass into the esophagus. Since nicotine in tobacco smoke lowers the pressure on LES, smoking can also cause heartburn.4 In fact, in a 24-hour period, smoking increased the duration of esophageal acidity, and smokers experienced a 114% increase in daytime heartburn episodes.5
An Alternative Theory For The Cause Of Heartburn
Some medical practitioners, however, state that heartburn is caused by the lack of stomach acid rather than an excess of it. Some patients complaining of heartburn have been found to have little acid in their stomachs or no acid at all.6 This condition known as hypochlorhydria refers to the deficiency of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It can also cause heartburn and other symptoms similar to having excess acid in the stomach.
ACV is recommended in this case as well to restore the acid balance in the stomach.
Drink 2 tsps of ACV mixed in a glass of water with each meal.
|↑1||Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Heartburn. University of Maryland Medical Center|
|↑2||Oliveria, Susan A., Paul J. Christos, Nicholas J. Talley, and Andrew J. Dannenberg. “Heartburn risk factors, knowledge, and prevention strategies: a population-based survey of individuals with heartburn.” Archives of internal medicine 159, no. 14 (1999): 1592-1598.|
|↑3||Kondo, Tomoo, Mikiya Kishi, Takashi Fushimi, Shinobu Ugajin, and Takayuki Kaga. “Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 73, no. 8 (2009): 1837-1843.|
|↑4||Rattan, S., and R. K. Goyal. “Effect of nicotine on the lower esophageal sphincter. Studies on the mechanism of action.” Gastroenterology 69, no. 1 (1975): 154-159.|
|↑5||Kadakia, Shailesh C., J. Walter Kikendall, Corinne Maydonovitch, and Lawrence F. Johnson. “Effect of cigarette smoking on gastroesophageal reflux measured by 24-h ambulatory esophageal pH monitoring.” American Journal of Gastroenterology 90, no. 10 (1995).|
|↑6||Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, The Digestive Theory of Aging. The Environmental Illness Resource.|