Milk for Heartburn: Is It Effective or Only a Myth?

Updated on March 20th, 2020
Milk for Heartburn

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the lower esophagus opens too often or does not close properly causing the stomach acid to travel back to the esophagus each time food is consumed. As a result of this acid reflux, a burning sensation is caused in the chest which is often known as heartburn. GERD or acid reflux is commonly a result of the food you consume.

Therefore, if a person frequently suffers from acid reflux(1), there is a long list of foods and beverages that they will be asked to avoid, failing which, the symptoms of GERD can worsen.t

Just like there is a list of foods that should be avoided to reduce the symptoms, there are also certain foods and beverages, which when incorporated in the diet, can relieve the symptoms of acid reflux. Milk is considered to be one such beverage that can be used as a remedy to fight GERD symptoms. But, is milk for heartburn(1) actually effective? Find out here.

Did You Know

  • Researches suggest that drinking milk can lower the chances of dying from serious diseases such as coronary heart disease by up to 15 to 20 percent.
  • Three servings of milk in a day are recommended by the USDA for adults to get all the benefits of milk, which include the nine essential nutrients.

Why is Milk Considered to be a Remedy for Heartburn?

Milk Considered to be a Remedy for Heartburn
Image: ShutterStock

Stomach acid is commonly a combination of hydrochloric and other acids. This acid has a pH level ranging from 1 to 3 making it a considerably strong acid. Naturally, the stomach is covered by a layer of mucus which prevents it from the erosive effects of the stomach acid.

But, the esophagus has no protective layer. Therefore, when the acid is splashed back by the stomach into the esophagus, it causes a severe burning sensation which is often referred to as heartburn. This pain in the chest can sometimes be so severe that people can mistake it for a heart attack. These symptoms can be very discomforting and thus, demand quick home remedies to fix them.

[Read: Home Remedies for Heartburn]

Presumably, milk(2) is alkaline in nature. But, what cannot be ignored is that it has a pH level ranging between 6.5 and 6.7, which makes it slightly acidic in nature. Nevertheless, its alkaline nature is believed to neutralize the stomach acid to some extent.

When the stomach acid travels back to the esophagus in excess, milk is believed to give a neutralizing effect to the condition. However, the neutralizing effect is not as powerful as you would expect. What is important to note is that while milk might be more alkaline in nature than the stomach acid, its acidic content should not be ignored outrightly.

Milk is a rich source of saturated fat and protein. Thus, it means the consumption of milk can boost the release of hydrochloric acid from the parietal cells present in the gastric glands of the stomach.

Foods that have a high-fat content successfully delay the emptying of the stomach which eventually helps the lower esophageal sphincter relax. So, perhaps it is safe to assume that milk can offer some relief from heartburn. But, it is important to remember that this relief is temporary and in the long run, milk can make matters worse.

  • Milk has found a place in the legends of many cultures including Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Mongolian, and Indian.
  • Cow’s milk is the most commonly used milk around the world now. But, in the past, many other mammals such as sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys have also provided milk to people in different parts of the country.

[ Read: Burn Your Heartburn Using These Natural Remedies ]

Milk for Pregnancy Heartburn

Pregnancy heartburn
Image: ShutterStock

The common symptoms of heartburn, especially during pregnancy, include nausea, hoarseness, cough, sore throat, and bitter mouth and they can only be relieved when the intake of certain foods is managed. Acid reflux during pregnancy is a common problem and thus, focusing on what you eat during your pregnancy is extremely important.

Liquid foods are believed to cause less acid reflux troubles than solid foods as they travel through the stomach more quickly. Therefore, smoothies, soups, protein shakes, milkshakes, and puddings should be incorporated into the diet.

Having milk to avoid the symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy is also highly recommended since it is a fluid and is loaded with proteins.  However, the consumption of milk should be moderated carefully as it is slightly acidic in nature and can worsen the problem if you don’t watch out the consumption.

[Read: How to Reduce Stomach Acid Naturally]

Milk for heartburn is surely the right home remedy. But, it is also important to know whether milk for heartburn has long-term effects or not. In addition to that, what is noteworthy is that milk itself is acidic in nature and can worsen the condition if you overdo it as a remedy.


1. Is milk good for heartburn during pregnancy?

Heartburn during pregnancy is a common problem and thus, it is important that you watch your diet. Liquid foods pass easily through the stomach, therefore, there are fewer chances of them causing acid reflux. So, having milk to avoid the symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy can be highly beneficial since it is a fluid and is loaded with proteins.

2. Which plant-based milk can provide relief from heartburn?

If you are lactose intolerant, plant-based milk is a good option for you to fight heartburn with milk. You can use the following:

  • Almond milk
  • Soy milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Flax milk
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