If you love your culinary treats, you’ll hate heartburn or acid reflux that comes in the way of enjoying your food. So, how do you ward off the heartburn? Is there any way you can keep acid reflux at bay? For finding a cure, you need to understand this condition, first. Acid Reflux or GERD/Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
It can be divided further into esophageal and extra-esophageal syndromes. While its prevalence in Western countries is 10-20 percent, it is lower in Asia(1). A lot of experts think vinegar for acid reflux can work. Let’s separate fact from fiction and find out if there are any benefits of using vinegar for countering GERD?
Why Use Vinegar?
Vinegar derives from two French words vin and aigre meaning sour wine. It is the by-product of fermented wine, hence the name. Commercially, vinegar forms through slow or fast fermentation processes — organoleptic and chemical properties of vinegar form as a result of this fermentation.
Vinegar is anti-glycemic(2), as it reduces the glucose response to carbohydrate loads in adults. One of its medicinal properties is countering acid reflux.
Vinegar is also rich In polyphenols, which undo oxidative stress caused due to free radical damage and ward off body inflammation. They are a wonderful source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are thought to have alkalizing properties(3) that ward off acidity and heartburn. Research does suggest certain types of vinegar, like apple cider vinegar, may be excellent for staving off acid reflux.
So, while apple cider vinegar, in particular, may be vital for countering GERD, does vinegar for acid reflux work well? To find out if white vinegar works just as well as apple cider vinegar and what the differences in mechanisms of action for both are, read on.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux]
White Vinegar and Heartburn: Is Vinegar Good for Acid Reflux?
Heartburn results when acids reflux from the stomach reaches the esophagus. The esophagus refers to the tube connecting the stomach to the mouth. Acid reflux can be the consequence of not only overeating but also obesity, hernia, pregnancy, or excessive smoking.
Ingesting high-calorie foods, caffeine, or carbonated beverages can also lead to GERD. A big question is whether vinegar is useful for acid reflux, given that it is acidic in content? The answer to this lies in understanding the amount of acidity in white vinegar.
Specifically, white vinegar contains 4-5 percent of acetic acids, depending on the fermentation process. Apple cider vinegar is more alkalizing. But even regular vinegar with water can be a useful home remedy for countering acid reflux. Please be cautioned that undiluted vinegar should never be a home remedy, given its high acidic content, that could burn the esophageal tract or chip away the enamel of your tooth.
[Also Read: Home Remedies for Acid Reflux]
Apple Cider Vinegar for Acid Reflux
Apple juice ferments by adding yeast to it, and this turns to apple cider vinegar through the process. The mother or core of the apple is considered very beneficial for curing acidity and heartburn because it is a powerful probiotic. Also, apple cider vinegar contains nutrients like pectin, which are also helpful for the body.
Here’s how apple cider vinegar works. When there is heartburn, the acid within the stomach travels through the esophagus and enters the mouth briefly, while there is a tight, burning feeling in the chest. Apple cider vinegar is a moderate acid that lowers acidity levels of the stomach. The stomach acid triggers are stopped by providing a mild acid, whereby the stomach does not make its acid.
It prevents the buildup of acid and reduces the pressure in the gastrointestinal system. By stabilizing pH levels, apple cider vinegar brings down the acidity in the stomach. For optimal digestion, so food does not ferment in the stomach, the ideal acidity levels should be 1-2 percent.
[Also Read: ACV For Heartburn]
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for GERD?
Doctors recommend purchasing apple cider vinegar with probiotics in it for combating GERD. Specifically, around two teaspoons of vinegar should be added to 1/4th cup of water and consumed. This remedy should be repeated every 5-10 minutes, till the heartburn subsides.
Gastroenterology specialists also recommend taking the vinegar cure on an empty stomach. This vinegar-associated action brings pH levels down. As acid reflux can be the result of too little acid in the stomach, using apple cider vinegar to lower acidity levels could work.
[Also Read: Benefits of White Vinegar]
Another value of apple cider vinegar is that it is a potent antimicrobial agent. If acid reflux results from bacterial buildup, this property of vinegar could make it the perfect cure for GERD. If you are low on digestive enzymes, thereby triggering acid reflux, apple cider vinegar can work in this case, too.
Some experts also suggest taking apple cider vinegar pills rather than in the liquid form, as this contains powerful nutrients like amino acids and antioxidants, which ward off acid reflux faster.
If you believe prevention is better than cure, even taking this form of vinegar mixed in water for about twenty minutes before a meal works fine. Taking organic apple cider vinegar works best because it retains natural enzymes otherwise lost during pasteurization. This organic vinegar can in any health store. Always use warm water for diluting the vinegar.
[Read: Drinks for Acid Reflux]
Thus, whether you opt for white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for eliminating acid reflux, there are many benefits of choosing this home remedy for GERD. Always remember to use it in diluted or pill form for the best effects. Apple cider vinegar remains a potent cure for heartburn, despite critics suggesting there is not enough scientific evidence to support this fact.
1. Is Vinegar Good For Acid Reflux?
GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease refers to a medical condition where acid from the stomach enters the esophagus or even the mouth. The key symptoms range across heartburn, wheezing, bad breath, dry cough, bitter acid regurgitation. Vinegar serves to create low acidity levels and combat GERD.
2. How does Apple Cider Vinegar Reduce Reflux?
Lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive alcohol ingestion, and diseases like obesity, besides medical conditions like diabetes and pregnancy, are linked to GERD. Acid reflux also results when you gorge on junk or fried foods. To counter the inflammation and oxidative stress, and stabilize blood-sugar levels, apple cider vinegar is beneficial. It is known for its anti-glycemic properties and ability to cut down on obesity-linked GERD.
3. Which Vinegar Works Best for GERD?
While white vinegar is known for its sour taste and acidic properties, apple cider vinegar is more alkalizing and contains a lot more nutrients, making it a better choice for countering GERD. Acid reflux can be combated using vinegar, too, but apple cider vinegar comes loaded with polyphenols, pectin and nutrients like calcium and magnesium, all of which combine to lower GERD symptoms