Home remedies for heartburn
This article was originally published in February 2016
Almost half of all adults report having occasional symptoms of heartburn. Also known as acid reflux, it can become gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which not only causes discomfort and can disrupt sleep but also may lead to other health problems if left untreated.
Spicy foods, acidic foods and certain liquids are potential heartburn triggers for some people. Heartburn also can arise from lying down too soon after eating and from wearing tight-fitting clothing.
There isn’t any scientific evidence to support the many home remedies often used to treat heartburn but many (myself included) swear by raw apple cider vinegar. Most people start with 1 to 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar in 6 to 8 ounces of water in between meals, up to three times per day. You gradually can increase the amount of vinegar once you get used to the taste. You also can add 1 teaspoon of honey to the mixture or a splash of fresh lemon juice for flavor.
Another popular home remedy is 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup of water to neutralize quickly those stomach acids creeping into your esophagus. Keep in mind that baking soda is extremely high in sodium (50 percent of your Daily Value per teaspoon), so it isn’t something you want to rely on throughout the day.
Chewing gum also can help because chewing increases the production of saliva, which is one of your body’s natural mechanisms to buffer stomach acids.
If you have been taking a prescription drug for severe heartburn, it often is recommended you consider taking a multivitamin supplement because long-term suppression of stomach acids makes it harder for your body to absorb certain nutrients. Even if you have been treated for GERD, you never are fully “cured” and may need some of these home remedies to help occasionally.
Foods that may soothe heartburn
- Apple cider vinegar (raw, unpasteurized)
- Baking soda
- Chamomile, ginger, or fennel seed tea
- Chewable calcium carbonate
- Chewing gum
- Lemon juice (diluted)
- Pickle juice
- Yellow mustard
Supplements to help soothe heartburn
Natural Factors DGL and Enzymatic Therapy DGL
These chewable licorice supplements can be taken prior to meals or at bedtime.
Gaia Herbs Reflux Relief
These tablets combine a number of soothing ingredients, including baking soda, calcium carbonate, chamomile and licorice.
Enzymedica Acid Soothe
These capsules contain vegan enzymes, papaya leaf and other botanicals to support digestive health.