Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular natural remedies for acid reflux, but does it work? Here's what you need to know if you decide to give it a try.
When it comes to curing ailments, it seems like everyone is in search of a home remedy that nixes the need for medication, including using apple cider vinegar for acid reflux.
This just doesn’t compute. How can an item that’s so acidic (and it is highly acidic) possibly help one’s acid reflux symptoms? After all, acidic foods are usually on the no-no list for people with heartburn. So, how can drinking apple cider vinegar be one of the natural remedies for acid reflux?
Well, let’s get this out of the way first. There isn’t any medical research published to support the use apple cider vinegar for acid reflux, so all we have are theories. And, as always, check with your doctor before trying any natural remedies for acid reflux.
Okay, now that we’ve stressed that all this is hearsay, let’s discuss a few of the theories about why it might work. Some believe the acidic nature of the vinegar aids digestion by helping break down fats.
Others think that the acid helps balance acid production in the stomach or that it might help buffer the acidity level in the stomach because acetic acid (the main component of apple cider vinegar) is a weaker acid than hydrochloric acid (the acid produced by your stomach). Regardless of how it works, many people swear by apple cider vinegar’s effectiveness and have deemed it one of the best natural remedies for acid reflux.
Okay, so you’re intrigued enough to try this remedy. How should you take it? The most common recommendation is to mix one teaspoon to two tablespoons with eight ounces of water and drink before meals or when heartburn strikes. Some even suggest taking it on its own. You may have to experiment a little to find the dose that works for you.
Learn more: An alternative treatment approach to GERD
Apple cider vinegar isn’t the best tasting thing on the planet. If drinking it solo or even diluted in water just isn’t working for you, try mixing in a bit of honey. That might help it go down a bit easier. You can also try mixing it with salad dressing, adding it to a smoothie or other drink, or cooking with it.
Many people recommend using organic, raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar because it retains the natural enzymes that are lost during pasteurization. It’s usually easier to find it in health food stores than typical grocery stores.
While many believe apple cider vinegar helps acid reflux, there are some side effects to watch out for.
Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, which can harm your teeth. Drinking it with a straw can help keep it away from your pearly whites. Don’t forget to rinse out your mouth after taking it.
Apple cider vinegar is suspected to negatively interact with:
If you have an ulcer, definitely skip using apple cider vinegar for acid reflux, which may cause your belly even more aggravation.
The Bottom Line Is This: Natural remedies don’t have a whole lot of research to back up their results, but many people swear by apple cider vinegar as a cure for their heartburn. If you want to try it, check with your doctor first.
Reviewed by: Dr. Dengler, RefluxMD Medical Director