For a little refresher, heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach makes its way back into the esophagus. “Normally when you swallow, a band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus called your sphincter temporarily opens to allow flow into your stomach,” naturopathic doctor Jaime Schehr N.D., R.D, says. “If the sphincter loosens or weakens, the stomach acid can flow back up into your esophagus causing a burning feeling.” In some cases, it can occur when people don’t have enough acid in the stomach.
As for apple cider vinegar as a remedy, “the use of ACV to prevent heartburn depends on what the source of the heartburn is,” functional medicine doctor, Elroy Vojdani, M.D., IFMCP, says.
For example, if someone is overproducing gastric acid and has a weak esophageal sphincter, it’s likely that the acid will make its way into the throat. “So, if you introduce more acid into that environment, as comes from ACV, the heartburn is going to get worse,” Vojdani says.
However, for the people who don’t produce enough stomach acid, “food will get into the stomach but won’t be fully broken down,” doctor of clinical nutrition Brooke Scheller, DCN, M.S., CNS, writes for mbg. “This causes fermentation and gas production that feels like too much acid but is actually due to not having enough.”
If someone has determined, with the help of a GI doctor, their heartburn is definitely caused by too little acid, the acids in ACV could be helpful. In fact, one thesis study found “Although not statistically significant, ingestion of organic vinegar appeared to alleviate heartburn symptoms for some individuals, however, the effect seemed to last only for the first 60 to 75 minutes.”
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