Apple Cider Vinegar vs Acid Reflux

Acid reflux has been around forever, and one home remedy has been around nearly as long is apple cider vinegar.

All forms of vinegar have been touted as having medicinal uses for thousands of years. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is said to have prescribed it for everything from ear infections to rashes, and the Chinese have long used it to prevent the spread of viruses. Its use as an astringent, where it is more effective than icepacks, is well known.


Apple cider vinegar specifically has been cited as a remedy for acid reflux, or gastroesophegeal reflux disease (GERT). D.C. Jarvis' bestselling book "Folk Medicine" promoted its use in 1958, and the remedy has been popular ever since.

Apple Cider Vinegar vs Acid Reflux

But does it work?

Claims of apple cider vinegar's effectiveness are anecdotal at best. It's rarely been tested methodically, the way a drug would be, simply because that kind of research is usually funded by pharmaceutical companies and apple cider vinegar isn't a pharmaceutical product so of no interest to them. The companies that could benefit from it being proven effective don't have the money to fund the kind of research required.

Furthermore, most acid reflux remedies vary widely in their efficacy. They work for some people and don't work for others. Apple cider vinegar may well help some sufferers, but there is no evidence to suggest it would help every person, every time.

It's important to note that acid reflux isn't a "condition" in itself. It's the SYMPTOM of a condition. The real problem is that the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus is weak or compromised, thus allowing stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. Overeating can cause it (when the stomach becomes overfull; acid is forced upward), and so can lying down after a large meal. Those instances are situational. When you don't do the things that cause it, you don't get heartburn.

If you suffer from acid reflux regularly, even without overeating, it may be a chronic condition that requires treatment. That's where remedies like apple cider vinegar come into play. The Internet is teeming with anecdotes about its usefulness, with almost as many articles explaining that it's nothing more than folklore. But try telling that to the people for whom it has worked!

Why the variance in opinion?

Clearly some cases of acid reflux being cured by apple cider vinegar are just psychosomatic: The sufferer believed it would work, and so it did. In other cases, perhaps the heartburn would have gone away on its own whether the patient drank apple cider vinegar or not.

And there is the possibility that it actually does work for some people. As mentioned, different remedies work for different people when it comes to GERD. It's hard to cite any one cure as THE best option in every case. The point is, don't pin all your hopes on a folk remedy whose usefulness is anecdotal and unproven.

However, if you are interested to see if it can help your GERD, you could try taking up to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz of water, adding a little honey to taste. Giving it a try won't hurt (once you get past the bitter taste), and if it doesn't work, you can move on to something else.

Apple Cider Vinegar vs Acid Reflux

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