Acid reflux, along with indigestion and heartburn, is an upper digestive problem that can have unpleasant symptoms. Examples include pressure or feeling heavy after eating, difficulty swallowing, stomach pains, and bloating.
Acid reflux is often the result of gastric juices flowing up the esophagus. This leads to a burning sensation that travels upwards, which can become worse as the individual lies down.
Some people with chronic acid reflux may be experiencing GERD, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. Acid reflux is one of the primary symptoms of GERD, though others may also experience chest pain, nausea, and a continuous cough.
If you’re looking for a natural way to ease acid reflux, or other related issues, like heartburn and indigestion, keep reading. You’ll find some effective natural supplements that can ease acid reflux below.
Natural Supplements For Acid Reflux
Before we get into the different supplements, remember that everyone is different, so no one supplement is more effective than the rest.
Some supplements may suit certain people better than others, so you may need to try a few different options until you find one that suits you.
Melatonin may aid GERD symptoms by protecting the intestines and stomach.
A 2013 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences discovered that individuals with persistent stomach ulcers and GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) had lower average melatonin levels.
The researchers concluded that lower amounts of melatonin in the GI tract could lead to the advancement of several stomach and intestinal disorders.
Acid reflux may also lead to symptoms like epigastric pain. A study in 2010 concluded that oral melatonin was an effective treatment against epigastric pain, GERD, and heartburn.
Another 2010 study looked at whether melatonin could be used to treat GERD. Participants treated with melatonin and a combination of melatonin and omeprazole displayed improved GERD symptoms.
However, the results indicated that while melatonin could be a promising GERD treatment, omeprazole was a better line of treatment than melatonin alone.
Melatonin doses vary, though most people take 3 milligrams at night.
One study suggests that melatonin doses up to 6 mg may be effective at treating GERD symptoms, but consult your medical provider to make sure increased doses are suitable for you.
Betaine hydrochloride may help acid reflux, indigestion, or heat burn, if they are the result of poor gastric HCL secretion.
Hypochlorhydria is a condition where the body cannot produce enough stomach acid. Some symptoms linked with high stomach acid may really be the result of low stomach acid. A lack of HCL can also lead to gas, bloating, and heartburn half an hour after eating.
Taking an HCL supplement may help supply the body with the acid it’s not producing. A 2013 study looked at participants with hypochlorhydria and found that betaine hydrochloride temporarily lowered their gastric pH level.
The advised dosage for adults that need HCL replacement therapy is one to two 500 mg capsules, three times a day. These need to be taken with meals and should contain a fungal protease or pepsin to help break down protein.
Never take HCL on an empty stomach, always have a few bites of food beforehand. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an active peptic ulcer, consult your doctor before taking HCL.
Alginate is a dietary fiber that’s located in brown algae cell walls. It can impressively hold 200 to 300 times its weight in water, which makes it a natural gelatinous substance.
If alginate is taken with other agents, like calcium carbonate, it creates a useful raft. This drifts on top of the stomach contents, preventing gastric contents from traveling up into the esophagus.
This 2001 review of studies looked at whether alginate raft formulations were an effective treatment for acid reflux and heartburn.
The conclusions were that alginate rafts could perform as a barrier to food and acid reflux. Instead of performing like a cork, the raft acts as a mobile sealant that travels to the esophageal area as a result of gastric pressure. The raft then travels back to the stomach when gastric pressure falls.
The alginate blend will travel through the intestine until it’s partly digested, acting like other dietary fibers until it leaves the body.
Typical alginate suspension dosages lie between 400 to 1,000 mg after every meal, half an hour before bedtime.
If you’re taking it at night, take the alginate half an hour before bed and avoid lying down for another half an hour.
Artichoke Leaf And Ginger Root
Delayed gastric emptying, known as gastroparesis, is when the stomach cannot rid itself of food normally. Some symptoms include heartburn, acid reflux, and vomiting.
A random placebo study from 2016 found that a blend of artichoke lead and ginger extract encouraged gastric emptying after eating meals.
The gastric emptying effects from ginger root and artichoke leaf may improve impaired stomach motion and indigestion. This may aid some gastroparesis symptoms, like heartburn or GERD.
The dosage from the study involved 100 mg of artichoke extract and 20 mg of ginger extract, twice a day.
It’s advisable to only consume ginger in moderation, as taking over four grams of ginger in 24 hours may lead to more heartburn symptoms.
DGL – Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice
DGL, known as deglycyrrhizinated licorice, is a natural product. It’s created by taking glycyrrhetinic acid out from licorice as it can increase blood pressure.
A 2014 study found that DGL increased the quantity and quality of mucus. This can act as a protective barrier against acid in the esophagus and stomach. The mucus barrier gives impaired tissues a chance to heal and prevent acid reflux occurrences later on.
Herbal supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so supplement dosages can vary. Most products advise one to two chewable DGL tablets 20 minutes before meals, for 8 – 16 weeks.
Always consult your doctor before taking DGL, and avoid using it if you’re taking any substances which decrease your potassium levels.
Mastic gum is a natural substance sourced from the mastic tree’s resin.
A placebo-controlled study found that 77% of participants with indigestion (dyspepsia) that took mastic gum 350 mg three times daily for three weeks displayed improvements in heartburn, stomach pain, and upper stomach pain symptoms.
Typical doses advised for healthy adults lie between 1 to 2.8 grams orally each day, for a maximum of three months.
Advice On Which Supplement To Take For Acid Reflux
Here is some advice to help you choose a supplement, based on your current circumstances.
People that are pregnant, obese, or have hiatus hernias may see success with alginate raft therapy. Overweight individuals may see their symptoms improve after losing weight.
Irritation After Particular Foods
Acid reflux symptoms may be the result of consuming alcohol, fatty foods, spicy foods, or carbonated beverages. Avoiding these foods is effective, alginate raft therapy and DGL may help occasionally.
Lack Of Digestive Enzymes Or Hydrochloric Acid
Poor stomach acid production can lead to acid reflux and heartburn symptoms, as well as bloating and gas half an hour after eating. Trialing HCL supplements at their advised dosage level may be useful.
Heartburn Or Acid Reflux At Night
Alginate raft therapy and melatonin can be effective, particularly if the symptoms are making it harder to sleep.
The Bottom Line
Acid reflux symptoms, along with heartburn and indigestion, can involve unpleasant symptoms. Though natural supplements may help, taking on healthy lifestyle changes can be more effective.
Sitting down to eat, taking smaller bites, and being mindful during meals can help prevent these symptoms later. If they occur at night, raising your bed’s head a few inches may help reduce symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.
Remember to consult your doctor if any of these supplements don’t help your symptoms, as they may be indicative of another condition.