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The Best Probiotics for Acid Reflux: Achieving Lasting Relief

Medically reviewed by 
Dr.
Jessica Christie
 
ND, CNS
The Best Probiotics for Acid Reflux: Achieving Lasting Relief

Acid reflux affects a significant portion of the population, leading to burning sensations and discomfort that can negatively impact your quality of life. Conventional treatments often focus on temporary symptom relief, leaving the underlying issues unaddressed. However, functional medicine takes a different approach – a root cause approach to medicine that dives deeper to identify and correct the imbalances contributing to acid reflux.

Throughout this article, we will explore the best probiotics for acid reflux, their mechanisms of action, and the scientific evidence supporting their efficacy. 

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What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is a common gastrointestinal condition that affects approximately 20% of adults in Western culture. It occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus, causing discomfort and a range of unpleasant symptoms.

When acid reflux becomes chronic and persists over time, it can lead to a more severe condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is characterized by acid reflux occurring at least twice a week for several weeks. 

It's important to note that while occasional acid reflux may be common and harmless, persistent acid reflux occurring at least twice a week for several weeks can lead to GERD, which may cause more severe complications. These complications can include esophageal inflammation, esophageal narrowing, and even the development of precancerous esophageal cellular changes known as Barrett's esophagus.

Acid Reflux Symptoms

The most typical symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, indigestion, and regurgitation. Heartburn is characterized by a burning pain or discomfort felt in the abdomen, chest, and/or throat. Indigestion, or an upset stomach, may occur after eating. Regurgitation refers to the backflow of acidic stomach contents into the throat and mouth, often causing a sour or bitter taste.

These symptoms tend to worsen after meals or when lying down, which can lead to sleep disturbances. Other symptoms of acid reflux may include bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, persistent hiccups, nausea, and sore throat. In some cases, acid reflux can manifest as extraesophageal symptoms, such as chronic cough, asthma, laryngitis, or dental erosions.

Identifying and addressing the root causes of acid reflux is vital for effective management. Lifestyle modifications, such as adopting a well-balanced diet high in fiber, practicing portion control, and avoiding triggers like spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppermint, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol, can help alleviate symptoms. Additionally, stress management techniques, regular exercise, and sufficient quality sleep can contribute to reducing reflux symptoms.

How Do Probiotics Improve Acid Reflux Symptoms?

Recent research suggests that probiotics can play a beneficial role in the management of acid reflux symptoms. Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, offer health benefits to the host. They are known to promote healthy gut microbiota and have been extensively studied for their potential impact on digestive health, including acid reflux.

Studies have investigated the effects of specific strains of probiotics on acid reflux symptoms. The study found that participants who took the probiotic experienced a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of acid reflux episodes compared to those who received a placebo.

The beneficial effects of probiotics in managing acid reflux symptoms may be attributed to their ability to restore the balance of gut bacteria, reduce inflammation, and improve gut barrier function. Probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut microbiota by increasing the population of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.

Furthermore, probiotics have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce irritation and discomfort in the esophagus and stomach lining. By reducing inflammation, probiotics may alleviate the symptoms associated with acid reflux.

It is important to note that the specific strains and dosages of probiotics used in research studies can vary. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a functional medicine practitioner to determine the most appropriate probiotic supplement for individual needs.

What Are The Best Probiotics for Acid Reflux?

In a systematic review of various studies, it was found that probiotics, particularly those from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera, have the potential to alleviate upper gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with GERD. These symptoms include regurgitation, dyspepsia, and other gas-related symptoms. Furthermore, the use of probiotics has been associated with improvements in other GERD-related symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain, and gas-related symptoms like belching and burping.

It's important to note that while these studies have shown promising results, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and effectiveness of probiotics in managing acid reflux symptoms. However, incorporating probiotics into a comprehensive treatment plan for GERD may offer additional benefits.

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The Key To Lasting Relief

In the quest to find lasting relief from acid reflux, a root cause medicine approach offers a promising solution. Acid reflux affects a significant portion of the population, causing discomfort and negatively impacting quality of life. Conventional treatments often focus on temporary symptom relief without addressing the underlying issues. However, by diving deeper into the root causes of acid reflux, we can identify and correct the imbalances that contribute to this condition.

Taking a root cause medicine approach to treating acid reflux can provide lasting relief by addressing the underlying imbalances that contribute to this condition. Incorporating probiotics as part of a comprehensive treatment plan may offer additional benefits in alleviating acid reflux symptoms and promoting overall digestive health. By restoring a healthy gut microbiota and reducing inflammation, probiotics can play a valuable role in managing acid reflux and improving quality of life for those affected by this condition.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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