Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux, develops when stomach contents flow back into the esophagus. It often occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of smooth muscle fibers that separate the esophagus from the stomach, spontaneously opens or improperly closes, allowing food and stomach acids to escape into your food pipe. This irritates and inflames the esophageal wall, leading to heartburn. Treatments usually revolve around over-the-counter medications, but some alternative methods have shown promise --- at least based on their practitioners' claims --- in relieving discomfort. One of the more popular is a combination of apple cider vinegar and baking soda.
Earth Clinic, a website dedicated to folk remedies for a myriad of conditions, recommends mixing ¼ tsp. of baking soda and 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in water to treat acid reflux, namely when new to its use. This is taken two to three times a day on an empty stomach for no more than five days. As you acclimate to the solution, increase the amount of baking soda. If acid reflux is severe, the site advises mixing 2 tbsp. of baking soda with 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in water and taking two to three times a day.
Evidence that combining apple cider vinegar and baking soda will help relieve acid reflux is anecdotal at best. No scientific evidence exists to support such claims. This doesn't, however, mean you won't see an improvement in your condition. Many folk and alternative remedies can relieve discomfort associated with many condition, but talk to your doctor to determine if this treatment can help you.
While there's nothing inherently wrong with taking apple cider vinegar, baking soda or a combination of the two to improve acid reflux, apple cider vinegar isn't without its own side effects. Katherine Zeratsky, a nutritionist writing for MayoClinic.com, cautions the use of apple cider vinegar, largely due to its acidic nature. Even when cut with baking soda, the acid in this product may irritate the throat. It's also known to interact with diuretics and insulin, which may lower potassium levels in the body.
Instead of relying solely on apple cider vinegar and baking soda to relieve your discomfort, talk to a medical professional. Your doctor can suggest the best form of treatment for you. This may entail over-the-counter antacids, H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD); May 2007
- MayoClinic.com; Acid Reflux and GERD: The Same Thing?; Michael Picco; January 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss: Effective?; Katherine Zeratsky; April 2010
- Earth Clinic Folk Remedies; Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar; July 2011