You feel heartburn when the stomach's acids reflux into the esophagus, the tube that runs from your stomach to your mouth. According to Dr. Benjamin C. Wedro, the reflux can be caused by factors such as a hiatal hernia, pregnancy, obesity and smoking. Other causes can be eating too close to bedtime or ingesting high-fat content foods, caffeine, carbonated beverages or chocolate. One home remedy suggests that taking a mix of vinegar with water can help, but vinegar is acidic, and acidic foods make Dr. Wedro's list of items to avoid.
Vinegar is made in two stages, the first which converts sugars to alcohol, and a second that converts the alcohol to acid. Most household vinegar contains 4 to 5 percent acetic acid. White distilled vinegar is made from grain and diluted with water to a 5 percent acidity.
Most home remedies involving vinegar and heartburn recommend apple cider vinegar, claiming that distilled white vinegar has nutrients stripped out during distillation. The remedy is to drink a mix of 1 to 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water.
No Medical Backing
There is no medical proof that ingesting more acid can help with acid reflux or heartburn. Dr. Mehmet Oz, the popular doctor featured on television talk shows, says apple cider vinegar is a great way to exfoliate your face, but there is no proof that it relieves heartburn.
No Other Benefits
There is also no proof that acetic acid has any value as a health food. According to a 1997 issue of Nutrition Forum: While the folksy anecdotes from those who claim to have benefited from apple cider vinegar tonics may be amusing to read, they are simply that — anecdotes."
Ingesting any type of vinegar without diluting it can cause harm. A Chinese folk remedy of drinking undiluted vinegar to soften or dislodge fish bones left one woman with second-degree caustic burns to her esophagus. Vinegar's acidity can also damage tooth enamel, another reason the remedy calls for diluting it with water.
- WashingtonPost.com: The Checkup — Cider Vinegar Heartburn Cure?
- Nutrition Forum, Nov.-Dec. 1997: The Sour Truth about Apple Cide Vinegar - Evaluation of Therapeutic Use
- DrOzFans: Home Remedy for Heartburn - Apple Cider Vinegar
- BackwoodsHome.com: Vinegar
- RXlist.com: Heartburn
- HKMJ.org: Corrosive Esophageal Injury following Vinegar Ingestion