Supplements for Acid Reflux

5 Amazing Supplements for Acid Reflux (That Work Fast!)

How to Stop Acid Reflux

In this post you will learn how you can use a handful of supplements to quickly and easily to eliminate acid reflux for good! We will cover the following topics:

Causes of Acid Reflux

A lot of advice exists to help you manage your acid reflux ranging from exercise routines to diet plans. While helpful, most, including prescription medications, focus on managing or reducing the discomfort cased by your symptoms. They do little to nothing to address the actual causes of your reflux.

This is much like putting some ice on your toe after you bang it on some furniture in the middle of the night. It helps reduce the swelling, which may make help you feel better, but it doesn’t keep you from banging your toe again tomorrow night!

To Heal, You Need To Address The Cause Of Your Reflux

So, to resolve your reflux, it is important to start with an understanding of the actual root causes of acid reflux. Once you understand the root causes, you can then work to eliminate them.

I suffered with reflux for more than 15 years and over that time I estimate having spent more than $6,000 on prescription, over the counter medications and antacids. How much time, money, and anxiety have you spent addressing your reflex? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

The amazing thing, is remedies such as the one described in this article are simple, fast, and inexpensive. Sadly, however they are little known because of the prevalence of acid blocking medications and antacids.

Low Stomach Acid

The first thing you need to understand is that reflux is not caused by high acidity. It’s actually caused when the ring of muscles between your stomach and throat fail to close tight enough to form a seal, thereby allowing stomach contents to escape.

If You Have Reflux, Here Is Why

These muscles are known as the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and the Diaphragmatic Sphincter. If you were like me, prior to reading this, you probably never heard of these muscles. Knowing they exist now, it probably wouldn’t surprise you, that they are very same muscles responsible for keeping your stomach contents contained when you bend over or hang upside down! These WebMD article and Nature.com provide detailed diagrams of the LES and diaphragmatic sphincters. They explain:

“The upper esophageal sphincter (UES) is a bundle of muscles at the top of the esophagus. The muscles of the UES are under conscious control, used when breathing, eating, belching, and vomiting. They keep food and secretions from going down the windpipe.

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a bundle of muscles at the low end of the esophagus, where it meets the stomach. When the LES is closed, it prevents acid and stomach contents from traveling backwards from the stomach. The LES muscles are not under voluntary control.” – WebMD

As the article covers, this ring of muscles is not under voluntary control. If they were, you could just contract them as you do most other muscles in your body and problem solved! Unfortunately it is not that easy. In fact, your body signals them to close through a complex mechanism created by high acidity and the pressure buildup that occurs when food is digested.

If Your Acidity Gets Too Low, The Muscles Will Not Close

That being said, if your stomach acidity gets too low, there is not sufficient pressure or acidity to cause the muscles to contract.

As a result, the sphincters do not seal fully, and stomach contents and vapors are allowed to travel up into your throat (as shown in below diagram).

Lower Esophageal Sphincter

Low Acidity Also Leads To Indigestion

The truth is, open sphincters alone are enough to cause reflux. Unfortunately, however, this is not the only side effect of low acidity. You see, a highly acidic environment is necessary to efficiently digest food as well. If digestion does not occur, food can sit on your stomach (indigestion) for hours, increasing the likelihood for reflux to occur.

Causes of Low Stomach Acid

As covered in articles like this Healthline article, the primary causes of low stomach acid include:

  • Stress — Stress reduces the production of stomach acids, this unbalance disrupts LES function
  • Aging — As your stomach acidity naturally declines as you get older
  • Hiatal Hernia — A hiatal hernia can contribute to the weakening of the LES or vice versa
  • Surgery — Surgeries can halt the production of stomach acids, this unbalance disrupts LES function
  • Obesity — Being overweight exerts pressure on the stomach which may contribute to regurgitation of stomach contents
  • Smoking — Smoking can contribute to a weakening of the LES
  • Drinking — Excess drinking can cause a weakening of the LES
  • Medications — Asthma, blood pressure, depression medications, sedatives, antidepressants, narcotics, and tranquilizers
  • Asthma — Studies have linked excess coughing, pressure on lungs, and medicinal impacts on LES strength
  • Peptic Ulcers — Causes reflux as food does not move from the stomach to the small intestine efficiently
  • Pregnancy — Higher levels of progesterone can relax the LES; in addition, the fetus exerts pressure on the stomach
  • Acid Reflux Medications — Surprisingly, studies show acid blocking medications and antacids reduce acidity which blocks signals to close the LES

Your Acid Reflux Medications Are Contributing To The Problem

Yes, you read the last item on the list correctly… The top items in the list likely stated you down the path of reflux, but the very medications you may be taking to manage your reflux are actually further reducing your acidity and increasing the frequency and likelihood of reflux symptoms!

How could that be you might ask? Well, there are three classes of reflux medications, H2 blockers, Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI), and antacids. Each of which are designed to suppress your acidity as a means to manage your reflux. In doing so, they are only addressing the symptom, not addressing the problem. Remember our above example with the ice and the toe?

Acid Reflux Medications Were Never Meant For Routine Acid Reflux

In fact, these medicines were originally designed to help with severe inflammatory issues and to manage stomach ulcers which could be damaged by the highly acidic hydrochloric acid (HCl) your stomach naturally produces to digest food.

As your doctor informed you, these medicines were never intended to be used for more than 6-8 weeks. Unfortunately, they do such a great job mitigating symptoms in the short term, they end up becoming a patients long term choice, despite the warnings from their doctor.

If you are like me, you may have tried to get off of the medication at one point, only to find that the rebound symptoms were worse than when you first got on them!

The very ugly truth is the very medicines you are taking to help with your acid reflux, are digging a bigger hole.

Note: If you have been on these acid reflux medications for long, you will want to keep reading. Near the end, I will explain how you can overcome some of the awful side effects of poor mineral absorption caused by extended reflux medication use.

An Unbalanced Digestive System Causes Other Problems

What you also need to understand is, once pH balance (measure of acidity) and digestive system gets off track, your body can no longer fight off harmful bacteria in your gut.

A healthy digestive system requires very high acidity and has a balance of beneficial enzymes and bacteria that aid in the process of breaking down food.

Enzymes break down larger molecules like fats, proteins and carbs into smaller molecules that are easier to absorb across the small intestine.

Now that you understand high acidity is required for healthy digestive process, and to cause your sphincters to close, you may be wondering what you can do to quickly restore this balance.

In the next section, I will explain the three supplements I found that helped me restore my digestive balance and get off these medications for good.

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Digestive Enzyme Supplements For Acid Reflux

Digestive Enzymes For Acid Reflux

The first of three supplements I found are Digestive Enzyme supplements, which help compensate for low acidity and help the body breakdown proteins, fats, milk sugars, fiber and carbohydrates.

You take one with every meal to support digestion and alleviate indigestion.

For each of the three supplements, once your body reaches normal digestive efficiency with no reflux symptoms, you can discontinue this supplement.

   

 

5 Amazing Supplements for Acid Reflux

HCl Supplement For Acid Reflux

The second, but arguably most important supplement is Betain HCl.

Watch this video by Dr Eric Berg:

Recommendation is to take them with every meal to encourage your body’s natural hydrochloric acid and pepsin production. The key with HCl, is to use the proper dose with meals. I explain this below, and you can optionally get my free transition guide and personal journal that goes into more detail.

Pepsin is one of the primary digestive enzymes that helps you break down proteins into smaller components.

For each of the three supplements, once your body reaches normal digestive efficiency with no reflux symptoms, you can discontinue this supplement.

   

 

How to take Betain HCl

HCl is tremendously beneficial to digestive health when taken properly:

  • Those with ulcers should not use HCL.
  • Individuals taking medicines such as steroids or anti-inflammatories should not use HCL as the combination can damage the GI lining
  • HCL should primarily be taken with meals containing proteins as not as much stomach acid is needed for digesting vegetables and fruits.
  • It is important to figure out the correct dose of HCL so that your sphincters close and you are able to stop taking your reflux medications:

To find your ideal dose:

  1. Eat a protein rich meal; vegetarians can try protein rich sources such as beans, soy, nuts etc...
  2. Start with one 650mg pill (lower dose for vegetarians) in the middle of your meal
  3. Observe reactions in your body, specifically in your stomach; you are looking for heaviness or warmth
  4. If you dont observe this, try increasing the dose of HCl with your next meal
  5. Keep increasing until you notice the heaviness or warmth as mentioned above
  6. When this happens you will know your ideal dosage is 1 pill less
  7. Some never experience the warmth, so if your typical reflux symptoms are managed, you are likely at the right dose
  8. You may find that low to no HCl is for meals that are low in protein (easier to digest)
  9. Over time, as your acidity recovers you will find that you need less and less HCl
  10. The warmth will be your signal to reduce your dose
  11. Note that some do not experience the warmth and will just experiment with lower doses periodically to see if can be reduced
  12. When you are down to a single pill per meal, and you get that warmth you have fully recovered from your reflux
  13. At this point, you can discontinue the supplements!

For More Information:

 

Apple Cider Vinegar For Acid Reflux

The last is Apple Cider Vinegar, which is also rich in enzymes and pre-biotics which promote return of beneficial bacteria in your stomach.

Take one with every meal as it additionally can help kill pathogens, including bad bacteria that multiply in low acid conditions.

For each of the three supplements, once your body reaches normal digestive efficiency with no reflux symptoms, you can discontinue this supplement.

   

 

For Those Who Have Been on Reflux Medication For Years

Natural Supplements for Acid Reflux

For many years my acid reflux symptoms were mostly managed by the acid blockers and a ready supply of antacids.

When my symptoms escalated my independent research and my doctor confirmed serious side effects of prolonged PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) usage.

The most common side effects of PPIs (medical term for acid reflux medications) include (I have marked my symptoms in bold):

  • Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • A smooth tongue
  • Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas
  • Nerve problems like numbness, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss
  • Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes
  • Muscle Problems (aches, cramps, spasms, numbness, tingling in hands, arms, feet, legs and around the mouth)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nail and skin symptoms (itch, inflamation, psoriasis)
  • Osteopenia and osteoperosis (low bone density)
  • Painful PMS
  • Dental problems
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety

These are caused by Vitamin B12, Calcium, and Magnesium deficiencies.

These are in turn are due to  inability to properly break foods down so they can be absorbed.

Which ultimately is caused by low acidity as a result of prolonged use of acid blockers.

I don’t recommend taking Calcium supplements as they are an alkaline and counteract new acid production.

Given this, it is best restore your gut’s microbiome which will in turn allow your body to properly process calcium again.

You can take the below B12 and Magnesium supplements daily to restore these extremely vital vitamins.

In my personal experience the positive effects on my sense of touch, vision, and mood were immediate and significant!

B12 For Acid Reflux

Vitamin B12 helps support energy metabolism, nervous system health, and helps convert food to energy

   

 

Magnesium For Acid Reflux

Magnesium is important for many systems in the body, especially the muscles and nerves:

   

 

Wrap-Up

I hope you got value out of this post!

Now,  I want to hear from you:

Which recommendation from this post are you most excited to try?

Are you going to use B12 or Magnesium supplements or are you going to stick with the HCl, ACV, and Digestive Enzymes?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment!

5 Amazing Supplements for Acid Reflux

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Don was an acid reflux sufferer for more than 15 years. With a father and grandfather with the disease, and a medically diagnosed Hiatal Hernia he resigned to the fact that he would take acid blockers for the rest of his life. Dissatisfied with medical advice, he researched the root causes of acid reflux and by solving them was able to eliminate his acid reflux for good!
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Bobby
Bobby
8 months ago

Thank you

Sean McVeigh
Sean McVeigh
8 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

Similar to you I have been on PPIs for years, research and current body tells me need to week off these at earliest. Last endoscopy found polyps and small duodenal ulcer. 40mg omeprazole once daily for 8 weeks to sort acid reflux, heartburn symptoms. 3 supplements or B12 and Magnesium best approach now? Thanks

Sean McVeigh
Sean McVeigh
8 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

I would take your advice on testing the levels as this is a good shout, so will ask doctor to set this up soon and let you know how that fairs. The only major concern I have at present is the brown saliva I bring up in morning, I don’t have it at any other time of day so seems to be a nightitme acid reflux issue. What is your best guestimate on what this could be signalling? I stop eating 4+ hours from bedtime so not sure why this would still be an issue. I asked my doctor if… Read more »

Don Daniels
8 months ago
Reply to  Sean McVeigh

For years I woke with copious saliva in my mouth in the mornings. It wasn’t brown, but it was a significant amount. What I didn’t realize until I got rid of reflux was this actually my body’s response to the reflux. I suspect this is blood mixed with saliva. For you, I suspect this is blood mixed with saliva. Guessing this only happens at night because the blood is from an irritated area of your esophagus (or gums, but I suspect you would feel if they were irritated or sensitive). To test this, try sleeping with your upper torso elevated.… Read more »

Minnie
Minnie
3 months ago
Reply to  Sean McVeigh

Hi Sean, did you find the source of the brown liquid? (Yellow mixed with blood) Same thing is happening to me ever since I got LPR reflux this past month. Also found a polyp and several small ileum ulcers. Hiatal hernia as well 😫. I went to a dentist and he said I have gingivitis and inflamed gums. Do you guys (Don too)think it’s the gums being irritated from the acid reflux in the night showing up in the morning? I sleep elevated and same thing every time I wake up. My drs all think it’s the gums. Thanks

Walter
Walter
8 months ago

After starting the supplements, how long do you recommend still taking acid blockers? I’m on Prilosec OTC (self prescribed for over 10 years now) and I’m trying to find the best way to get off it so far this seems like one of the best ways! Thank you!

Sean
Sean
7 months ago

I typically get heartburn in the evenings about 4 hours after dinner. It’s not a constant burn or regurgitation, but just some burping and with that, a burn sense at the base of esophagus/stomach. It is driven by carbohydrates. If I go low carb, the reflux disappears almost overnight. I did this for 1 week the other week and then reintroduced carbs again. I was fine for 3 days eating all sorts of carbs before heartburn started again. I’ve tried HCl but it seems if I take 1-2 it does nothing and I still get heartburn and I once took… Read more »

Sean
Sean
7 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

I’ve been dealing with it for about 2 years now. Had an EGD done 1year ago which showed h pylori gastritis. That was eradicated with antibiotics. Didn’t help reflux at all. In fact 3 months later I developed c diff from all the antibiotics and I believe I acquired c diff from the EGD procedure. They do about 40 per day and they do BOTH ends of people all the time and they do them back to back. It’s gross. So anyway, I had to go on vancomycin for another 10 days for c diff. Since then I’ve been taking… Read more »

Sean
Sean
7 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I should note that after the hpylori antibiotics and the subsequent c diff infection, I didn’t really have reflux for several months. I had posted that the antibiotics “didnt help reflux at all” — what I meant to say was that I am dealing with reflux today just as much as 2 years ago, however it did subside after h pylori treatment for some time (not sure how long, probably several months). This may have been due to my incredible fixation/obsession on treating/fighting cdiff and I may have just been completely ignoring any reflux, but I think it was probably… Read more »

Sean
Sean
7 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I just tried taking 2x HCl with my meal. I took 1x with dinner last night and it didn’t seem to do anything.

It’s been about half hour and I’m feeling a stomach ache now. Wouldn’t say its a burn, its more a wrenching ache.

So apparently 2x is too many yet 1x does nothing…

Juliet
Juliet
6 months ago

Hi Don thank you for sharing
I have been having bad acid reflux and was prescribed omeprazole. I notice my heart racing and tingling left side of my face. I cannot eat much because of the pain.

Tyla
Tyla
5 months ago

During this Quarantine I have started to have a strange feeling on my throat where it felt strained. From there I began to have abdominal pain/ bloating and constipation. Now unfortunately the pain has moved into my chest as well as my back. I was told by a doctor I had acid reflux. So I’m really hoping the digestive pills you recommended work! Because the pills they have given me have not.

Deborah Rork
Deborah Rork
5 months ago

Hi Don I have been to an ENT. He prescribed me Prilosec it might of helped a little. That was 2 years ago. Today I’m sitting here thinking what do I do. I have a constant throat clearing, cough, & recently I have been having this gagging like symptom. Kinda feels like a little pinch in my throat. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a drink handy. Like right now it is 8:20 am I went ahead and took a Prilosec with a little water. I can feel my throat. I’m having phlegm already. Haven’t… Read more »

KIM
KIM
4 months ago

Thank you so much for this insight. I’ve been diagnosed with reflux about 8 days ago. N placed on PPI. But I can tell exactly when the medication wears off because I’m awoken from sleep with the burning n chest pain and sour taste in my throat. I also don’t like the tingling I’m getting in my legs since. So I’m going to definitely try your recommendations as I don’t think I should be this dependent on medication for life

Tina
Tina
4 months ago

Do you need to be on a special diet in order for one of these methods to work

Tina
Tina
4 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

Thanks Don Is this something that I will have to continue taking or once I have it straightened out I can stop taking

Tina
Tina
4 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

Thanks Don

Rodney May
Rodney May
4 months ago

Hi Don,   I have been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus about 6 months ago. I have been prescribed 40 mg omeprazole twice daily. One 30 minutes before breakfast and 30 min before the evening meal. While the PPI has reduced my acid reflux to almost zero I feel it is important to see if I can reduce or eliminate the omeprazole. Would you agree? Now that I am cutting back I sometimes feel my right sinus start to drain after eating. Is that acid reflux? I have also made other life style changes that I believe has helped. Like eliminating… Read more »

Rodney May
Rodney May
4 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

thanks I will read your transition guide.
 

Ben
Ben
3 months ago

You mention 5 supplements, but I’ve only noticed:

  1. Digestive Enzymes
  2. HCL
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar

 
Am I missing something?
 
Thanks so much for all of this info – stumbling on this has ignited hope in me getting rid of my LPR and doing away with PPIs (I’ve only been on them for one month)

Tristan
Tristan
2 months ago

Hi Don, I’ve been taking the HCL and ACV for about a week, my digestive enzymes haven’t come in the mail yet. I started with 1 of each pill with supper, then a couple days later I started taking them at breakfast as well. I’m still getting reflux and have to take tums or pepto to help, is this normal? I’ve been on ppi’s for years, and am currently on pantoprazole but stopped taking it once I started these supplements. I suspect I have low stomach acid simply because every year it seems I have to take a different ppi… Read more »

Tristan
Tristan
2 months ago
Reply to  Don Daniels

Thanks for your response! I started with 1 HCl and 1 ACV with dinner. Then after doing that for a couple days, I’m now doing 1 HCl and 1 ACV at breakfast, and that same amount for dinner. But I’m finding that I still have reflux daily.

Cassie
Cassie
2 months ago

Don,

How long have you been reflux-free? Completely off supplements?

Can you eat ANYTHING you want now?

Thanks for your responses.

Susan
Susan
24 days ago

Is it safe to use the supplements if you use an antihistamine nasal spray?

Caroline Baker
Caroline Baker
10 days ago

In your experience, are painful tongue and roof of mouth sores ever indicative of reflux (either silent or GERD)? Those are my main recurrent symptoms (for 35 years) that drive me nuts. I don’t have any other overt symptoms of either silent reflux or GERD however, and they get worse if I take probiotics. I know it’s crazy. But you may have very well solved my father’s myriad problems with silent reflux!!

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