Vinegar for Heartburn and Acid Reflux Disease

vinegarIf you suffer from chronic heartburn or acid reflux disease, vinegar could be a simple answer to your problem. I have a story to relate that might make you think twice about the treatment your doctor prescribed or may prescribe in the future.

This vinegar trick may or may not work for you, but it worked for me years after a doctor diagnosed me with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

My History of Chronic Heartburn

For years, before seeing a doctor about it, I suffered from chronic heartburn. It didn’t matter what I ate or drank or when, heartburn would randomly occur. It was so bad, I could drink a glass of water and experience heartburn. Sometimes it was so bad that I also suffered from a lack of sleep, which affected me at work.

In 1996, I finally gave in and went to a military doctor while I was stationed in Phoenix, Arizona. I had eaten chocolate covered coffee beans, and I was suffering badly. The doctor diagnosed me with acid reflux disease (GERD) and prescribed an antacid medication. He also gave me instructions on how to sleep (with my head raised) to prevent the bile from coming up.

Later, while I was in Barstow, California, a military dentist told me he knew I suffered from acid reflux disease for many years due to the erosion on the backsides of my teeth. Unfortunately, he couldn’t save the teeth most impacted by it.

While I was taking antacid medication regularly, I experienced very little heartburn. When I ran out of the pills, the heartburn returned in full force. Later on, I received a large supply of over-the-counter Pepcid AC, large enough to last me well beyond the expiration dates on the packages. It also kept the heartburn at bay until I ran out of it.

From that time until sometime in 2005, I ate Tums and generic Tums-like products like they were candy. The heartburn wouldn’t bother me until I ran out of them.

The Vinegar Trick

In 2005, a close friend of mine suggested I take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar when I started getting heartburn. He told me I needed more acid in my stomach, not less. I found the source of his information months later, but that’s not important.

Later that same day, the familiar burning sensation returned. I thought about what he’d said and started rooting around my kitchen cabinets looking for any kind of vinegar. There was only a bottle of coconut vinegar (my wife, Josie, was cooking with that instead of plain white vinegar at the time).

I downed a tablespoon of the vinegar, and it burned all the way down. Five minutes later, the heartburn was gone, completely! I told myself it wouldn’t last. Miraculously, I didn’t get a heartburn attack again for months (after I moved to the Philippines in 2006). I followed the same procedure and once again rid myself of the heartburn almost immediately.

Acid Reflux is Now a Bad Memory

I won’t lie and say that I haven’t had any heartburn in the last several years. I’ve had a few very mild cases that didn’t last more than a few minutes. Each time, it was after I’d finished eating some very spicy food. Think about that for a minute. I went from having severe acid reflux all the time to having rare occasions of mild heartburn.

What really happened? My digestive system was out of balance and not producing the amount of stomach acid required to digest food properly. Once I put it back into balance, the problem went away.

Other things can cause acid reflux disease, so you really should see a doctor before doing anything like this. If the doctor merely states the obvious and prescribes an antacid, I would recommend giving the vinegar trick a try. It doesn’t matter what kind of vinegar it is. It can’t hurt, except for the burning sensation as you swallow it. Mix it with water if you must.

I no longer worry about eating spicy food, or other things that can cause heartburn. Along with pickles, I’ve taken a liking to eating cucumber slices soaked in vinegar, salt, and pepper. I haven’t used any kind of antacid medication since 2005, not even Tums or Rolaids.

Image by from the USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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