Weird Medicine

Can Milk Help Relieve Heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid moves up to the esophagus. It causes the burning pain in your chest that can affect your daily functions. 

Estimates show that nearly 20 percent of all people in the U.S. already experienced heartburn. There are over-the-counter medications available to reduce its effects but some people manage the condition through diet. 

Milk is one of the potential heartburn remedies that have been getting more attention both from dieters and the scientific community. A number of studies have already been conducted exploring the health benefits of milk for acid reflux. 

Researchers found that calcium and protein from milk could help relieve heartburn. One study that involved nearly 11,700 people showed a link between high intake of dietary calcium and lower acid reflux in men.

Calcium has an acid-neutralizing effect and is an essential mineral for muscle tone. GERD commonly causes people to have weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that works to block stomach contents climbing to the esophagus.

Another study with 18 people diagnosed with heartburn showed that intake of calcium carbonate increased LES muscle tone in 50 percent of the participants. The enhanced muscle function may help prevent heartburn, researchers said. 

Protein is another nutrient from milk that could help reduce the effects of heartburn. An analysis of the health of 217 patients with the condition found that high protein intake helped cut their risk of experiencing heartburn symptoms.

Researchers said the nutrient plays a role in gastrin secretion, a hormone involved in LES contraction. Protein also helps in gastric emptying, which reduces stomach contents that may move up to the esophagus.

Potential Side Effects of Milk 

Despite offering a number of health benefits, milk may also make heartburn worse. One cup or 245 ml of whole milk contains 8 grams of fat. 

Previous research suggested that fatty foods could trigger heartburn. High-fat foods reduce the functions of LES muscles, which enables stomach acid to climb up, according to Healthline

Fats could also delay gastric emptying. Slower rate of stomach emptying may expose esophagus to gastric acid. But there are low-fat options for those who wish to continue drinking milk. The list includes goat’s milk or almond milk.

However, health experts noted milk may work differently in every individual depending on how their body would tolerate the beverage. The use of milk for heartburn relief also lacks scientific evidence. 

milk Many people have been using milk to reduce the effects of heartburn due to its reported health benefits that could help manage stomach acid. Pixabay

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