coconut water

Given the increasing list of serious complications from long-term use of popular heartburn medicines such as esomeprazole (Nexium) or lansoprazole (Prevacid), it is little wonder that people are pleased when they find a home remedy that helps ease acid reflux.

Coconut Water for Reflux:

Q. I had such painful heartburn and reflux that it would wake me up in the middle of the night. I read somewhere that coconut water helps with heartburn. I have been drinking about two cups of coconut water for four days, and the heartburn is almost completely gone. I haven’t even had to give up my morning cup of coffee.

I cannot believe the quick response that I had to the coconut water. I also noticed that I’m not getting cramps in my legs at night. A friend said that might be due to the potassium in the coconut water.

A. Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside coconuts. It is a popular beverage in the tropics and is indeed rich in potassium. Coconut water has become popular in North America in recent years, so it is now easy to find in any grocery store.

Testimonials But No Science:

Your story is fascinating, but we have found no research to show that coconut water tames acid reflux. We have, however, heard from another reader who reports:

“Coconut water helps me with reflux. I drink a box every morning and take no meds. When I had to fast for my colonoscopy and drank coffee on an empty stomach, the acid attack returned. Since I was allowed clear juice, I drank coconut water and my stomach was soothed.”

We also heard from Saurian in London:

“I have experienced the exact same effect described by the original poster. I have a hiatal hernia which has been causing me extreme pain for 2 years now. I have been taking omeprazole ever since the problem started, but lately it has stopped helping and the pain was becoming unbearable.

“A friend of mine suggested I drink coconut water to alleviate the pain. I didn’t think it would make much of a difference but I tried it nonetheless. The same night I started drinking coconut water I realized that I had run out of my medication and I would have to wait until after work the next day to get to the chemist to restock. I really wasn’t looking forward to enduring a day without my medication but I went to work anyway.

“It was only when I finished work that I realized that I had suffered no chest pains whatsoever through the entire day. The day before I couldn’t even get through the 30 minute train journey back from work without the pain setting in. The day after drinking coconut water the pain was completely gone!

“I haven’t taken my medication in four days as I’m writing this message and I have felt no chest pain whatsoever. I’m so thankful for it and it feels like I won’t be needing medication any more. All it’s taken is a glass of coconut water in the morning and one in the evening to cause my symptoms to vanish. The speed with which this has happened is astounding!

“I would recommend anyone suffering from acid reflux-related health problems to try this. For me it’s been a life changer!”

In the event coconut water doesn’t do the job for you, we have lots of other home remedies for reflux and heartburn in our book from National Geographic, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

Revised 5/19/16

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  1. Andrea

    I have had acid reflux for pretty much my entire life. I think it’s a genetics thing because my mom’s mom had it and my dad has it. I was diagnosed when I was 13 (like 15 years ago) and I’ve known the tricks to not triggering it for a long time because the attacks are terrible: eating healthy(basically whole foods)/ non spicy (which sucked because I LOVED spicy foods), not eating late, staying propped up at night BUT sometimes, no matter how careful I am I still get one now and then and it is hell.
    I have prescription strength meds for when this happens, as well as the TUMS smoothies (which are 2 tums in 1). Well today/ yesterday (5/18/17) has been just awful. I have had heartburn all day and barely even ate because of it. 8am (5/18/17)-2:30am(5/19/17). Yep. That’s just 5 and a half hours short of 24 hours. I took the prescription meds. I took 8 TUMs smooties (that’s 16 TUMs). Didn’t touch it. I fell asleep briefly and it was so painful that it woke me up and I could feel it creeping up my esophagus. Yep. Awful.
    Well I was talking to my friend Lindsey who is also big into natural remedies and she told me her friend has this problem and drinks coconut water and it’s insta-relief. I was a little skeptical but thought it was worth a try at LEAST and so at 2am I went to the store and got 2 liters of Harvest Bay Coconut Water in a box (I prefer non gmo more natural stuff because I think it’s better for you) and poured an 8oz glass of it. I was like ‘welp I’m probably going to need a ton of this because the other stuff hasn’t touched it’.
    I took one little drink. Maybe a tsp worth because I didn’t really like the taste of it warm and holy shit it was gone. That’s right. I swallowed it and it took the fiery inferno that had been creeping up to my throat all day with it. One. Tiny. Drink.
    Now before you go scoffing at me and thinking I’m bullshitting you, writing this crazy message 7 minutes later in this crazy sense of urgency I have to share it with fellow acid reflux sufferers (let’s face it sometimes these things are a scam) go to the store (yes your local store, this post is just for honest opinions), buy some and try it. 2 liters (they come as 1 liters) of the natural non gmo stuff cost me like $10. I’m sure there are cheaper variations. I spent that much on a huge thing of TUMs today. If you can get away with a natural remedy versus something that will harm your body over time, it’s always worth a shot.
    One little drink. My mind is so blown right now.

  2. Violet

    Me too. I came here to look for backing that coconut helps with reflux, since I experienced relief every time I drink it, and I wanted to know the active ingredient behind it. It could even replace the medicine. There is apparently no research about it yet.

  3. Larry

    créditos rápidos urgentes

  4. Muhammad

    I tried few thing that worked well in my stomach acidity case; 1. Taking Too much water, 2. Fematodine plus omeprazole, 3. Mucaine 4. Chewing gum 5. Avoiding teac, coffee, spicy foods, meat, tomato and pcikles.

  5. Alan
    Houston, Tx

    After reading your column about coconut water, I bought some and started drinking one slug just before bedtime. That was about 4 weeks ago. I have changed from daily Tums, to twice in 4 weeks, and 3-4 times weekly ranitidine to none in 4 weeks. If it is a placebo effect, it is pretty strong. In any event, it seems to be working for me.

  6. SGH

    Re: The coconut water. I bought some at a health food store. Worst tasting stuff I’ve tried in years. How can all of you stand drinking it? Really, I’d be grateful for some feedback. Should I be drinking a flavored water? Or what? I threw out most of the can I purchased. But if it can be helpful, I’d like to try again, if I can find some that won’t taste like poison. Thanks. SGH

  7. Karen
    Corpus Christi

    I was diagnosed with Achalasia, which is a very rare desease. I had to have major surgery to help with this condition, I have horrible acid reflux all the time now. I take several different medicines & still have to use over the counter meds as well. I was told about coconut water & I sure hope that it helps !!!

    • Nataly

      Try the organic one not the can

  8. Marlene Costa
    Mount Dora, FL

    I tried the coconut water, but it did not work for me.
    Another person said that she was taking two Prilosec tabs a week, and I
    have been doing that with some success.

    I also started taking 400 IU’s of Vit E daily for leg/foot cramps. My doctor
    recommended 800 per day, but I am building up to that.

  9. L.

    Several years ago I was put on Previcid, 24 hour, but twice a day. Was very ill, and hospitalized with three stomach ulcers and Ulcerative Colitis.

    When I was put on Previcid twice a day, I was also taking Indocin sustained release for severe arthritis, they immediately took me off of that and later put on Celebrex , the doctors said that was the only NSAID I could take. The Indocin was the only one that helped, due to the severity of the problems I did what they told me to.

    Recently, or relatively recent, I have read about the side effects of PPIs and also found that my Iron and B12 was in the lower normal. I asked my current doctor about getting off of the Previcid, he said I could cut to one, but due to the previous ulcers he said I would be in danger of having another one. He didn’t give meany instructions on stopping one, so I just stopped taking the evening one. Has not been easy but I have continued to take just one. Reading about the problems with PPIs and kidneys, I am worried about taking even one. Any suggestions to help stop taking it without getting an ulcer and the other problems again?

    • Terry Graedon

      The Indocin you were taking was almost certainly behind your previous ulcers. If you are no longer on Indocin, you might be able to use DGL, cimetidine or famotidine and/or antacids such as Tums or Maalox to help you gradually reduce your dose of Prevacid.

  10. Sharon

    Here’s another ‘so that’s what it is”. Waking up in the middle of the night, feeling like I was either having heartburn or a heart attack. It went away after a few minutes. I mentioned it to my GI Dr., & he said, no, it’s your heart. So, I took some expensive tests, and my heart if fine. Next time, I’ll drink some water. Speaking of water, sometimes when I feel heartburn coming on, I drink a couple oz. of plain water, and it seems to help, at least for awhile. A person could do this if they found themselves away from home with no Tums, Pepcid, etc…

    BTW – Which aisle in the grocery store has coconut water?

  11. Rosemary
    Tucson, AZ

    I read by accident about using Bragg’s organic unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar for rebalancing the acid. I stopped taking Nexium several years ago, but still used Pepcid and Rolaids. I figured, why not? So I stopped taking the other stuff, and just swallowed a tsp or two of the vinegar. Sometimes with a water chaser.

    I was stunned actually. After a few days of taking it 2 or 3 times, I took it once a day, then after about a week, I didn’t need to take any more. I stopped all Pepcid, stopped all rolaids. I have take a tsp. of vinegar once in the past week for mild indigestion. I am amazed at how it worked. just be sure to rinse your mouth so the acid doesn’t remain on your teeth.

    A few friends tried this too and also were stunned at how well it worked. It has something to do with an imbalance of the acid . I don’t care how, all I can say is it worked for me. I am so glad, because those PPI’s cause absorption of important vitamins and minerals. Don’t start them if you don’t have to! Getting off of them was like a stomach drug addiction. It was so painful. I was miserable. It took me months to do, and I had to take pepcid and rolaids for the past few years.

    • Nancy

      Coconut water I find in the dairy and the only one I like is Naked brand and I swear by it with my gastritis.

  12. Ali

    Just plain ol’ water helped me. Perhaps it is just the water in coconut water that helped. I have to drink a lot of water, though. That also makes me wonder with OTC remedies, which require you to drink plenty of water with the medication.

  13. Virginia
    Katy, Tx.

    I tried Lifesavers Mints Wint O Green and had great results for heartburn and belcing . Diagnosed with Gerd ,I have had no problems since I started with Lifesavers. 4 during the am and 4 during the pm.

  14. Dutch

    Has anyone tried DGL to coat the stomach? I heard Manuka Hiney and Aloe Vera might also help. I will try the coconut water again. I used to drink it for the potassium.

    • LuLu

      I was diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus and could not tolerate any the PPI meds, so I researched natural alternatives online and came up with Slippery Elm Powder. I put a teaspoon of the powder in a pint jar, added a coffee mug of water, heated it in the microwave to the jar, put the cover on the jar and shook it (the powder will not dissolve by just stirring it), and poured it back in the mug. I drank this anytime I felt heartburn, especially before bedtime or during the night. The next time I had an EGD (6 months later), my gastro told me my B.E. was gone! I shared this natural treatment with 3 other people who used it and had the same results.

  15. SGH

    I hadn’t heard of coconut water before. Where in the grocery store can I find it? Also, would taking coconut oil be effective?

  16. dave

    5 mo ago I had tif operation by Dr. Mars at the Mayo Clinic in Barron Wi for severe acid reflux. The operation went well; she successfully reshaped my upper stomach and repaired a hiatal hernia. My gall bladder was bad so it was taken out also. Taking the gall bladder out caused bile reflux. Since the operation I was getting up 3 times per night to take medication and often felt bad during the day. I suddenly had my symptoms pretty much go away 2 days ago; I had never had a single day without symptoms before. I haven’t taken my sucralfate pills for 2 days. The only change I made was I drink 2 coconut worth of water each day and used saffron for the first time putting it in rice.
    Maybe it was just time for the bile reflux to go away on its own; I never had anything natural work for any condition before for me. Knock on wood I hoping the relief is lasting.

  17. Joi
    Kentucky (USA)

    I have a hiatal hernia along with a lot of intestinal damage from an undiagnosed gluten intolerance that wreaked havoc before I went gluten free. I suffered greatly from acid reflux and heartburn on top of hiatal hernia “events” that were nothing short of hell. I began drinking kefir milk each morning and coconut water throughout the day and am absolutely blown away by the difference. I can actually sleep at night (when my cat allows it!) and enjoy meals again without being afraid of them.

    If anyone has any sort of intestinal problems, I’d recommend coconut water. Also, cutting back on caffeine does wonders to promote healing.

  18. Rob
    Dunsborough Western Australia

    The last few weeks have been mostly free from heartburn. It occurred to me just tonight that of late I,Ve been drinking a couple of glasses of coconut water a day so I believe that is doing the trick. The bonus is that I love drinking coconut water.

  19. Linda

    The coconut water has worked for me as well, although I’ve only used six tablespoons a day for a week. It feels like a miracle to be relieved of the constant pain of GERD, not well managed with meds. The other benefit is the cessation of cravings for food to relieve the pain.

    • Simon S.

      Linda, that’s good to hear, but a little more detail would be appreciated. Do you take it before the meal, with the meal, or after the meal? Thanks!

  20. Heather

    I started 4 cups of ginger lemon tea 2 in morning 2 at night before other meds. I went from 40 nexium down to 20 nexium.

    Thanks sure will try coconut water as well.

  21. Jancil Wooge

    Can eating fresh,unsweetened coconut help with acid reflux
    symptoms? I have had a miserable time with this problem
    and would love to get some relief.

    Jancil Wooge

  22. Virginia
    Lula, GA

    I’ve taken PPIs ever since they came on the market, about 30 years and I still fight the battle. The coconut water is the only thing I haven’t tried, but will. I am on Dexilant now, requiring twice daily rather than one, because my gene analysis says I need more. Perfectly clean scopes. I have found when I get esophageal spasms, which feels like a heart attack, that drinking something cold will stop it immediately. Just a hint for anyone else who might need it.

    • Joanne

      So that’s what that is. I get that very infrequently and it does feel like a heart attack! And I, too, discovered that a drink of cold water immediately stops it.

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