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Apple Cider Vinegar Is a Weird Remedy for Heartburn

Taking a spoonful or two of apple cider vinegar mixed in water is a popular remedy for heartburn. While not everyone finds it helpful, many people do.
Apple Cider Vinegar Is a Weird Remedy for Heartburn
Apple cider vinegar in bottle with apple summer day

Do you have a favorite remedy for heartburn? Some people rely on drugstore antacids such as Tums or Maalox. Others take medication such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or omeprazole (Prilosec). But plenty of readers prefer a home remedy for heartburn symptoms. Have you ever tried apple cider vinegar for that discomfort? Enthusiasts swear by it.

Apple Cider Vinegar as a Remedy for Heartburn:

Q. I took prescription meds for GERD [gastroesophageal reflux disease] for ten years. Finally, I tried apple cider vinegar after my evening meal. Although it seemed counterintuitive, it worked! I’m pleased to have found this remedy for heartburn.

I also sleep with the head of my bed raised. I use the things they sell to raise all bed legs for under-bed storage, but only put them under the headboard feet.

I’m happy to be med free so I don’t need to worry about side effects. I didn’t go cold turkey with the meds but weaned off them gradually. We have stomach acid for a reason–to digest our food. If we don’t digest it properly, we can’t absorb the nutrients in it.

A. Thanks for sharing your story. Doctors frequently recommend sleeping with the head of the bed raised to minimize nighttime reflux. Apple cider vinegar is a popular remedy for heartburn. Although it has not been studied in a clinical trial, doctors are beginning to take notice of its use (Current Gastroenterology Reports, July 10, 2019).  Naturopaths have adopted the use of apple cider vinegar and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) to treat reflux (Integrative Medicine, Aug. 2018). 

A Warning:

Not everyone benefits from this treatment. Occasionally, people report that vinegar makes their heartburn worse. However, people with heartburn may often be able to relieve their symptoms without using drugs. To learn how, you may wish to consult our Guide to Digestive Disorders.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Citations
  • Ahuja A & Ahuja NK, "Popular remedies for esophageal symptoms: A critical appraisal." Current Gastroenterology Reports, July 10, 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s11894-019-0707-4
  • Neiworth-Petshow EM & Baldwin-Sayre C, "Naturopathic treatment of gastrointestinal dysfunction in the setting of Parkinson's disease." Integrative Medicine, Aug. 2018.
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