The People's Perspective on Medicine

How to Overcome Heartburn with Probiotics

Taking a probiotic supplement regularly helped one couple overcome heartburn and Barrett's esophagus. Might it help your digestive problem?

The medications doctors prescribe most frequently for digestive problems may lead to serious side effects. As a consequence, many people would prefer to find natural ways to overcome heartburn. One couple reported on a simple solution.

Probiotics to Overcome Heartburn:

Q. After many years, my wife and I suspected that some of our problems were due to her Nexium and my Prilosec. We both opted for probiotics instead.

That was four years ago. We had no trouble quitting, and we have not had heartburn since starting our probiotic regimen. I am no longer diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus. We use a product that has over 60 billion organisms per dose, including ten strains of bacteria plus a prebiotic.

Billions of Bacteria in the Digestive Tract:

A. The importance of the bacteria living in the digestive tract (the microbiome) has become increasingly clear in recent years. Healthy people seem to have a diverse collection of such bacteria, while those with diseases have less diverse microbes. Recent research has shown that people who consumed a specific probiotic yogurt every day changed their bacterial balance and reduced their problems with indigestion (BMJ Open Gastroenterology, online Sep. 16, 2016).

The field of probiotic therapy is still developing. We look forward to a time when doctors will be able to specify which probiotic strains will be most helpful to overcome heartburn or manage another digestive problem. Lactobacillus johnsonii #1088, for example, counteracts disease-producing bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli O-157 and Clostridium difficile (Microbiologyopen, June 2015). It also suppresses acid secretion and could help overcome heartburn.

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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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I had the H.Pylori bacteria which caused an ulcer. I went through the triple treatment which included a PPI and 2 antibiotics. I figured the PPI couldn’t hurt, since I’ve battled Acid Reflux for many years but tried many natural remedies which only worked for short periods. Well the PPI temporarily stopped the reflux, but it came back shortly after finishing the treatment for the bacteria. I’d been reading about probiotics and started taking them on my own, didn’t ask the doctor. I took my one capsule per day as directed on the bottle. After 2 months, I was ready to discontinue taking them since I was still having reflux. Then, my reflux started decreasing. It continued to decrease, and I now do not have acid reflux. The brand I use is called Fortify. It has 50 billion cfu.You can get it at WalMart. It’s just the one I chose. Lots of other brands of probiotics which are peobably just as good. Just do some research.

I use Yogi Stomach Ease tea and that seems to help especially before I go to bed.

I have refused to take heartburn medication and sometimes it is rough. I take apple cider vinegar at night and that helps but I still wake up most nights. After reading this I started taking the probiotic at night instead of the am and problem has been solved. I just get the buy one, get one at the drugstore. Might have lucked out on the brand but it works. I still do the vinegar with the mother.

I started eating a pickle instead of vinegar after seeing Mary’s suggestion. It works and tastes a whole lot better. Still doing the probiotics at night. Heartburn solved.

People with heartburn and acid reflux will benefit without OTC medication or prescription by eating a pickle of their choice with their meal. Just try it.

I just started the Bio Amicus, it says for infants and children but it said adults can take it too. I’m on day 2. I will let you know my results.

Since submitting the article re the experience my wife and I had with the probiotics and its effect on heartburn, we continue to use probiotics for heartburn. I have had feedback from friends who have tried it and not all people get relief from heartburn using probiotics.

My wife and I, in addition to the probiotic, made some changes in our diets as well as eating earlier. The brand of probiotics we use are purchased on-line through Swanson. Search for Swansons brand “Ultimate Probiotic Formula”.

At last, check each capsule contains 66-billion organisms; with 12-strains plus the prebiotic. The price varies, but generally ranges $10 to $15 for a 30-day supply. I was first introduced to probiotics by a PBS article hosted by Brenda Watson who is a natural health practitioner specializing in digestive care and nutrition. She has written several articles on the subject.

As to those are cursed with Peripheral Neuropathy; check out a product called “The Rebuilder”. http://www.rebuildermedical.com/. Its not a cure, but I have used this device for 7-years; it has given me relief that lets me sleep. Go to their site, do your homework and make your own determination.

I can’t thank you enough for your contribution! I have had chronic giant hives off and on for almost 50 years, and during an outbreak my physician suggested a probiotic. It helped immensely, but my voice became very hoarse, and my larynx was very inflamed. I was sent to a GI specialist, who prescribed what became very high doses of omeprazole. This didn’t help at all.

I saw your post in the Chicago Tribune, and fortunately also saw a recommendation for a certain type of pro-biotic. I switched to them in June 2017, and by December 2017 my larynx and voice were normal. I had stopped all the omeprazole, and I can even sing a little again! Many, many thanks for all the great information, both in the column and from wonderful contributors like George!

I have taken Prilosec for many years and don’t like taking it but the probiotics didn’t stop the heartburn and backing up. I don’t know why. I only take one capsule daily in the am. I don’t want to take the Prilosec but I can’t stand the heartburn.

What kind of probiotic did you take? Can you tell me the brand? Prebiotic?

Would the writer of the article on how he overcame heartburns and Barrett’s oesophagus by taking probiotics tell us the brand of the probiotic product he takes ? I have just finished a treatment of Pantoprazole for esophageal ulcers. The ulcers have healed and I would like to wean myself off the lower dose of Pantoprazole that I take daily. but I don’t want to have anymore painful heartburns and ulcers. I would very much like to try probiotics.

I wonder what probiotic product has that many organisms.

I also take Pantoprazoles SOD due esophageal ulcers, I was in denial changed my diet,
but a recent endoscopy within a 4 month follow up still showed up. I’m back on that drug
all I’m saying, get another endoscopy throat cancer is nothing to mess with. I am taking a Probiotic it doesn’t cover 12 strains,but close enough to get my body to build up to so I can go off all these meds.

I was starting to have heartburn more frequently and started to take a PPI whenever it got to almost every day. I knew the side effects of the PPI so I looked for an alternative, so I started taking pieces of raw ginger and consuming it three times a day, the heartburn went away and no need for the PPI pills anymore. Now I take Ginger once a day and I keep the heartburn away. Pretty intense flavor

Will be good to know how to use probiotics for heartburn?

I suffer from GERD and tried probiotics. After several serious and lengthy attempts using probiotics I found that my condition worsened every time I was on this medicine.

We use Healthy Trinity, a refrigerated probiotic. But the one mentioned by the author of this letter sounds even better. Is there a reason why brand names cannot be included? I understand why People’s Pharmacy may not be able to endorse specific brands, but it seems that readers’ letters would be permitted to include such information! Would love the brand or other pertinent info so that others could try for their same success!

After 11 years taking Prilosec and 5 years of Zantac I am finally free from both of them. It has been a long, hard, and sometimes painful, journey. I agree that probiotics helped me to break the cycle. I also think aloe vera and fresh pineapple contributed. I still have neuropathy even though I am not diabetic, which I think was caused by the PPI. Now I am working on that, but don’t have great hope of overcoming it. Aspirin helps, but my stomach won’t tolerate very much of it. I am always willing to try any home remedy you suggest. Keep up the good work.

Hi there, I cannot find a product that has “over 60 billion organisms per dose, including ten strains of bacteria plus a prebiotic” and the only product I can find with Lactobacillus johnsonii is a BioAmicus liquid for infants and it doesnt specify #1088. I am wondering if you can give me some direction for a consumer product that meets the first criteria or contains L.johnsonii #1088. Thanks for your help.

I would really like to know what probiotic they are taking. I got off the proton pump stuff over a year ago. It still suffer terribly with reflux. Would love to try the probiotics.

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