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Probiotics in Active-Culture Yogurt Worked to Overcome Resistant Heartburn

Q. I have had severe heartburn problems for 15 years. I have tried Nexium, Prilosec and many other over-the-counter medicines.

I knew that coffee triggered my heartburn, but I could not give it up. After one bad attack I started eating yogurt each morning. I’ve been free of heartburn, even after three cups of coffee.

I mentioned this to a friend whose husband also had a severe heartburn problem. He tried eating yogurt each evening, and he has also been heartburn-free.

There must be something in the yogurt that is keeping heartburn at bay. What might it be?

A. Japanese researchers confirm your experience (Pharmaceuticals, June 25, 2014). People with persistent heartburn who had not achieved symptom relief with acid-suppressing drugs took yogurt with active Lactobacillus daily for three months. This probiotic treatment improved symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Although coffee is considered a prime culprit in causing GERD, a recent meta-analysis determined that there is no significant association between heartburn symptoms and coffee intake (Diseases of the Esophagus, May-June, 2014). Despite this research, if you have noted that coffee is a trigger for you, that is worth keeping in mind.

You may be interested in the other remedies for reflux that you will find in 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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