You’ve probably heard of turmeric and its anti-inflammatory properties. However, a newer compound called curcumin is making the rounds as a remedy for many ailments, including acid reflux.
Curcumin is a type of phytochemical that’s been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and it can help treat a number of health conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Autoimmune diseases
In fact, it’s been shown to be effective against a number of these conditions. However, the studies on curcumin for acid reflux are mixed at best.
The Mayo Clinic notes that curcumin may help relieve acid reflux symptoms in some people. However, it also notes that it’s not clear if curcumin is helpful for heartburn.
Curcumin does appear to help with inflammation in the stomach, which can make acid reflux symptoms worse.
Other studies have shown that curcumin may be helpful for heartburn, but it’s unclear if it can help prevent or manage heartburn.
Are curcumin and ginger supplements effective at reducing acid reflux?
Curcumin can be found in turmeric, a spice that’s traditionally used to treat inflammation. It’s also an ingredient in some ghee, which is a cooking oil that contains a high amount of unsaturated fats.
Ghee contains a certain type of polyphenol called curcumin, which has been shown to help reduce inflammation.
Ginger is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications, which can be beneficial for some people with acid reflux. It’s also known to help with heartburn.
However, ghee isn’t the same thing as curcumin, and it’s not clear if it can reduce acid reflux symptoms.
What about ginger oil?
Ginger oil is an alternative remedy for heartburn. However, it’s unclear if ginger oil is effective at treating acid reflux.
Ginger oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain caused by acid reflux. It’s also been linked to reducing the risk of heartburn, but there are no studies on ginger oil and acid reflux.
What about ginger capsules?
Ginger capsules are another popular OTC remedy for heartburn. They’re used to treat mild to moderate heartburn, although ginger oil is less effective in comparison.
A review of studies on ginger supplements for heartburn found that ginger and other non-grapefruit compounds are more effective than ginger supplements for heartburn.
However, other studies have found that ginger supplements haven’t been shown to be helpful for heartburn.
Ginger supplements are also known to have some side effects, including upset stomach and upset stomach.
What else can I do?
If you’re having acid reflux symptoms, there are a few other things you can do to help:
- Eat smaller meals more regularly, and eat smaller meals at a time.
- Stay well hydrated.
- Eat foods that reduce inflammation, such as those with omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil.
- Limit foods that can trigger heartburn.
- Avoid foods, such as chocolate, that can trigger heartburn.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Drink cranberry juice, which may help prevent heartburn.
If you still experience heartburn after trying these home remedies, talk to your healthcare provider.
They can help you find a treatment that’s the best fit for you. You may also want to consider talking with your doctor about prescription medication. They can adjust your treatment to make sure it’s the best fit for your health.
What’s the outlook for acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic condition. Untreated GERD can cause long-term health problems, including:
- Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precancerous condition.
- Stomach cancer.
- Damage to the esophagus.
- Chronic cough.
- Chronic cough and wheezing.
- Chronic bronchitis.
- Chronic sinusitis.
Acid reflux can last for days and even be chronic. If you have acid reflux, you should see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
The doctor can do a proper diagnosis by doing an upper endoscopy. This is an endoscopic procedure that involves a flexible tube with a camera on the end. It allows the doctor to see the inside of your esophagus and stomach.
During the procedure, the doctor can also check for any damage to your esophagus.
If you have GERD, you’ll need to take steps to manage it to prevent it from getting worse.
These steps include:
- Taking antacids to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach
- Taking over-the-counter heartburn medications, such as proton pump inhibitors
- Avoiding certain foods
- Staying hydrated
In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to treat GERD. This is usually a last resort.
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if:
- You’re having heartburn.
- You have a persistent cough or wheezing.
- You have a sore throat.
- You’re noticing blood in your vomit or stool.
- You’re experiencing frequent chest pain.
- You have bloody vomit.
You should also see a doctor if you’ve been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus (pre-cancerous).
You should see a doctor if:
- You’re experiencing severe heartburn that doesn’t improve within a few days.
- You’re having trouble swallowing.
- You have a prolonged cough or wheezing.
- You have chest pain that’s severe or is getting worse.
- You’re having trouble breathing.
How are acid reflux and Barrett’s esophagus treated?
Acid reflux and Barrett’s esophagus are both chronic conditions. If you have acid reflux, you’ll need to take steps to manage it.
If you have Barrett’s esophagus, you’ll need to follow a treatment plan to prevent it from getting worse.
The treatment plan for acid reflux includes:
- Taking antacids to reduce the amount of acid in your esophagus.
- Taking proton pump inhibitors to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach.
- Avoiding foods that trigger heartburn.
- Drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
The treatment plan for Barrett’s esophagus includes:
- Taking medicines to heal the esophagus.
- Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, your doctor may also want to perform an endoscopic exam to look for any changes to the lining of your esophagus.
If you have Barrett’s esophagus, you’ll need to see a gastroenterologist for treatment. This is a doctor who specializes in conditions of the digestive system.
Can you prevent acid reflux?
There are lifestyle changes that can help prevent acid reflux and GERD. They include:
- Avoiding trigger foods.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Drinking plenty of water.
You can also prevent GERD and Barrett’s esophagus by:
- Not smoking.
- Eating a low-fat diet.
- Eating smaller meals.
- Avoiding eating large meals.
- Staying well hydrated.
The bottom line
Acid reflux is a common condition. It’s usually caused by a combination of stomach acid and food and drink (or other) acid. For some people, changes to their diet or lifestyle can help reduce their acid reflux symptoms.
At-home remedies aren’t always effective. There are a few things that you can try.
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