Heartburn is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and 15 million Americans experience heartburn every day. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid refluxing into the esophagus, which can cause a burning sensation in the chest and throat.
A man suffering from heartburn
Stomach acid is produced and regulated by the action of hormones and
neurotransmitters and the only way to reduce the amount of acid produced
by the stomach is by using acid suppressant medication like
H2 blockers (e.g. ranitidine/Zantac) which stop some of the signals to make acid.
The more effective “Proton Pump Inhibitors – PPIs” (eg omeprazole) which stop the stomach producing acid making cells.
While there are many over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help to relieve heartburn, some people prefer to use natural remedies. This is because these remedies often have fewer side effects and are less expensive than prescription medications.
Can coconut water actually relieve heartburn
Coconut water is known to be alkalizing, meaning it can help to neutralize stomach acid and soothe the esophagus. Coconut water is also high in electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium, which can help to balance the pH levels in the body and relieve inflammation. Some people believe that the antioxidants in coconut water can reduce acid reflux and support gut health and many others have testified to the working power of coconut water in relieving heartburn.
It’s true that some people have claimed that coconut water helped to relieve their heartburn symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that these are only anecdotal reports, and not scientific evidence. It’s possible that these individuals experienced a placebo effect.
The placebo effect is a phenomenon that occurs when a person’s health or symptoms improve simply because they believe they are receiving treatment, even if the treatment is actually a fake or ineffective. The placebo effect is often seen in clinical trials, where some participants receive a fake or “placebo” treatment, while others receive the real treatment. In many cases, the participants who receive the placebo report feeling better, even though they have not received any actual treatment. The placebo effect is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including the power of suggestion, the mind’s ability to influence the body, and the natural healing process. It could also be that their heartburn symptoms improved for other reasons, such as changes in diet or lifestyle.
While there are many anecdotal reports of coconut water helping to relieve heartburn, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, some studies have shown that coconut water can actually aggravate heartburn by increasing stomach acid production.
A 2014 study published in the journal Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that coconut water actually increased stomach acid secretion in rats, which can exacerbate heartburn symptoms. Additionally, a 2019 review published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that coconut water had no effect on heartburn symptoms in humans.
What’s the best way to handle gastric acid reflux
To reduce reflux, we must ensure we do not overfill the stomach. Overeating can increase the risk of heartburn by causing excess pressure in the stomach. When the stomach is full, it can push against the LES, causing it to open and allow stomach acid to leak back up into the esophagus. This can be very problematic especially for people with a weak or damaged LES.
In addition to pressure on the LES, overeating can also cause the stomach to produce more acid, which can further irritate the esophagus. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help to reduce the pressure on the LES and reduce the risk of heartburn.
Watch what you eat:
Certain foods can trigger acid refluxing into the esophagus.
Many people often complain of heartburn after eating beans ( black eyed pea) . Other foods such as spicy, acidic, or fatty foods, or foods that are high in sugar can also trigger heartburn therefore it is best to avoid anyone that triggers yours.
Stay upright after meal:
Exercise after food should only consist of gentle upright activity (eg walking which will help the food to pass through the stomach) and not involve bending down.
It is important to keep upright whilst the food moves through the stomach.
Leave at least 3 hours between your last meal and going to bed, raising the head of the bed by 6 to 8 inches, gravity will help keep any residual contents in place and reflux is harder if you lie on your left side.
In general, maintain a healthy weight and avoid tight-fitting clothing, which can put pressure on the stomach and trigger reflux. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and reducing stress, can also help. In some cases, prescription medications or surgery may be necessary to treat reflux.
Coconut water does contain some nutrients that can be beneficial for overall health, but there is no research to suggest that it can directly affect the symptoms of heartburn.
You may take coconut water for its refreshing and sweet taste but not in hope to cure your heartburn.
There are some foods and drinks that can help to soothe the symptoms of reflux. Foods that are high in calcium, such as milk and yogurt, can help neutralize stomach acid and reduce the risk of reflux.
Though studies have shown that certain foods and drinks can be effective in reducing the symptoms of reflux, the evidence is not conclusive. What works for A may not work for B so it’s best to try out various options to understand what works for you.