Q: Can drinking pickle juice help your acid reflux symptoms?
A. There are people who swear that drinking pickle juice is a good home remedy for acid reflux. Their thought process? It’s an easy way to get abundant amounts of gut-healthy Lactobacillus bacteria, which naturally occurs on the skin of a growing cucumber.
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What people may not realize is that these beneficial probiotic bacteria are usually removed during processing and fermentation so that the true benefit may be negligible. Despite all this, power of suggestion and of the mind can never be underestimated.
Other people swear by taking vinegar (which is also a common ingredient in pickle juice). However, the benefits of doing this are extremely subjective. Some people report it to be somewhat helpful. Perhaps, the overpowering pungent smell and taste of vinegar wipes out their ability to notice their own heartburn. Others note that taking vinegar seems to make their heartburn worse — so it’s very patient-dependent.
If you’re looking for a natural remedy for chronic acid reflux (also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD), I recommend the following:
- Eat smaller portions during meals.
- Go for a low-fat heart healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly. Move regularly throughout the day, and avoid sedentary states (sitting, reclining).
- Lose weight if you are overweight; gain weight if you are underweight (ideal BMI is best).
- Avoid constipation or incomplete evacuated states.
- Avoid known triggers (smoking, alcohol, heavy or fatty meals, excessive caffeine or raw onions). Also, don’t exercise immediately after eating (make sure you wait a few hours before exercising).
These are all natural, proven ways to help lessen acid reflux symptoms.
— Gastroenterologist Christine Lee, MD