Probiotics, which were an alien concept not so long ago, have now become a household name thanks to the booming research in the field and aggressive claims of their benefits. They are basically the living microbes, predominantly bacteria and yeast. They are safe to consume, and when taken, they assist in balancing or replenishing the natural microbiome of the body. However, people often question, can probiotics help with acid reflux? That would be the premise of our discussion today.
Our bodies are like a jungle, home to countless microbes living in our gut, respiratory tract, mouth, throat, vagina, and skin. All these good microbes constitute the microbiome of our bodies which is distinct for every individual.
Probiotics help maintain the balance of that microbiome, especially in the gut. That is why so many people are adamant about the perks of probiotics when it comes to the gut.
Acid Reflux is a disorder in which acidic contents of the stomach regurgitate to the esophagus, causing a characteristic burning sensation in the lower part of the chest commonly referred to as HeartBurn.
Our stomach secrets substantial amounts of strong hydrochloric acid that is necessary for the digestion of food. The stomach’s walls are immune to harm caused by acid due to a thick mucous layer, but the esophagus is not.
Usually, the Lower esophageal sphincter prevents the content of the stomach from flowing back to the esophagus, but under abnormal circumstances, that acidic content can regurgitate to the esophagus and cause damage to the walls of the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.
Risk Factors of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is the most common gut-related complaint in urban populations. Most of the risk factors of acid reflux are concerned with diet and lifestyle. However, some are unavoidable.
Hiatal Hernia is a disorder related to weakness of the diaphragm that results in the entering of the stomach into the chest cavity through the esophageal opening of the diaphragm. This puts the patients at greater risk of Acid reflux because the clamping action of the diaphragm on the Lower Esophageal sphincter is lost.
Lying down or sleeping immediately after eating results in acid reflux. To avoid this, you should not lie down until after 2 hours of taking a meal.
Apart from being the predecessor of dozens of different diseases, obesity is a major risk factor for acid reflux as well.
A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity can be a huge predisposing factor for acid reflux.
Smoking is also one of the culprits of the burning sensation you feel after eating a heavy meal.
Your eating habits largely define your gut health. “You are what you eat.”
Over-eating and consuming fatty foods can be one reason why you experience acid reflux.
What you are eating is just as important as the amount of food you are eating. If your diet includes higher amounts of these foods, you are more likely to experience acid reflux:
- Carbonated drinks
- Acidic foods or drinks
- Diet low in fiber and high in salt
In addition, certain medications can elicit acid reflux as their side effects. These include antihistamine drugs, drugs for asthma, antidepressants, and painkillers.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
A most typical symptom of acid reflux is the burning in the lower chest region. It is called heartburn because burning seems to originate from the heart, while in reality, it has no connection to the heart.
Acid reflux into your esophagus causes difficulty in swallowing foods. However, swallowing abnormalities could also be because of sinus infection and other disorders.
Acid reflux results in a sour taste in your mouth.
Sometimes acid reflux can make people nauseous.
The acid content of the stomach can erode the walls of the esophagus because it is not protected by mucus. This results in ulceration of the esophagus and hematemesis, the vomiting of blood.
However, hematemesis could result from several other disorders, including esophageal varices and portal hypertension, so a proper diagnosis is mandatory.
In patients with complaints of asthma, acid reflux can cause excessive cough and disruptive sleep patterns. It can also aggravate the already existing asthma.
Burping and Sore throat are also symptoms of acid reflux.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of acid reflux because of the increased pressure on the abdominal viscera.
Role of Probiotics in Alleviating Acid Reflux
Probiotics can help prevent acid reflux and improve overall gut health in the following ways:
They Help In Digestion
Probiotics act to balance the microbiome of the gut. This helps in better breakdown of food, and efficiency of the digestive system is boosted significantly. A properly functioning digestive system is less susceptible to acid reflux.
They Boost Bowel Operation
Probiotics enhance the process of movement of the bowel through the intestine, increasing its speed and minimizing the chances of diarrhea. Bowel movements become more regular and healthy.
Alleviate Gut Discomfort
Some probiotics reduce the symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort such as nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain. This significantly helps reduce acid reflux.
Probiotics increase the good bacteria in the gut, which boosts the overall effectiveness of the digestive process, prevents constipation, and reduces gas production in the gut.
Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Probiotics have a proven role in improving the condition of patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Probiotics That Help With Acid Reflux
Following probiotics have a role in relieving acid reflux:
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Bacillus Subtilis
- Enterococcus Faecium
- Lactobacillus Reuteri
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum
- Bifidobacterium Lactis HN019
Any of these work great for great with acid reflux, but according to the research, Bacillus Subtilis is the most effective one.
Probiotics have a huge role in relieving gut-related ailments, including acid reflux, and this is supported by most of the research. However, probiotics can cause certain side effects like allergies and bloating. That is why it is necessary to consult a medical health professional before choosing a probiotic. By making the right choice for a probiotic, you can improve your gut functioning and stay happy and healthy.