Does alkaline water help with acid reflux & heartburn?
Acid reflux and heartburn are common digestive symptoms affecting millions of people each year. While there are many over-the-counter and prescription medications available , many people prefer to use natural remedies and explore root causes for these unpleasant symptoms.
With this in mind, our team at zazen Water explore whether alkaline mineral water will help to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux.
What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), is defined as a gastrointestinal motility condition that occurs when the acidic contents within someone’s stomach rises up into the oesophagus and mouth. The oesophagus is the tube within our throat responsible for carrying food from the mouth to the stomach, and it is equipped with a one-way valve that is supposed to prevent food and stomach acid from flowing back up, but if this valve is weak or damaged, acid reflux can occur.
Acid reflux affects millions of people across the world – in fact, approximately half of all adults are expected to report symptoms of acid reflux at some point in their lives. Whilst it does not usually last long, acid reflux can be both painful and uncomfortable.
For some people, however, acid reflux can be a chronic condition, occurring several times a week or even daily. Chronic acid reflux can lead to serious health problems if left unchecked, including ulcers and even cancer of the oesophagus. Naturally, this moves many sufferers to research how to treat and manage acid reflux.
What Causes Acid Reflux and Heartburn?
Scientists have noted a direct relationship between obesity and acid reflux. When you consume an excessive amount of food over an extended period, paired with a higher percentage of body fat, you can inhibit your oesophageal sphincter from fully closing, permitting acid to build up from the stomach and push back into your throat.
A hiatal hernia is a condition in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. The diaphragm is a large, flat muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. It is primarily in charge of controlling our breathing, but also works to stop acid from travelling back from the stomach. Normally, the oesophagus passes through a small opening in the diaphragm, but when a person has a hiatal hernia, this opening is enlarged, and part of the stomach slides up into the chest.
Hiatal hernias can either be a condition we are born with, or develop as a result of excessive straining, aging of the diaphragm, chronic coughing, and physical injury.
Smoking relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle that acts as a valve between the stomach and oesophagus. When the LES is relaxed, stomach acids can more easily flow back up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. In addition, smoking damages the mucous membranes lining the oesophagus and digestive tract, making it more susceptible to damage from stomach acids.
Cigarette smoke also contains many chemicals that can irritate and damage the lungs. These chemicals aggravate acid reflux symptoms and even reduce the production of saliva to neutralise the acid.
Similar to smoking, alcohol relaxes the bottom of the LES muscle, which makes it more likely for acid reflux and involuntary regurgitation to occur. Alcohol also increases the production of stomach acid. As such, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can lead to an increase in the severity of symptoms of acid reflux.
Stress is a root cause of acid reflux. Stress and anxiety can reduce the production of stomach acids and can lead to foods sitting undigested in the stomach for longer than usual, this will lead to acid being pushed back up through the stomach valves into the throat and from there, the experience of that nasty burning sensation.
Foods can exacerbate this: coffee in particular and many people have reported – onions, spicy goods, tomatoes can create these sensations leading to greater irritation occurring throughout your digestive system.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux & what does heartburn feel like?
A common question of those yet to experience acid reflux symptoms is, ‘what does heartburn feel like?’ It is primarily how the name suggests, with a burning sensation spreading throughout the chest and spreading upwards into the mouth. But this isn’t the only one of the many symptoms associated with acid reflux and GERD.
- A sour taste in the back of your mouth
- The need to regurgitate
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent coughing
- A feeling of fullness in the throat
- Chest pain
Unfortunately, these symptoms can also be related to other conditions, so if you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to see your healthcare professional to rule out other possible causes.
How to treat Acid Reflux?
While acid reflux can be highly uncomfortable, when left to become a chronic condition, it can prove dangerous if left unattended. Whilst medications will treat the symptoms of GERD, there are ways to address the root causes of acid reflux and GERD.
Modification to Lifestyle
There is a definite correlation between the habits and choices we make in our daily lifestyle and the symptoms experienced with acid reflux & GERD. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding meals 3 hrs before bedtime and healthy sleep patterns as well as cutting down on unhealthy habits, if you are looking for the best ways on how to treat acid reflux, making adjustments and modifications to your lifestyle like reducing alcohol can potentially help. This isn’t always simple, especially when addiction is a factor, meaning some people may require outside support, such as professional counselling.
For some, the combination of lifestyle modifications with some over the counter medications can be more effective, if this does not work, there are also various forms of medical treatment available. It is always important that you first speak with your doctor or healthcare professional about the best option before you try to relieve your acid reflux symptoms.
Should you not respond well to the medication, have medically refractory GERD, or have an underlying hiatal hernia, then there are a few surgical treatments also available to assist in reducing or relieving your symptoms of GERD & acid reflux.
Can Alkaline Water Help with Acid Reflux?
A further way to manage the symptoms of acid reflux, is the use and consumption of alkaline water. Due to its relation to pH levels within the body, alkaline water does actually help here.
Our body’s pH level refers to the balance of alkalinity and acidity within our body, ranging from a scale of 0 to 14 (7 being a neutral range). The body typically sits at a range between 7.35 to 7.45, leaning slighting alkaline, but if your diet and lifestyle choices result in an acidic build up, your body will work hard to bring everything back to homeostasis or a balance and it is believed that alkaline water – and an alkaline diet in general – can help bring the balance back towards an alkaline state, lowering the acidic-build up, and mitigating the symptoms of heartburn and GERD.
How does Alkaline Water Help with Acid Reflux?
The complete list of potential benefits from alkaline water is extensive, and while this is an area of research requiring further investigation, the belief that alkaline water will help with acid reflux is built around its ability to denature pepsin, a prime digestive enzyme found within the stomach. This means it works to neutralise the stomach acid present, just like antacids. What’s more, proponents believe that alkaline water is good for delivering an acid-base that works to further neutralise hydrochloric acid.
With the zazen Alkaline Water System, you can create a consistent stream of alkaline water into your home that effectively reduces pollutants and contaminants, whilst also introducing the necessary minerals and electrolytes needed for proper cellular hydration, emulating the process of Mother Nature.
Be sure to read more on the potential benefits of an alkaline diet through our blog today.
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