Water and Acid Reflux

If you suffer from heartburn, you know all too well how a meal can turn into an indigestion nightmare. Heartburn, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), occurs when stomach acid refluxes into the lower esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) normally keeps stomach acid in the stomach, where it belongs. With GERD, however, the LES relaxes, allowing the stomach acid to reflux into your esophagus.

One common remedy for heartburn is the use of antacids. Many doctors recommend antacids after meals to manage painful heartburn symptoms and the prevention of acid reflux. Stopping the reflux of acid into the esophagus is also important. Chronic reflux can lead to a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, where the esophageal lining has begun to deteriorate due to acid damage. This deterioration greatly increases the risk for esophageal cancer.

Unfortunately, the routine use of antacids to manage GERD symptoms may also cause problems. Acids are necessary for the stomach to digest food. Regular, daily use of antacids can reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Stomach acids also help your body stay healthy by breaking down harmful bacteria in the digestive track, so frequent use of antacids can strain your body’s immune system.

The best way to stay healthy and ensure optimal digestion is by balancing acids and antacids the natural way by drinking water. Water, which is a neutral seven on the pH scale, helps dilute the acid contents of your stomach without the need for antacids. You may already know that adults should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to drink enough water and rely on acidic beverages such as soda, juice or iced coffee to quench their thirst. Any easy way to drink more water is to carry a reusable water bottle with you and always keep it full. When you’re thirsty, just enjoy a sip of refreshing water.

If you are worried about the quality of your tap water, you may already be buying bottled water. But did you know that some bottled waters are mildly acidic? The pH scale, a measurement of acidity and alkalinity, ranges from 0-14, with low numbers being increasing acidic, high numbers increasingly basic, and seven being neutral. According to a review by Health Central, some bottled waters, such as Propel Fitness Water, had a 3.37 pH – that’s pretty acidic! Other bottled waters had a pH as high as 11 – a high rating of alkalinity, which will reduce the acid in your stomach. If you buy bottled water, be sure to check the pH rating. You do not want to inadvertently drink something with a high acidic rating that only makes your stomach acid worse.

 

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