One thing that is not known much is probiotics for acid reflux sufferers. Probiotics can have excellent efficiency when it comes to reducing the frequency and severity of acid reflux symptoms. They can be considered a treatment for acid reflux.
To understand the benefits of probiotics for GERD, you need to understand acid reflux, GERD, and probiotics, so let’s get into it.
Acid Reflux and GERD
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GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a very common digestive disease which mostly has its effects on the gastro-duodenum and the esophagus. GERD has enormous effects on your quality of life which is why people are constantly looking for a way to relieve its symptoms and treat it.
GERD is a result of the backward flow of the contents of your stomach into your esophagus. Heartburn and Acid Reflux are listed as symptoms of GERD. GERD is basically a chronic condition of acid reflux two or more times a day for a minimum of 3 weeks.
When it comes to treating GERD, dietary and lifestyle changes are the biggest steps. There are several medical treatments as well. One of these medical treatments is Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI). But medical treatments are steps that should only be considered after dietary and lifestyle changes have tested ineffective. Dietary and Lifestyle changes include:
- Changing your diet
- Managing your portion size
- Eating low protein and fat foods
- Avoiding items that trigger acid reflux
- Trying dietary supplements
If none of these changes seems to help in relieving your acid reflux flare-ups, then you can consider probiotics for treating acid reflux.
Probiotics for GERD
If we consider the definition of Probiotics, they are live microorganisms that are administered in your body in small amounts. When administered, the host has health benefits. These are available in several different forms, from capsules to infant formula and foods. It is observed that when probiotics are administered, the host confers health benefits in the form of improved bowel and abdominal conditions.
There is a lack of understanding of exactly how probiotics come to have these health benefits on the host. But, the effects of probiotics on your gut have been researched extensively in many clinical trials to understand probiotics for treating acid reflux.
Now that you understand what probiotics are, let's move on to discussing if probiotics can actually help with acid reflux and its symptoms.
Probiotics and Acid Reflux Symptoms
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Even though you don’t require probiotics to lead a healthy life, they have many health benefits. They can act as a protector from harmful bacteria as well as aid in the process of digestion. The effects of Probiotics for treating acid reflux are not as clear yet, but there have been some promising clinical trials.
The effects of probiotics on GERD were studied in a systematic review published in 2020. Probiotics were found to provide some benefit for acid reflux in 11 of the 13 trials that the authors examined, despite their varied quality. Below are the benefits in further detail:
- Improvements in reflux or heartburn were found in one research.
- Five studies reported reductions in breathlessness.
- There was less regurgitation, according to three studies.
- Nine studies reported reductions in additional gastrointestinal problems, including:
- Abdomen Ache
- Gurgling in the gut or belching
Even though these results are encouraging, more placebo-controlled studies will be required to validate the effects of probiotics. When it comes to probiotics to prevent acid reflux flares, probiotics also help with some of the symptoms of acid reflux:
- When it comes to the benefits of probiotics for GERD, they can help in managing irritable bowel syndrome.
- Probiotics can also help in managing your diarrhoea.
- Probiotics can fasten certain intestinal infection treatments.
- Probiotics can prevent the formation of stomach ulcers.
- Probiotics can help in the prevention or treatment of:
- Vaginal Yeast infections
- Urinary Tract infections
- Flu or colds
- Probiotics can help in easing some of the side effects caused by Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI). PPI is another treatment method used for acid reflux.
There have been studies conducted to test the effect of probiotics to relieve acid reflux side effects. In a 2019 study, probiotic supplements were tested to see how they affected patients taking the PPI esomeprazole for reflux esophagitis.
Esomeprazole was given to one set of participants together with a probiotic over the course of 8 weeks, while a second group received a placebo. The study team evaluated the subjects who had recovered from esophagitis after 12 weeks. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Diarrhea incidences were reduced in the probiotic-treated group.
Now that you understand the benefits of probiotics for GERD let’s move on to some of the Cons of using Probiotics for acid reflux.
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Probiotics are generally safe to use or eat without causing any negative side effects. Minor side effects, including slight gas and bloating, are possible for some folks. If you have underlying issues, using probiotics may not be healthy. If you have a chronic illness or are under treatment for a significant medical condition, you should speak with your doctor before using probiotics. Before using probiotics in their diet, older folks and those with compromised immune systems should also consult their doctor.
Probiotics are not subject to US FDA regulation because they are considered dietary supplements. This indicates that they are exempt from the rigorous testing that is required of medicines and other medications. Probiotic supplements' ingredients can differ from one manufacturer to the next, so you should be careful when dealing with probiotics to prevent acid reflux flare-ups.
Which Probiotics Should You Administer?
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Now that you understand the benefits and the risks of administering probiotics, here is how you decide which probiotic supplement you want to administer. The majority of research on probiotics for GERD has focused on the bacterial strain Lactobacillus. Others have examined different strains, including Enterococcus faecium and Bacillus subtilis.
Any of these could aid in relieving acid reflux. You can look for probiotics for treating acid reflux that have these strains mentioned as their bacterial strains.
The Bottom Line
Probiotics can have several health benefits when it comes to acid reflux, but you should be careful and always consult with your doctor before you decide to self-medicate.