Like many old-fashioned home remedies, many people drink milk when they experience heartburn. But does milk help heartburn, or just mask the symptoms? By neutralizing acid in the stomach, milk can stop heartburn symptoms like burning and pain fairly quickly. However, the fat naturally found in milk can actually trigger your stomach to produce more acid. What’s the solution? As in many things, moderation is essential.
How It Works
Heartburn occurs when our stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. This is caused by a weakened lower esophageal sphincter, the seal which separates the esophagus from the stomach. When it’s weakened, which can happen because of certain chemicals, hormones, and lifestyles, it’s much easier for acid to back up into the esophagus. This is known as acid reflux.
The answer to the question of how does milk help heartburn is fairly simple. Calcium, which milk is celebrated for, neutralizes acid on contact. Milk is also thicker than many other beverages, which creates a temporarily soothing coating action in the stomach. This leads to an almost instant reduction or cessation of heartburn symptoms.
However, the question of “does milk help heartburn” isn’t so simple. While there’s no denying the short-term, immediate relief, it’s best not to rely on milk to solve your heartburn issues. Fat is notorious for causing heartburn, and, as healthy as it is, milk does contain fat. This fat produces more stomach acid. While you’ll feel much better right away, you’re setting yourself up for more heartburn later on. Instead of guzzling milk when heartburn symptoms strike, sip a small glass until you feel relief.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that milk is bad for you. Milk is one of the healthiest drinks known to man. However, for those who are prone to heartburn, it’s probably best enjoyed in moderation.
How to Make it Work for You
Does milk help heartburn? We know the answer is tricky. However, you can use milk as part of your lifestyle without adding excess fat. Simply switching to skim milk takes a lot of fat out of the picture, which reduces the amount of excess stomach acid you’ll produce. Skim milk still has all the symptom-soothing properties of whole milk, just without the unnecessary fat.
You can also utilize the main heartburn-fighting ingredient in milk without actually drinking any. Calcium antacids have been on pharmacy shelves for decades, and they are still some of the most commonly prescribed heartburn remedies on the market. For cases of moderate or intermittent heartburn, these tablets can work wonders. The calcium they contain goes to work immediately on your stomach acid, and they don’t contain a single gram of fat.
Hopefully, we’ve made sense of the “does milk help heartburn” mystery. While this nutritious drink is excellent for our bones, it might not be as friendly to our stomachs. Enjoy in moderation, and take advantage of other sources of calcium when you need heartburn relief.