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Acid Reflux May Respond Better To Diet Than Drugs Aka Photo-Illustration TIME

Acid Reflux May Respond Better To Diet Than Drugs

11 Sep
Reflux is one of the most common health complaints among Americans, and the drugs used to relieve it are among the nation’s best-selling meds.

Americans spend nearly $13 billion a year on both prescription and over-the-counter versions of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), the most popular anti-reflux medications.

But it turns out that drugs aren’t necessary for some forms of the digestive condition. In a new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, researchers found that for people with acid reflux that affects the throat, a Mediterranean diet—one rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes—was just as effective as PPIs in treating their symptoms.

Reflux comes in two forms. One, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is triggered by too much acid concentrated in the stomach and lower esophagus, the part of the throat that is connected to the stomach. GERD comes with burning pain in the chest, bloating and discomfort in the gut. The other type of reflux involves the upper part of the throat that includes the voicebox and pharynx, or the back of the mouth.

The type of reflux in the study, called laryngopharyngeal reflux. or LPR, is concentrated in the upper part of the digestive tract and is triggered when pepsin, a digestive enzyme from the stomach, reaches the sensitive tissues there. That can damage tissues and cause symptoms like throat clearing, a feeling that something is lodged in the throat, hoarseness and trouble swallowing. “You’re not supposed to have acid up in the throat,” says Dr. Craig Zalvan, medical director of the institute for voice and swallowing disorders at Phelps Hospital of Northwell Health in New York and lead author of the study. “The tissues there have poor protection against acid and pepsin.”

In the study, Zalvan and his colleagues compared 85 people with LPR who were treated with PPIs and 99 people with LPR who were told to switch to a Mediterranean diet and start drinking alkaline water, which can neutralize excess acid. All of the people in the study were told to avoid reflux triggers, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, greasy and fatty foods, spicy foods and alcohol.

After six weeks, the people who changed their diet reported similar declines in their symptoms as measured on a standardized reflux scale as those who used the drugs. In fact, the diet group reported a slightly greater percent decline in symptoms.


Article by By Alice Park September 7, 2017,Published in Times

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