One of the first things I noticed when we started drinking kefir was the help my husband received with eliminating his acid reflux. It was quite surprising to me since he popped antacids like they were candy. But fast forward sixteen years and I’ve had so many, many people tell me they’ve gotten off their prescription drugs for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and every one of them told me kefir was what accomplished the task.
A man named John came up to me after one of my classes and said, “I take a glass of kefir every day before I go to work—without fail. I don’t sweeten it. I just drink it straight. I wanted to thank you because it allowed me to get off all my medication for acid reflux. I feel like a new man after years of struggle with this.” Then he smiled, shook my hand, and said, “Kefir is powerful medicine for acid reflux, and you should tell everybody who will listen.” I am heeding those words because I have heard time and time again how much kefir helps people who are struggling with acid reflux.
Kefir and Reflux
Inflammation and GERD
One 2014 study looking at the effect of probiotics on GERD involved 589 infants: the number of episodes of regurgitation, the number of minutes of inconsolable crying, and the number of bowel movements. The infants who received the probiotics had less crying time, fewer episodes of regurgitation, and significantly less constipation than the control group. 1
Antacids cause more harm than good
Cultured foods, especially kefir, have anti-inflammatory properties and can ease the symptoms of inflammation. If you are experiencing these symptoms, one of the first things you should do is add kefir to your diet to restore balance in your gut. Kefir is packed with the Lactobacillus bacterium plus 50 other probiotics. These probiotics change your gut flora and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
Can H. pylori protect against acid reflux?
Martin J. Blaser, M.D., elaborates on the research around H. pylori in his book Missing Microbes. He says that, when present in large numbers, this bacterium can cause ulcers and even stomach cancer in some people. But H. pylori also helps regulate stomach acidity, which plays a large part in the symptoms of GERD. When an ulcer occurs, the standard treatment is using antibiotics to eradicate H. pylori, which heals the ulcers but also raises the acidity of the stomach. Blaser and his colleagues found that the patients without H. pylori were eight times more likely to have acid reflux. 2 So the treatment that eliminated H. pylori worsened acid reflux and even esophageal cancer.
So what to do? Balance your gut with prebiotic and probiotic foods – especially kefir. Keep H. pylori in check by adding lots of beneficial microbes that allow all your bacteria to work for you. If you have lots of good microbes, the ones that might get out of hand will stay in balance. It’s not as hard as it seems, and you will find that a lot of problems will simply vanish when you change what you eat. Kefir and cultured foods plus whole, real, natural sources of nutrition will allow your body to do what it was designed to do: heal itself.
Kefir has eliminated acid reflux in many people I have met, including myself and my husband, and the studies that continue to surface give me great hope that soon cultured foods and probiotics will be seen as a viable treatment for this ailment.
Here is How to Make Kefir.
Here are the two methods for making kefir. You can pick the method that suits you – the benefits are the same in both methods.
- F. Indrio et al., “Prophylactic Use of a Probiotic in the Prevention of Colic, Regurgitation, and Functional Constipation: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” JAMA Pediatrics 168, no. 3 (March 2014): 228–233
- M.J. Blaser, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, New York, Henry Holt Publishing (2014): 123–9.