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Can milk relieve heartburn?

By Wendy Amarteifio
Can milk relieve heartburn?
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Even though our body works in complex ways to optimize internal and external functioning, many times things go wrong, and before you know it, you are faced with unpleasant consequences.

While problems like chronic conditions, diseases, organ failure, or fractures can be serious, they are not as common as the issue at hand.

What is heartburn


Heartburn is a common condition that affects a large number of people on a day-to-day basis. It occurs when the stomach’s content, made up of mostly gastric acid, travels back to the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest. The resulting sensation is caused because the lining of the oesophagus is thinner than that of the stomach, so there is less protection against acids. The condition, however, has nothing to do with the heart and is named so because the burning sensation occurs in the area around the heart.

​Can milk relieve symptoms of heartburn?

Milk has been used as a remedy for heartburn, although its effect on dissolving the burning sensation is debated. Although milk might not be the best solution for heartburn, it is true that it can provide temporary relief, and there is some evidence to show that milk’s properties can indeed help in relieving heartburn, and here is how.

​How calcium helps

Calcium is a mineral that is used as an antacid because of its ability to neutralize acids. Milk is high in calcium, therefore it is claimed to be a natural remedy for heartburn. A study has shown that a high intake of calcium is associated with a reduced risk of heartburn and acid reflux in men. Moreover, calcium helps in building muscle tone, and by doing so, it helps in strengthening the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES), a muscle that prevents the stomach’s contents from coming up, and by doing so, the chances of heartburn are cut down.

The power of protein

Milk is an excellent source of protein, a nutrient that has been found to reduce the symptoms of heartburn. Protein stimulates the secretion of gastrin, a hormone that increases LES contraction, and also helps in emptying the stomach’s contents, eliminating the acidic content. This results in less food moving back up to the oesophagus, reducing the risk of heartburn.

Can milk make heartburn worse?

As discussed earlier, there is a lot of debate about whether milk is a potent cure of heartburn. Although certain properties of milk do allow for temporary relief, other properties can worsen the condition. Gastrin, the hormone responsible for emptying the stomach’s contents is also involved in the secretion of stomach acid, which could increase the burning sensation in the chest. Additionally, milk contains fat, and studies have shown that fatty foods can trigger heartburn by causing the LES muscles to relax, allowing for greater reflux. Fats also take longer to digest, thus delaying gastric emptying and increasing oesophagal exposure to gastric acid.

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Everybody’s body is different, and everybody’s body will react differently to milk. While milk may provide temporary relief thanks to its calcium and protein content, it may also have ill effects that exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn. It is best to always consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and take medication accordingly. Nevertheless, try going for low-fat or skimmed milk, or you can even try drinking non-dairy milk like soy milk or almond milk to determine which one works best for you.

Credit: Indiatimes