Acid reflux is a common lifestyle disease these days. So much so that we see advertisements for probiotics and antacids every day. Antacids are the most advertised while probiotics are made easily available in supermarkets for shopping. Probiotics help in improving gut health which makes it a natural treatment for acid reflux. We have a wide range of probiotics to choose from and often end up being confused. Here are some pointers to look for when choosing a probiotic.

Know your acid reflux

Commonly known as heartburn, acid reflux is a condition where acids from the stomach flow into the esophagus causing throat irritation, chest pain, nausea, chronic cough, difficulty swallowing, and in many cases regurgitation of food or sour liquid. If existing for prolonged periods, acid reflux can cause GERD – Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Though not life-threatening, acid reflux does make life bitter, literally! This is where probiotics come into play. 

Types of Probiotics

Probiotics come in many forms for common consumption. The most known to us are pills, yogurts, and drinks/syrups. Among these a well-known probiotic is yogurt. It can be had as dessert after a meal to help reduce acid reflux symptoms. Drinks like kombucha which contain fermented bacteria and yeast also aid in reducing acid reflux.

Ingredients to look for

Be it pills, yogurt or drink/syrups, the main thing to notice when purchasing a probiotic to help with acid reflux are the ingredients. Here are a few that alleviate different symptoms associated with acid reflux.

Bacillus Subtilis – It is a strain found in probiotics that decreases bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and reduces gastrointestinal irritation.

Bifidobacterium Bifidum – This strain when consumed, helps reduce constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain associated with acid reflux. It mainly works on the stomach and bowels of our bodies and provides comfort.

Bifidobacterium Lactis HN019 – Similar to Bifidum the Lactis HN019 focuses on bowel movements and helps prevent discomfort associated with relieving oneself. It increases the speed at which the contents of our stomach empty. 

Lactobacillus Gasseri – This strain prevents indigestion and related acid reflux symptoms. It also helps in reducing abdominal fat.

Lactobacillus Reuteri – The Reuteri strain is efficient in reducing nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In addition, it also increases the frequency of your bowel movements which minimizes opportunities for constipation.

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG – Decreases abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal swelling.

Picking and choosing between these ingredients is key in helping reduce your acid reflux. It is also advisable to consult your doctor or a gastroenterologist to know the best probiotics for acid reflux.

Probiotic side effects

Many people consuming probiotics do not experience any side effects. Minor effects such as flatulence and bloating have however occurred.

This may totally vary if you have underlying conditions such as allergies, intolerance, and regular medication intakes. Severe allergic reactions were reported by people who have consumed probiotics containing traces of dairy, egg, gluten, nut, or soy. If yeast-based probiotics are consumed, people may experience increased constipation and thirst.

To reduce the risk of all or some of these side effects, start with a lower dose of probiotics and slowly increase to the recommended dosage within a month to help the body adjust. Slowly introducing probiotics may help reduce adverse side effects.

It is notable that probiotics are not regulated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration since they are dietary supplements. This means they do not undergo any mandatory drug testing. Therefore, always consult your doctor before making major dietary changes.