Can drinking milk before bed cause gastroesophageal reflux?

Popular in: Acid Reflux / GERD

While drinking a glass of milk to relieve heartburn may initially ease the discomfort of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it may also have a rebound affect later when the same milk triggers the production of stomach acid later. Milk has a soothing effect on the stomach and throat that can provide temporary relief but in the long run tends to encourage acid secretion. Sometimes this response is most pronounced when one drinks a glass of whole milk just before bedtime to treat heartburn and induce sleep, as ritual and old wives’ tales have suggested. Whole milk and dairy products may worsen acid reflux of GERD because of the fat contained in those food products.

While certain foods are commonly considered triggers of acid reflux, the American College of Gastroenterology’s 2013 clinical practice guidelines outline that there is not enough evidence to support blanket food restrictions in acid reflux management. In general, milk and yogurt can be part of a healthy and balanced diet even if you have acid reflux, but individual tolerance might guide your choices.

Coffee and gerd/acid reflux seem to yield subjective results for each individual, or we don’t know what coffee does, as of yet (btw there are at least 27 metabolites from coffee, some of which we know nothing about). One of them we know blocks adenosine receptors. There was also a review and meta analysis studies done recently that showed lack of statistical power (lack of construct validity) and great variation in results to insignificant correlation between intake and gerd (Zhang, Y., Chen, S-H. Food Sci Technol Res, 2013, 19, 1-6; Kim, J. et al., Diseases of the Esophagus, 2014, 27, 311-317). We did some research and found that certain foods can cause the valve/esophagus sphincter to loosen, . we don’t have the precise medical occurrence however. @Matt.

This succulent has strong antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Research has found that regularly drinking Aloe Vera juice can reduce the frequencies of GERD symptoms, with no adverse events requiring withdrawal.

But stopping the acid reflux can help prevent complications in the future. Many people complain of stomach ache, in the evening or after meals mostly. They are most likely suffering from an episode of acid reflux, also known as heartburn. Over-the-counter antacids, like Tums, may offer quick relief from pain.

Usually, people who regularly face acid reflux are skeptical if consuming milk and dairy products can make the conditions worse. While there are certain foods that are considered to worsen acid reflux, there hasn’t been any strong evidence against any particular kind of foods that can be highlighted as acid reflux triggers. So, even though dairy products like milk and yogurt are considered a right part of a balanced diet, their tolerance is highly subjective and they may or may not worsen acid reflux. In general, yogurt is well tolerated and does not worsen acid reflux symptoms.

According to Healthline, other types of milk can be high in fat content, and some high-fat foods may actually make heartburn worse. Almond milk, or other types of plant-based milk like soy, flax, cashew, or coconut, will not only alleviate symptoms, it can be a better alternative for people who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Because tomato-based foods can trigger reflux symptoms, avoiding tomato juice may reduce GERD symptoms. Carrageenan is a common additive in nondairy beverages and may contribute to digestive symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Avoid specific foods that trigger your heartburn, but also watch out for peppermint, caffeine, sodas, chocolate, citrus juices and fruits, tomatoes, onions, and high-fat foods. Eat more fiber to keep your digestive tract moving and healthy.

drinking milk for acid reflux

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