How Effective is Using Vinegar for Heartburn?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2018
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The use of vinegar for heartburn is a vital part of folk medicine. In particular, the use of apple cider vinegar to deal with heartburn and acid reflux is common among many alternative health enthusiasts. While there has not been a great deal of research into why vinegar for heartburn may be a good idea, there is a body of anecdotal evidence that includes some ideas on why this home remedy is effective.

In all its forms, vinegar is an acetic acid. On the surface, this would seem to indicate that taking vinegar for heartburn would only make the discomfort stronger. In reality, it is the acidic content of apple cider vinegar and other types of vinegar that may be the reason why this is actually an effective heartburn treatment for some people.

Acid reflux takes place when the lower esophageal sphincter remains open and allows stomach acids to escape into the esophagus. This creates the burning sensation that most people experience, as well as the nausea that often accompanies heartburn. By preparing a mixture that contains a little apple cider vinegar and water and drinking it quickly, the acid in the vinegar tricks the esophageal sphincter into thinking the acid content of the stomach is balanced, and closes. Once closed, the stomach acids can no longer flow into the esophagus, and the heartburn begins to subside.


When choosing a vinegar to use in treating heartburn, many enthusiasts will recommend purchasing unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Purportedly, the nutritional content of this form of vinegar is higher than others, and also contained elements that help to boost the acid content of the product. From this perspective, using this form of unfiltered vinegar for heartburn not only alleviates the distress, but also provides the body with trace amounts of a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are needed to sustain good health.

The effectiveness of using vinegar for heartburn varies from one person to another. Some people find that this home remedy brings about relief within a matter of minutes. Others find that using vinegar as a remedy for heartburn and acid reflux is ineffective, and that over the counter or prescription medications work faster and better. In addition, the vinegar treatment is not effective when there are underlying causes of heartburn that are connected with ongoing health issues. This means that if your heartburn is accompanied with chest pain or occurs after every meal, medical attention should be obtained immediately.



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