Alcohol and Acid Reflux

by Jennifer Mitchell Wilson B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

A recent summary of a research article released around Christmas time purported to have encouraging news regarding alcohol consumption and subsequent acid reflux or heartburn symptoms. It has long been stressed that alcohol can slow digestion, especially of fatty meals, and cause symptoms to be aggravated in acid reflux patients. This article seemed to state that the alcohol did not cause a big enough issue to cause symptoms.

Upon first look this news may sound wonderful. However, if you look more closely you will find that the subjects of this study were all normal, healthy volunteers. These were not people who suffered from acid reflux or GERD.

What that means for acid reflux patients is that previous recommendations regarding alcohol consumption still stands. In patients with acid reflux or GERD slowing down digestion can cause flare ups of symptoms. More acidic alcoholic beverages can be a double whammy by increasing acid and slowing the exit of the foods from the stomach. A reduction of inhibitions can also increase the likelihood of making poor food choices.

If you have found you can indulge in alcohol every once in a while then it may be fine for you in moderation. Be careful that you do not combine your consumption with a high fat meal because both can slow digestion. Check out the warnings on your medications as well because many can not be taken with alcoholic beverages.

With smart modifications of your behavior you can help to limit these painful flare ups of acid reflux.

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.