Got GERD? Keep reading. In one of the largest and highest quality studies of its type, scientists concluded that diet and lifestyle appear to offer substantial benefits for those suffering from heartburn, known in medicine as gastroesophageal reflux or GERD.
For this report, scientists carefully monitored the diet, lifestyle, and health status of 43,000 women, ages 42-62, over a 12-year period. They used standardized statistical analysis to examine how five “anti-reflux” lifestyle factors – normal weight, never smoking, moderate to vigorous physical activity, restricting tea, soda, and coffee to two cups a day, and a healthy diet – impacted reported symptoms of GERD.
The results? Those adhering to all five anti-reflux factors could reduce their overall GERD symptoms by 37 percent! Benefits were even manifest for women using drugs for GERD.
Currently, almost one third of the population suffers from GERD symptoms. Given that medications are costly and may have serious long term side effects, diet and lifestyle should be the standard first line treatment for alleviating GERD symptoms.
JAMA Internal Medicine, 2021; DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.7238