Milk contains calcium in a form that
can neutralize acids. The calcium present in milk
neutralizes acid reflux in the same way as
calcium tablets do. However, a glass of milk
raises the acidity of the stomach by reducing the
pH from 6 to about 1.8. At this level, stomach
contents are not digested and they putrefy,
causing more reflux.
Cold milk may feel good initially as it
goes down your throat. But its high fat and
protein content will actually cause the stomach to
produce more acid and make the acid reflux worse.
The high fat content of the milk tends to float on
the stomach contents. The heavier fats also tend
to rise to the top. This lowers the pressure in
the LES causing it to relax and more acid moves up
the esophagus making the heartburn even worse.
Low-fat milk is sometimes better tolerated in
patients with GERD.
For infants who develop acid reflux
syndrome, breast milk is extremely important as
there are fewer incidences of acid reflux in
breast-fed infants. However, though breast feeding
is important, it is also important that the mother
watches what she eats as it can pass through the
mother's milk to the baby. Breast-feeding mothers
should avoid foods that trigger acid reflux
symptoms. Studies indicate that in about 20% of
infants an allergy to cow's milk was the cause of
GERD and the symptoms improved by stopping milk
from the diet.
There is another risk of consuming milk
for people suffering from acid reflux and that is
the "milk-alkali syndrome". It is a form of
metabolic acidosis that results from excessive
consumption of milk, which is rich in calcium and
antacids, such as calcium carbonate, over a
prolonged period of time. It was formerly
considered to be a side effect in the treatment of
peptic ulcer disease but now with new medications
its usefulness has decreased considerably. Calcium
deposits are seen in kidneys and other tissues.
The condition is reversible in early stages but
often goes undetected as there are rarely any
symptoms. If left untreated, it generally
progresses to renal failure.
Some people experience relief from acid
reflux symptoms by eliminating milk from their
diet. However, just eliminating milk or other
foods that trigger acid reflux may not help treat
GERD. A visit to a holistic medical practitioner
will definitely help. He will take the entire body
into consideration as well as suggest lifestyle
changes, behavioral therapy, dietary
modifications, stress management, and other
modalities to bring about complete treat safely and
effectively. Holistic treatment is perfectly
natural and free from any side-effect