Cold milk for heartburn: Does it work?

If you suffer from heartburn, it can be difficult to find relief. One of the most popular remedies is drinking cold milk because it helps with stomach acid production and soothing the throat.

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However, there are mixed opinions on whether or not this remedy works. This blog post will go over some pros and cons of drinking cold milk for heartburn, as well as what science has to say about it so that you can make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in the chest and throat. It occurs when stomach acid flows back up the esophagus, which is the tube that connects your mouth and stomach.

The pain is usually worse when you eat, lie down or bend over. It can be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which happens when you have a ring of muscle at the bottom of your esophagus that doesn’t close all the way. In some cases, it can lead to more severe conditions, such as Barrett’s esophagus.

Heartburn is also called acid indigestion, acid reflux and pyrosis.

The most common symptom is a burning sensation in the chest. Other symptoms include:

  • A sour or bitter taste in your mouth
  • Pain during swallowing, which may feel like choking
  • Chest pain that worsens when you lie down
  • A dry cough or hoarseness

What foods cause heartburn?

Many different foods can trigger heartburn. Some of the most common culprits include spicy foods, fatty or fried food, chocolate, caffeine, peppermint and alcohol.

Can cold milk help with heartburn relief?

There’s not a lot of evidence that milk helps heartburn. However, the protein and calcium in milk may help relieve heartburn. Let’s see how these two nutrients can help with heartburn.

Calcium for heartburn

There are claims that cold milk is a natural heartburn remedy because of its high calcium content. While there are not many studies to back this up, there are a few.

One study (covering 11,690 people) found that men who had a high calcium consumption had a lower risk of acid reflux. 

It’s also worth mentioning that calcium helps with muscle tone, and that’s helpful for people with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People with GERD generally have a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – This is the muscle that prevents the stomach contents from coming back up, also known as acid reflux.

Another study found that taking calcium carbonate increased LES muscle tone in half of the recorded cases. From these findings, it’s apparent that taking the calcium carbonate supplement may also help relieve heartburn.

Protein for heartburn

It’s a fact that milk is an excellent source of protein. And researchers think that protein may be instrumental in managing heartburn because it stimulates gastrin secretion.

What is gastrin? Gastrin is a hormone that stimulates LES contraction and facilitates the emptying of your stomach’s contents. As a result, there is less food available to return up.

On the other hand, gastrin is involved in the secretion of stomach acid, which may aggravate the burning sensation in the chest.

As a result, it’s uncertain if milk protein helps or hurts heartburn.

That being said, one study showed that out of 217 with heartburn, those who consumed more protein were less likely to have symptoms. That should count for something, at least.

Other ways to get rid of heartburn

There are several other ways you can get rid of heartburn. Some natural options include:

  • Drink plenty of water to clear any remaining acid in your esophagus.
  • Take over-the-counter antacids to treat the pain and discomfort.
  • Eat smaller portions at mealtimes, which can help reduce pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
  • Choose foods that are low in fat and low in acidity.
  • Avoid late-night snacking.
  • Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime.
  • Keep a food journal to understand better which foods trigger an attack.
  • Increase your physical activity because being sedentary can worsen symptoms.
  • Change your sleeping position. Sleep with your head elevated with a pillow.

How should I sleep when I have heartburn?

Sleeping on your left side is a good position for people with heartburn. You can also try sleeping with a pillow under your upper body, elevating your head about 6 inches. Some people find relief by sleeping with their upper body slightly elevated.

Final words

If you’re experiencing heartburn, take a look at your diet to see if there’s anything you can remove and take antacids as necessary to help relieve the pain until it goes away.

However, if heartburn is chronic or repeatedly happens, then you should see a doctor because that could be a sign of an esophageal condition such as Barrett’s oesophagus.