If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux disease, vinegar may be the answer to your problem. While I’m not a doctor, and you should always first seek the advice of a doctor, I have a story to relate to you that might make you think twice about the treatment your doctor has prescribed or may prescribe in the future. The vinegar trick may or may not work for you, but it worked for me years after I was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux disease.
My History of Chronic Heartburn
For years before seeing a doctor about it, I suffered from chronic heartburn. It didn’t matter what I ate or drank or when, heartburn would randomly occur out of the blue. It was so bad, I could drink a glass of water and experience heartburn.
In 1996, I gave in and went to a military doctor while I was stationed in Phoenix, Arizona. He diagnosed me with acid reflux disease and prescribed Zantac. He also gave me instructions on how to sleep (with my head elevated) to prevent the bile from coming up while I was sleeping.
While I was taking the Zantac regularly, I experienced very little heartburn. When I ran out of the pills, the heartburn returned in full force. Later on, I received a large supply of Pepsid AC, large enough to last me well beyond the expiration dates on the packages. It also kept the heartburn at bay until I ran out of it.
From that time until sometime in 2005, I ate Tums and a generic Tums-like product like they were candy. The heartburn wouldn’t bother me unless I ran out.
The Vinegar Trick
In 2005, a close friend of mine suggested that when the heartburn came on, that I take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. He had been told that I needed more acid my stomach, not less. I found the source of his information months later, but that’s not important.
Later that same day, the familiar burning sensation returned. I thought about what he had said and started rooting around my kitchen cabinets looking for any kind of vinegar. There was only a bottle of coconut vinegar (my wife cooks with that instead of the regular stuff).
I downed a tablespoon of the vinegar and it burned all the way down. Five minutes later the heartburn was gone, completely! I told myself it wouldn’t last. Miraculously, I didn’t get a heartburn attack again for months (when I moved to the Philippines in 2006), and I followed the exact same procedure.
Acid Reflux is Now a Bad Memory
I originally wrote this article more than three years ago. I felt compelled to update it because it shows that doctors don’t know everything even when they think they do.
I won’t lie and say that I haven’t had any heartburn in the last four years. I’ve had a couple of very mild cases (a couple of years apart) that didn’t last more than a few minutes. Each time, it was after I’d finished eating some very spicy food. Think about that for a minute. I went from having severe acid reflux all the time to having rare occasions of mild heartburn.
What really happened? My digestive system was out of balance and not producing the amount of stomach acid required to digest the food properly. Once I put it back into balance, the problem went away. Now, acid reflux disease is caused by other things too, so you should see a doctor before doing anything like this. If the doctor merely states the obvious and prescribes an antacid like Zantac, Tagament or Pepsid AC, I would recommend giving the vinegar trick a try. It wouldn’t hurt – except for the burning sensation as you swallow it.