Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in the immune system, wound healing, and many other bodily functions. It is found naturally in many foods, including seafood, meat, nuts, and seeds. However, some people may not get enough zinc from their diet and may need to take supplements.
While zinc supplements can provide numerous health benefits, there have been concerns about whether they can cause acid reflux. This article will explore the relationship between zinc supplements and acid reflux.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when the stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus (the tube that connects the stomach to the throat). This can cause a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn), regurgitation of food or liquid into the mouth, and difficulty swallowing.
Acid reflux can be caused by several factors, including:
- Eating large meals
- Lying down after eating
- Being overweight or obese
- Hiatal hernia
Acid reflux is a remarkably frequent condition for millions of Americans and can be caused by too much stomach acid. Thankfully, zinc has been discovered to assist in reducing the amount produced from the stomach and decrease your chances of experiencing uncomfortable symptoms due to excess gastric acids rising up into your esophagus.
Can Zinc Supplements Cause Acid Reflux?
While there aren't many extensive studies done to answer this question, based on initial research and customer feedback, it seems that taking an over-abundant amount of zinc could cause negative side effects. These include loss of appetite, acid reflux, nausea, vomiting, and headaches or dizziness.
With that being said, other studies show that taking the proper amount of zinc daily to ensure you're not experiencing a zinc deficiency has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux. It is also important to note that taking zinc supplements in the form of zinc citrate or zinc gluconate seems to be better than other forms as they are more easily absorbed by the body.
What are some ways to curb acid reflux symptoms?
If you suspect that zinc supplements are causing acid reflux, then it is best to speak with your doctor and make sure to reduce your supplement intake. Other solutions for reducing acid reflux symptoms include:
Eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals.
Eating smaller meals helps reduce acid reflux symptoms because it reduces the amount of stomach acid that is produced. When a person eats a large meal, the body produces more stomach acid in order to break down and digest the food.
This can cause an increase in acid reflux and heartburn symptoms, as too much stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. By eating smaller meals throughout the day, you can keep your stomach from producing too much acid at once, which decreases your chances of experiencing uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms.
Avoiding lying down after eating.
Lying down after eating can cause the stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus, which can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn. Therefore, it is best to wait at least 3 hours after eating before lying down or going to bed.
Smoking has been shown to increase acid reflux symptoms by irritating the esophagus and increasing stomach acid production. Therefore, quitting smoking is a great way to reduce your risk of developing acid reflux.
Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for developing acid reflux. Therefore, losing weight can help to reduce your chances of experiencing symptoms associated with the condition.
Not eating too close to bedtime.
Eating late at night can cause the stomach to produce more acid because it is trying to break down food on an empty stomach. This can lead to increased reflux symptoms, so it is best to avoid eating close to bedtime.
Raising the head of the bed by 6 inches or more.
Raising the head of the bed can help reduce acid reflux symptoms by preventing stomach acids from flowing back up into the esophagus. This can be done by placing blocks or risers under the legs of the bed or sleeping on an adjustable bed frame that allows for raising and lowering of the head and feet.
Reducing stress levels.
Stress can increase acid reflux symptoms by triggering the release of hormones in the body that can disrupt digestion. Reducing stress levels can help to reduce reflux symptoms, so taking time out to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation may be beneficial.
Avoiding trigger foods such as spicy, fatty, or acidic foods.
Certain foods can trigger acid reflux symptoms, so it is best to identify and avoid those that may be contributing to your discomfort. Some of the most common trigger foods include spicy, fatty, or acidic foods such as tomatoes, garlic, onions, chocolate, peppermint, and alcohol.
Take zinc supplements.
Taking zinc supplements is an effective way to help reduce acid reflux symptoms by helping the body to break down proteins more efficiently and reducing stomach acid production. It is important to make sure you are taking the right form of zinc supplement; chelated forms such as zinc gluconate, and zinc citrate are recommended over the elemental forms such as zinc oxide or zinc sulfate.
How much zinc can you take in a day?
The National Institutes of Health advises that adults should not take more than 40 milligrams (mg) and infants under the age of six months no more than 4 mg per day. Avoid intranasal zinc sprays, as they are associated with a loss of smell.
It is important to talk with your doctor or a healthcare professional before taking any supplements, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications. They can help you determine the right dosage for your individual needs and ensure that zinc supplementation is safe for you.
The bottom line is that while there may be some concern about whether zinc supplements can cause acid reflux, research suggests that when taken in the proper amounts it can actually help alleviate symptoms of the condition. It's always best to check with your doctor before starting a supplement regimen to make sure it's the right choice for you. With a doctor's guidance, zinc supplementation can provide many health benefits.