Answer:

A variety of supplements may help reduce indigestion or heartburn, including specific herbs, minerals, enzymes, and probiotics. However, be aware that certain supplements may cause indigestion or stomach upset. Sign in to see the full answer and get details on how to use these supplements >>

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17 Comments

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ten8202
December 20, 2015

If anyone has indigestion, heart burn or is lactose intolerant it is suggested that they be tested for Celiac disease. Information can be found at Celiac.org.,niddk.nih.gov/celiac, mayoclinic.org/celiac, celiaccentral.com, U of Maryland, etc. I have Gluten Sensitivity and after going gluten free 16 years ago over 7 symptoms disappeared in 2 1/2 to 3 years.
4 day headaches disappeared immediately.

ConsumerLab.com
December 21, 2015

Hi ten - Thank you for mentioning celiac disease. As discussed above, it's important to consider whether symptoms may be caused by use of medications, or certain conditions. You may be interested to know that one study found a certain type of digestive enzyme to be helpful for people with celiac disease -- this study is discussed in the Review of Digestive Enzymes: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/digestive-enzymes/#whatitis

Karen18326
September 15, 2019

I completely agree with ten8202! My only real symptom of celiac disease was heartburn and a burning stomach. Only 12% of people with celiac get diagnosed. Researchers and gastroenterologists who specialize in celiac now believe that heartburn and reflux, among other symptoms such as ataxia, may be a more common sign of celiac than previously thought. Many PC docs aren't aware of this and may miss the diagnosis!

Susan8199
December 20, 2015

I didn't see any mention of DGL or deglycinerated licorice. It works great for me with no side effects. Recommended by my naturopath. Tastes better than Tums.

ConsumerLab.com
December 29, 2015

Hi Susan -- Thanks for sharing your experience using DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). More about this can be found in the Encyclopedia article about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=38738

Leonard11415
November 22, 2016

Same here. It keeps heartburn away in most cases if chewed thoroughly 20-30 minutes before an offending meal, but even better if you chew a couple of tablets every day as a stomach conditioner. It can be effective after the fact, to reduce or eliminate an instance of GERD that you didn't expect - though sometimes not as well as chewing it beforehand.

G8101
November 26, 2015

For stomach aches & nausea: chew peppermint candy or drink hot tea made with a peppermint tea bag or 2. Terrible stomach ache at work one day and all I had were these tea bags. After drinking the hot peppermint tea I was shocked it went away completely. Also, it was a very bad stomach ache. I had heard of this remedy growing up but never tried it. Cheap fix too!

Juli8192
December 20, 2015

I discovered the same thing. It came in very handy during Thanksgiving when I horribly overate, as we tend to do. Within 30 minutes my stomach felt almost normal again.

Tracie18322
September 15, 2019

Glad peppermint works for you. For me it makes heartburn much worse. Ginger crystals mixed in water, taking a good probiotic, and reducing stress help. Reducing stress is the hardest one to follow.

Nat8100
November 26, 2015

You may claim that there is little evidence for the use of Betaine Hydochloride to help treat indigestion but this is essential for me.

I take 5 HCL tabs per meal. If I take none I have extreme indigestion, extreme pain, excessive gas and find it difficult to sleep from the discomfort.
I have done a double blind test with the HCL tabs and the difference between placebo and HCL tabs is huge

Patricia8198
December 20, 2015

Thanks for your comment. I too depend on HCl, in the form of Betaine HCl for good digestion. There are products from several manufacturers on the shelves of health food stores. It is usually sold with pepsin in the tablets/capsules as well. (I'll just mention that it's the FDA that claims there is little evidence betaine HCl is effective; it takes millions of dollars to get FDA approval, adding study costs and FDA fees.)

It was in reading one of Ann Louise Gittleman's books that I was introduced to the notion that not all acid reflux is caused by having too much acid. (Detailed information is also available on her website.) Another remedy she recommends trying is apple cider vinegar. I haven't tried it because it is not desirable to take vinegar into restaurants. :-)

I have tried eating chocolate or tomatoes or other acid-increasing foods hoping they would be adequate to stimulate my stomach, but I always have to take betaine HCl if I want my food digested in a reasonable amount of time with no reflux problems.

Jeanne8203
December 21, 2015

My alternative doctor recommended HCL for me when I eat fatty meals. As one gets older, stomach acid can decline and taking HCL really helps. I don't take it often but when I do need it, it's amazing. Only one or two is all I take!

Robert8098
November 25, 2015

Look at the following paper: DiSilvestro RA, Verbruggen MA, Offutt EJ. Anti-heartburn effects of a fenugreek fiber product. Phytotherapy Research 2011; 25(1):88-91. Note that the intervention was fenugreek fiber, not the whole herb. Also, note that we gave the product before meals as a preventive agent; it was not a post meal treatment.

Jeanne8097
November 25, 2015

Products I recommend in my nutrition practice for immediate relief are Enzymatic Therapy's DGL ULTRA chewable tablets and Life Extension's Esophageal Guardian. They are very effective without harming normal gastric function.

The Esophageal Guardian forms temporary "foam rafts" to prevent the stomach fluids from re-fluxing into the esophagus. The DGL can be chewed like you would a Tums and is soothing to the gastric lining.

I have used both products to take people off long term PPI meds. They deal with the rebound that happens when you try to quit taking PPIs.

Jeanne8204
December 21, 2015

I use DGL often...It really works for me...

ConsumerLab.com
December 21, 2015

Hi Jeanne - Thanks for sharing your experience using DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). Evidence for DGL is discussed in the Encyclopedia article about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=38738

michelle8096
November 25, 2015

I am a registered dietitian and use enteric coated peppermint, as well as probiotics, and sometimes include enzymes in the regimen. Usually, changing the diet to a more anti-inflammatory diet will help tremendously.

Deborah18799
January 4, 2020

I cured my GERD of many years by avoiding wheat, corn, and cow's milk products; increasing consumption of a variety of vegetables; taking some probiotics; and using digestive enzymes. I drink only water and unsweetened hot tea. I do not eat after 8:00 pm.

Natalie18481
October 4, 2019

I have had a lot of benefit from melatonin. It seems that stomach acid normally reduces overnight but it some people this doesn't happen, leading to GERD symptoms. In these cases melatonin can help.
ref: https://bmcgastroenterol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-230X-10-7

ConsumerLab.com
October 24, 2019

Hi Natalie -- Thank you for sharing this. There is some evidence that melatonin can help with GERD and some types of stomach pain, although the evidence is preliminary and there are some caveats. See "Other Uses" in the Melatonin Supplements Review https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/melatonin-supplements/melatonin/#stomach for details.

richard18323
September 15, 2019

I have gastroparesis and GERD. Bothers me at night. I refrain from eating after 4 or 5 PM. I take sodium bicarbonate 10 grain tablets before bedtime (3 or 4) as well as a chewable DGL. Works well for me.

ConsumerLab.com
September 16, 2019

Hi Richard - Thank you for sharing this. Be aware that regular consumption of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can have adverse effects (see https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/baking-soda-rheumatoid-arthritis/baking-soda/).

richard18335
September 16, 2019

There is no free lunch. Taking Tums, Omeprazole, etc also has potential risk. Doing nothing and not treating the reflux and hyper acidity also has risk. There is no free lunch.

Sheila18321
September 15, 2019

I am one of those who used to find fish oil supplements impossible to take because of GI distress. That was until I discovered supercritically extracted fish oil supplements. This process uses carbon dioxide to extract the elements for the supplement, instead of the more typical chemically-based extraction process. With the chemical extraction, there is an unavoidable residue in the final product, and some people do not tolerate it well. Another benefit of supercritical extraction is that you get a much larger dose in a much smaller sized softgel. I discovered this with the Minami fish oils (I have no financial interest in the company).

I also used to have a nausea problem with the ubiquinol product my husband and I were taking. I eventually discovered that trying a different ubiquinol product made a complete difference.

For heartburn, I find deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) lozenges to be fabulous. It's a mucilaginous plant, so when you chew and swallow it and it mixes with fluids, it produces a protective mucous coating of the stomach and esophagus. The glycyrrhizin has been removed because otherwise it can create problems for people with hypertension. The taste of different products differs. One that I really like is the DGL lozenges made by Planetary Herbals (no financial interest in that company).

Charles17688
March 29, 2019

I have been bothered with acid reflux all my adult life. Recently a physician said that he had good experiences with alkaline water. He said that it seemed as effective as drugs in some patients.

I was skeptical but am now a believer/ Since I started drinking it, I have had no problems or needed any antacids (although I do take an otc acid reducer 2x daily).

Alkaline water is available at many supermarkets (for example, Essentia) and at Trader Joes, which is the product I prefer. My experience has been that if I feel any acid distress, some water will stop it immediately.

Susan 17675
March 26, 2019

Hylands [Homeopathic] Indigestion tabs work quickly on heartburn, pain, gas, etc. They work even better than Boiron [homeopathic] Acidil tablets as there are more ingredients in Hylands. We find that even 1/2 of a tablet works just fine. Just to be safe, we carry a bottle in the car. Also useful is the liquid spray made by King Bio. All of these (except King Bio) sell for less than $10.00 and have up to 100 tabs per package.

ConsumerLab.com
March 26, 2019

Thank you for sharing your experience, Susan. It is worth noting, however, that no known active ingredient is in true homeopathic preparations, as discussed in the homeopathics article on our site at https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=38314.

Susan 17682
March 27, 2019

True that at 12C there isn't a molecule of the original left. However, homeopathic products DO work. Getting the right remedy is important; along with dosage. Starting low at 6X or 30X is better than going to 30C for example. Better to work way up when one doesn't have a classical homeopath/naturopathic doctor to work with. 30C works a lot in the emotional field too. For the elderly, not over 12C is often recommended. If you've got a nerve pain, try 30X to 12C Hypericum Perforatum for example. Or, Ledlum Palustre for bee stings. That usually convinces non-believers.

Stave17671
March 24, 2019

DigestZen by Dottera 2x a day has replaced my PPI for several years now and I have been mostly symptom free. A great product consist of essential oils.

Karen16853
May 20, 2018

Hi,

I started taking TruNature Advanced Digestive Probiotic just for general digestive health, after running out of the brand I had been taking. After several days, I noticed I was not having any heartburn/reflux. I continued taking the TruNature, and it has significantly reduced my incidence of heartburn/reflux. Before I started taking it, I had heartburn/reflux 3-4 times a week (and had been diagnosed with GERD). I have been taking the TruNature for 11 weeks now, and in that time have had only 3 episodes of heartburn. I take 2 capsules twice a day.

I do not have any stake, financial or otherwise, in TruNature or its distributors, other than being a happy customer.

Dennis11416
November 22, 2016

Betain Hydrochloride is the "go to" for reflux. I wonder how much kickback the FDA chiefs are getting from big pharma to shut down HCL use. It's a big scam. My low stomach acid condition, when corrected with supplemental HCL, totally eliminated my symptoms. I'm a little disappointed in Consumer Labs. The drug company execs should all be put in jail for pushing a very dangerous product, namely Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

ConsumerLab.com
November 23, 2016

Hi Dennis - As explained in our full answer, there is a lack of clinical evidence for betaine hydrochloride, and we think it is important to provide the facts to our subscribers. Nevertheless, we are glad that it appears to be helping you, and you are correct that there are risks with PPIs, about which we have also written.

Dennis11418
November 23, 2016

There are many legit supplements that lack a formal scientific, peer reviewed study to support their efficacy. The reason is that scientific studies are extremely expensive and are usually contraindicated when the outcome of the study is not likely to result in a patented product or process to benefit the study sponsors going forward. Thus, lack of scientific evidence is not a legitimate reason for the FDA to take their proposed action to reclassify HCL as a drug. It's obvious their motive is to help protect drug company profits, which, in the case of anti-acid related product sales, amount to over ten billion dollars a year. There are a significant number of prominent functional medicine doctors who support HCL use to treat reflux issues. The anecdotal evidence pointing to low stomach acid as a chief cause of reflux is out there. It would be a disservice to eliminate a potential cure in favor of a band aid fix (PPIs) with significant negative health issues.

ConsumerLab.com
November 23, 2016

Hi Dennis - Your point is valid that there is no often little financial incentive for a supplement company to fund a large study if it has not proprietary rights to the product, which may be a reason for a lack of clincial evidence. To clarify, the FDA has not "eliminated" betaine hydrochloride or banned it as a supplement.

Dennis11420
November 24, 2016

You are correct. However, if you follow the link you provided to the FDA site, it is very clear in their preliminary pronouncement that (1) they consider HCL a drug and not a supplement and (2) there is insufficient scientific evidence to approve HCL as a drug. That is pretty plain to me as to where this is going. If it is not a supplement but an unproven drug, it can't be sold OTC.

ConsumerLab.com
November 25, 2016

Acutally, the FDA considers it a drug if marketed as an acidifier and it can't be sold OTC. However, supplements are not OTC and it appears that betaine hydrochloride can be sold as a supplement so long as not marketed with drug claims, such as being an acidifier.

Jan11292
September 21, 2016

I am a dietitian (RDN) and Certified LEAP Therapist. My husband came back MRT reactive to corn, and learned that even traces of corn sweetener was a major trigger for his heartburn. (He'd been working in the hot-outdoors and drinking sports drinks) - He switched to tea with cane sugar or corn free foods and his heartburn resolved 100% in 4 days. Now, 10 years later, too much corn syrup, soda will trigger heartburn for him.

jennifer11414
November 22, 2016

This is very helpful idea. I will try it! Thank you.

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