can probiotics make acid reflux worse

Can Probiotics Make Acid Reflux Worse & Affect GERD?

Researchers have estimated that over 20% of the US population suffers from Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD).

However, doctors and scientists have yet to develop a permanent and innocuous cure.

Here is where probiotics come in as an effective as well as a risk-free remedy for acid reflux.

Key Highlights
  • Probiotic strains fix gut dysbiosis and alleviate GERD symptoms.
  • They improve efficacy and reduce the risks of acid reflux medicines.
  • Certain lactic acid and spore-forming bacteria are considered successful candidates for this purpose.

Over the years, probiotics have gained a reputation for enhancing gut health and immune function.

Not just that, clinical studies have also confirmed the usefulness of specific Lactobacillus, Bacillus, and Bifidobacterium species and strains for heartburn or related symptoms of acid reflux disease.

But how do these strains help to calm down that acidity in your gut? 

Well, you have to keep reading to find out the detailed answer as well as some best probiotic supplements for relieving your heartburn.

So, head down without further ado.

probiotics foods and pills

Are Probiotics OK For Acid Reflux?

Yes, Probiotics are, in fact, best for reflux. 

The reason is that they eliminate the cause of acidity at the gut level. Secondly, they tone down the severity of the symptoms. Furthermore, they prevent the adverse effects of other prescribed treatments.

Before all, you need to understand that acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid flows up into the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach). 

This condition develops into a disease when it starts to occur more frequently, and it may begin to damage the esophagus, throat, or respiratory tract.

It is not easy to declare a single culprit behind the development of GERD, but some suspected reasons are stress, alcohol, smoking, or weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter (valve).

But fret not because, according to the International Probiotics Association, probiotics can help alleviate the symptoms of GERD by improving immune function, healing gut dysbiosis, reducing gastric acid production, and improving digestion. 

For example, a recent 2020 review summarized the outcome of 14 studies that evaluated the efficacy of probiotics in reducing the frequency of Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD) symptoms.

Ultimately, the reviewers concluded that in 11 of the 14 studies, probiotics were found to be beneficial for reflux or heartburn, regurgitation, indigestion, nausea, abdominal pain, and gas-related symptoms (belching, gurgling).

In essence, this review identified some probiotic species as potential antidotes for hyperacidity are; L. gasseri, B. bifidum, B. lactis, L. reuteri, B. longum, L. casei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, and L. acidophilus.

In addition to that, here are some examples of certain probiotic strains that were found to relieve GERD symptoms in different studies:

  • Lactobacillus johnsonii No. 1088 reduces gastric acid production.
  • L. rhamnosus LR06, L. pentosus LPS01, L. plantarum LP0, L. delbrueckii Subsp. delbrueckii LDD01 and Bifidobacterium bifidum YIT 10347 strengthen the gastric barrier against stomach acid.
  • B. bifidum YIT 10347 enhances immune system function and prevents H. pylori-associated gastritis (stomach inflammation).
  • L. gasseri LG21 increases the production of pepsinogen, which contributes to improved digestion.

Should You Take Probiotics If You Have Acid Reflux?

Yes, you should take probiotics, especially probiotic foods, if you have acid reflux. Regarding this, clinical studies have reported that sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and fermented soy improve the quality of life in GERD patients.

The probiotics in these foods are proclaimed to have a calming effect on the stomach, and they nourish the gut microbiome to optimize digestion.

Plus, these foods contain additional nutrients like fiber and protein that reinforce the benefit of good bacteria for acid reflux.

Additionally, they enhance immune function to reduce inflammation, protect the stomach mucosal layer, and prevent symptoms like regurgitation, heartburn frequency, abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea.

Following are the bacterial species that were attributed to the benefit of these foods in acid reflux:

  • Fermented soy L. delbrueckii
  • KimchiL. plantarum
  • Fortified yogurt – L. acidophilus
  • Kombucha – Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species
  • SauerkrautLactobacillus species.

Nonetheless, you can also take a supplement with similar strains to these fermented foods or any of the bacterial species mentioned in the section above.

But if you need help deciding what to buy, skip to the end to see some of my recommended probiotic supplements that are good for acid reflux.

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Can You Take Probiotics With Acid Reducers?

Yes, it is completely okay to use probiotics with antacids because the good bacteria may help diminish their risk of side effects.

Nonetheless, probiotics work better on their own instead of as a combined treatment.

Still, here are two examples of scientific evidence that justify the use of probiotics with acid reducers.

Probiotics Prevent Gut Dysbiosis From PPI

Scientists have perceived that long-term administration of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) may offset the normal gut microbiota balance.

Therefore, in 2018 researchers set out to check if co-administration of the probiotic strain L. reuteri DSM 17938 with PPI will prove any good for preventing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in children with GERD.

Upon the completion of the 12-week trial, the researchers concluded that probiotic administration significantly reduced the occurrence of gut dysbiosis among children who were treated with PPI.

The difference is apparent as about 56.2% of children from the placebo group developed SIBO compared to just 6.2% of children in the probiotics group.

Probiotics Reinforce The Effect Of Medicines Prescribed For Gut Issues.

In another 2021 study, individuals with Functional dyspepsia (upset stomach without a traceable cause) were fed a probiotic complex containing Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus LR04 (DSM 16605), Lactiplantibacillus pentosus LPS01 (DSM 21980), Lactiplantibacillus plantarum LP01 (LMG P-21021), and L. delbrueckii subsp. delbruekii LDD01 (DMS 22106).

This probiotic complex was administered to participants either alone or in combination with prokinetics, antacids, or proton pump inhibitors, which prompted significant improvement in their indigestion.

Moreover, patients who had postprandial distress syndrome (a subdivision of functional dyspepsia) showed a marked reduction in the incidence of symptoms like fullness, bloating, nausea, and pain after a meal.

Best Probiotics For Acid Reflux

Here are some probiotic supplements containing strains that may help you get rid of acid reflux and its associated symptoms.

  • YourBiology Probiotics – It contains three Lactobacillus species (L. acidophilus, L. Plantarum, and L. Paracasei) and one Bifidobacterium specie (B. lactis).
  • Biotics 8 probiotics– It contains 5 Lactobacillus species (L. casei, L. paracasei, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus).
  • Omnibiotic AB 10 Probiotics– It contains five Lactobacillus strains (L. acidophilus W55, L. acidophilus W37, L. plantarum W62, L. paracasei W72, Lactobacillus rhamnosus W71) and three Bifidobacterium strains (B. bifidum W23, B. lactis W18, B. longum W51).
  • Chobani Probiotic Yogurt – It contains three Lactobacillus species (L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, L. casei), and one Bifidus specie.

Related: 7 Best Probiotics for Acid Reflux & Gerd


Can probiotics help silent acid reflux?

Yes, probiotics belonging to the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, such as L. acidophilus or B. lactis, are helpful in alleviating acid reflux. 

Which probiotic is best for reflux?

Certain probiotic foods like yogurt and kimchi or supplements like Optibac every day extra probiotics may relieve acid reflux.

Is Yakult good for an acidic stomach?

Yes, scientific studies agree that the L. paracasei strain Shirota in Yakult helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and promote digestion which are the two major concerns in GERD.

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