Melatonin Improves Heartburn
Julian Whitaker, MD
If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your first stop might be the heartburn section in your drugstore. But before you grab an acid blocker, bear in mind that these drugs have been linked to increased risk of bacterial infection, hip fracture, nutritional deficiencies, and memory decline. Fortunately, just a few aisles over you’ll find a safe, natural, and likely more effective solution: melatonin.
Best known as the sleep hormone, researchers are now discovering melatonin’s remarkable ability to suppress stomach acid and protect the esophagus from the caustic effects of gastric acid. In a recent study, 351 people with moderate to severe heartburn were either given the acid blocker Prilosec or a supplement containing 6 mg of melatonin plus B vitamins and amino acids. Within one week, those taking melatonin reported some improvement, and, after 40 days, they had complete resolution of symptoms. Conversely, only 66 percent of the patients on Prilosec had complete relief.
- The recommended dose of melatonin for GERD is 6 mg, taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Be sure you’re taking a quality multinutrient supplement too, since B vitamins and amino acids appear to boost melatonin’s efficacy.
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