Is It Safe To Drink Lemon Water On An Empty Stomach?

For years, drinking lemon water has been promoted and glamorized as a cure-all for a variety of ailments from skin conditions to digestive problems. Although lemons are certainly high in vitamin C (not to mention delicious!), nutritionists and health experts are far from united in their opinions on the health benefits of downing a glass of lemon water first thing every morning before breakfast.

When it comes to digestive problems — or indigestion — there's little hard evidence to support that a morning glass of lemon water will actually do much to help. Ian Musgrave, senior lecturer in pharmacology at The University of Adelaide, told HuffPost Australia, "There is no evidence that apple cider vinegar or lemon water ― or a combination of these ― will do anything for digestion or indigestion. There are many causes of indigestion. Quite often indigestion involves excess acid, possibly irritation of the stomach lining, and occasionally ulcers and gallstones."

Lemon juice is a popular health tonic

Still, others worry that the low pH of lemon juice can actually make acid reflux and indigestion worse for those who already suffer from it if consumed on an empty stomach. Dietitian Lauren O'Connor, owner of Nutri Savvy Health and author of The Healthy Alkaline Diet Guide, notes, "Lemons are naturally acidic with a pH between 2 and 3. That is bad news for acid reflux sufferers because acidic foods trigger heartburn and can irritate an already inflamed throat (a symptom of Silent Reflux)" (via Revyuh).

Another potential problem with repeatedly drinking lemon water is that the acidity in the lemon can wear away at tooth enamel over time, making you more prone to tooth sensitivity and cavities. Jack Hirschfeld, a clinical instructor at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine's School of Dental Medicine, tells Revyuh, "Any acidic beverage like lemon water will wear away tooth enamel over time."

As for lemon's other claims to fame, such as weight loss and skin health, while scientific studies might not conclusively support them, plenty of anecdotal evidence does, as the proliferation of lemon-water challenges and their glowing after-reports show (via Insider).