Can Drinking Milk Help With Heartburn?

Almost everyone suffers from heartburn at one time or another. It is the result of acids in your stomach moving up your esophagus, causing it to "burn." This sensation is usually felt in the chest, but sometimes, it can make the back of your throat burn. You might get heartburn after you eat food that triggers an increase in stomach acid, such as onions, citrus fruits, alcohol, foods high in fat, and caffeinated and carbonated drinks. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you might also experience bouts of heartburn (via the Cleveland Clinic). 

If you suffer from heartburn, over-the-counter antacids might help. Avoiding certain foods and trying not to eat too much at once are ways to keep it under control. There are plenty of home remedies for getting rid of heartburn, including drinking a glass of milk. Some people claim that it can help, but is there any evidence to back this up?

Milk might relieve heartburn symptoms

The reason why milk could help with heartburn has to do with two ingredients: calcium and protein. Calcium carbonate is a common ingredient found in antacids, so this makes sense. One 2019 study published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility looked at over 10,000 people and found that men who increased their calcium intake saw a reduction in heartburn. A smaller study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences in 2004 suggested that calcium increased movement of the lower esophageal sphincter, which is usually weak in people who suffer from heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues. Protein might also be helpful in reducing heartburn because it stimulates the production of gastrin, which causes the lower esophageal sphincter to contract, triggering the stomach to empty itself (via Healthline).

However, not all milk is the same. Dr. Ekta Gupta, a gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine, told Hopkins Medicine that whole milk might make symptoms worse because of the higher fat content, and reduced-fat milk might be a better option. You don't have to stick with cow's milk, either. Almond milk is thought to be comparable because of its alkaline, but more research is needed (via Healthline). You can always try different types of milk to see which one works for you.