The Pill That Fights Heartburn and Helps You Sleep Soundly
04. 10. 2017
A good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to do when you suffer from nighttime reflux. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, approximately 25 million people experience heartburn on a daily basis, and at least half of them experience nighttime symptoms. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a pill that could relieve heartburn and help you sleep soundly?
As it turns out, there is.
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland to regulate the wake-sleep cycle. Our melatonin levels are at their highest during the nighttime to encourage a restful night’s sleep. These levels then fall sharply before daylight, allowing us to wake feeling refreshed and recharged. Melatonin supplements are available synthetically for individuals who have low hormone levels or difficulty sleeping. However, some evidence suggests that melatonin supplements may also be beneficial for relieving acid reflux symptoms.
A small study in 2010 examined the heartburn-relieving effects of melatonin on 36 individuals. Study subjects were divided into four groups: control subjects, patients with acid reflux treated with melatonin alone, omeprazole alone, and a combination of melatonin and omeprazole for 4 and 8 weeks. All participants provided a complete medical history and were subjected to a physical exam, lab work, endoscopic evaluation, and record of esophageal motility, pH-metry, basal acid output and serum gastrin.
The study results showed that melatonin improved acid reflux symptoms when used alone or in combination with omeprazole. Omeprazole alone produced more acid-relieving benefits than melatonin alone (Source: NCBI).
While melatonin supplements alone may not be enough to control serious cases of acid reflux, it could be a sufficient treatment for patients with mild reflux or those who want to avoid medications. With growing concerns over the long-term safety of proton pump inhibitors, natural supplements could be an attractive alternative to many patients.
If you are considering melatonin supplements, talk to your doctor before starting a new regimen. Although supplements are a more natural approach than medications, they can still produce side effects or interact with medications you are currently taking. Working with your doctor is the best way to develop a safe and comprehensive treatment plan.