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A 19-year-old male asked:

does caffeine drinks cause gerd? and is does betaine hcl pepsin helps with gerd. and what foods to eat with gerd?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Some basics: Nicotine & caffeine are chemicals that prevent the circular muscle controlling the stomach entrance from closing tightly thus allowing more reflux.Betaine hcl has no qualities I find helpful. Pepsin as a protease might help digestion but would offer nothing to treat reflux. You can consume a normal diet with reflux, but many avoid acidic food/drink out of caution.
Dr. Charles Turck
Pharmacology 17 years experience
See below: Caffeine may aggravate GERD. Betaine increases stomach acidity whereas typical GERD medications work by decreasing stomach acidity, so it may actually be unhelpful. Different foods may trigger GERD in different people, so it’s a question of identifying your own triggers and avoiding them. However, common ones are fatty, fried, or spicy food, tomatoes, citrus, chocolate, mint, onions, and garlic.

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Should be treated: Gerd is common--present in about 70 million americans. As such, there are easy solutions if you have just symptoms. If however you have inflammation due to gerd, this can be progressive & needs to be controlled. Start with behavior & diet changes (see prior healthtap answers), add acid-blocker medications (either h2-blockers or ppi's). Get evaluated, especially if atypical, chronic &/or worsening.

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Last updated Dec 5, 2020

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