Treating Reflux With Diet

Laryngopharyngeal reflux(LPR) is responsible for a number of throat symptoms in many cases.  Chronic cough, mucous sensation in the throat, throat clearing, hoarseness and a foreign body sensation in the throat may be caused by LPR, a condition in which the throat is exposed to the acidic contents of the stomach.  When LPR is suspected, antacid treatment with a proton-pump inhibitor(PPI) is typically prescribed, and treatment may continue for years.  Recent studies have demonstrated risks associated with long-term PPI treatment, including respiratory tract infections, reduced absorption of nutrients, and dementia.

A recently published study on patients with LPR compared traditional drug treatment with a PPI to treatment with the Mediterranean diet and alkaline water(pH>8.0).  The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, beans, fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry and low in meat and dairy.  In the PPI(drug)treatment group, 54 percent of patients achieved reduction of their symptoms.  In the diet group, 63 percent of patients achieved reduction of their symptoms.

The results of this study indicate that diet modification may be more effective in treating LPR than medication.  The Mediterranean diet has been shown to improve cardiovascular health as well.  Lifestyle changes are increasingly recognized as an effective means of improving health while limiting the need for drug therapy and it’s side effects.

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