Gastrointestinal Tract "safe" from Acidic Food Content

by Tanya Thomas on Jul 31 2008 9:53 AM

Scientists have now proved a long-standing health fact as baseless. Contrary to popular belief, beverages like fruit juices, soft drinks, alcohol, etc., which score high on the acidic content, are not harmful to the upper gastrointestinal tract (GI), says a new study.

The research said that the upper GI is naturally equipped to handle such liquids that are associated with low pH.

Consumption of these drinks typically provides little or no harm to natural protective mechanisms of the lining of the upper human GI tract.

The authors zeroed in on these findings after reviewing more than two decades of GI physiology studies focusing on research on the human digestive system from the esophagus to the small intestine.

"The human GI tract is built to withstand the acidity in commonly consumed beverages by having natural neutralizers for acid, cellular repair mechanisms and cells that prevent acid from reaching more sensitive cells. When these actions work in concert, damage is prevented and repair ensues if damage does occur," said Dr. Ronald Kleinman, pediatric gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

He added: "Consumption of low pH beverages in moderate amounts should not negatively affect the lining of the upper GI tract. Of course the focus should be on consumption of foods and beverages that are nutrient rich and a diet that matches calorie intake to daily requirements."

The study is published in the Journal of Food Science.