- Consuming a plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet with alkaline water can reduce reflux symptoms
- A plant based Mediterranean diet lowers reflux symptoms by 90-95% when compared to proton pump inhibitors (PPI)
- Long-term administration of PPI's can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney damage and dementia
Laryngopharyngeal reflux could be treated with a plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet, which was found to have the same results as popular reflux medications, reveals a new study.
The study was published by the research team in JAMA Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery
, and they were from Northwell Health's The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and New York Medical College.
‘Laryngopharyngeal reflux and gastro-esophageal acid reflux (GERD) can both be treated with the Mediterranean diet.’
Reflux symptoms are lowered in patients who consumed a 90-95% whole food, plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet along with alkaline water than those patients who take traditional reflux medication, proton pump inhibitors (PPI).
Patients who took PPI's had 54.1 percent reduction, whereas patients who were treated with a plant-based, Mediterranean diet and alkaline water saw a six point (62.6 percent) reduction in their Reflux Symptom Index. The severity of reflux symptoms is measured by RSI.
Although, the research team investigated only those patients who had laryngopharyngeal reflux; the Mediterranean diet was also found to help patients who had gastro-esophageal acid reflux (also known as GERD).
Craig H. Zalvan said that he was largely prescribing PPI's in his region. He is the lead author of this study, who has a major in MD, FACS, chief of Otolaryngology and medical director of The Institute for Voice and Swallowing Disorders at Northwell Health's Phelps Hospital and researcher at the Feinstein Institute.
Dr. Zalvan felt that there should be better treatment approach in treating conditions such as laryngopharyngeal reflux and started to investigate for alternative therapies.
Though medications were effective in some patients, he felt that this couldn't be the only method of treating reflux symptoms.
According to recent studies, long-term administration of PPI's can lead to various health diseases like increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney damage and dementia. This has made him all the more confident in investigating further for an alternative treatment.
"I did research and saw a lot of studies using plant-based diets to treat patients for many other chronic diseases, so I decided to develop a diet regimen to treat my laryngopharyngeal reflux patients. The results we found showed we are heading in the right direction to treating reflux without medication," said Dr. Zalvan.
Dr.Zalvan suggested a diet which consisted mostly of fruits and vegetables, grains and nuts; and almost restricting dairy and meats like chicken, beef, pork, fish, and eggs. Coffee, tea, chocolate, greasy, fried food, spicy foods, fatty foods, soda, and alcohol were completely avoided in standard reflux precautions.
Along with relieving of reflux symptoms, most of his patients experienced some weight loss and also a reduction in symptoms and medication use from other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
A plant-based Mediterranean diet with alkaline water and standard reflux precautions should be attempted even before the use of medication or before the short-term use of medication for more severe needs, said Dr. Zalvan.
Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president, and CEO of the Feinstein Institute said, "Dr. Zalvan's approach of challenging assumptions in treatment norms epitomizes our view of medical research at the Feinstein Institute and Northwell Health."