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Why Does Beer Give Me Heartburn? (Uh-Oh)

Heartburn is a very unpleasant burning sensation that occurs in your esophagus. It can be incredibly painful, so people often look for ways to avoid developing this unpleasant issue.

Unfortunately, some certain foods and beverages are known as “trigger” foods, which should be avoided by people struggling with acid reflux. These include alcohol, such as beer. But why exactly does beer cause heartburn? Let’s dive into the issue.

Why Does Beer Give Me Heartburn?

Beer contains alcohol and gas, which are both reasons why drinking it worsens your acid reflux and leads to heartburn. Beer is also rather high in calories, so drinking too much of it can lead to weight gain. Rapid weight gain worsens your acid reflux symptoms, so make sure to avoid it.

Is beer acidic?

Beer has a pH level of between 4.0-5.0. As an alcoholic beverage, beer is acid-forming, so it can lead to some irritating symptoms like heartburn. Beer is also carbonated, and most drinks of this type are acidic as well.

While beer’s acidity depends strongly on the type, all beers – from light to dark – are acid-forming. So, it’s important not to overdo it and maybe even avoid beer if you find that your symptoms become much worse after drinking this alcoholic beverage.

How does beer cause heartburn?

Firstly, beer contains alcohol, which has been linked to an increased risk of GERD and acid reflux. Alcohol helps relax the sphincter and irritate your esophageal lining, leading to heartburn.

While beverages with higher alcohol content are more likely to induce unpleasant symptoms, beer is also a culprit. As a result, make sure to drink beer slowly and carefully, especially if you suspect that it may be causing your acid reflux symptoms.

Just like overeating, drinking too many beers can lead to acid reflux symptoms. This is because your stomach is too full, and you cannot keep up with digesting the liquids.

When that happens, the contents of your stomach can rise up, along with gastric acid, and cause heartburn. So, it’s also good to remember not to drink too many beers in one sitting, especially very fast and on an empty stomach.

Draught Beer In Glasses
Draught Beer In Glasses

It’s also important to remember that beer induces heartburn in healthy people but makes the symptoms much worse in individuals with GERD. The same goes for any acidic foods.

Everybody can experience some heartburn from time to time. But if you’re prone to this condition, you might want to avoid trigger foods or talk to your doctor about taking some medication. 

Can be beer be healthy for you?

No alcoholic drink is completely healthy but having an occasional pint of beer might not be as bad for you as you may think. While it contains mostly empty calories, it provides you with small amounts of minerals, such as niacin, riboflavin, choline, and folate, since it’s made from cereal grains and yeast.

A single serving of light beer doesn’t give you a lot of these, but it’s good to know that it does have some health to it. What’s more, most calories in beer come from alcohol, so drinking it doesn’t help you get any essential macronutrients.

Some studies show that moderate beer intake can lower the risk of heart disease, just like wine, when it comes to health benefits. This is very likely because the alcohol in beer helps dilate your blood vessels, and other compounds improve your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, remember that only drinking moderately can help you reap these health benefits, as overdoing it on alcohol is incredibly harmful to your health.

Other studies also show that drinking alcohol from time to time can lower your risk of dementia as well as Alzheimer’s disease. It may also improve your cognitive behavior and memory.

But just like before, though, drinking too many increases the risk of early-onset dementia and other cognitive disorders. So, it’s important not to overdo it on any alcoholic drink.

One of the most important downsides to drinking beer is its alcohol content, especially if you drink it too much. Doing so can lead to alcohol dependency and alcoholism, which is a severe, potentially lethal condition.

It leads to organ failure and cognitive impairment as well as increases your risk of death. It can also worsen your depression and anxiety symptoms, so keep that in mind when you indulge in a drink.

What type of beer is the easiest for your stomach?

Generally, lighter beers are easier on your digestive system than darker kinds. They’re also less acidic as they’re made with different grains. Because of that, you may want to switch to lighter types of beer and check if it helps you control your heartburn symptoms.

After all, most people should be able to enjoy some alcohol in moderation, but they may just need to tweak which types they consume.

Some beer also has other ingredients added, such as artificial flavoring, chocolate, coffee, chili peppers, mint, and so many more. All of these are linked to heartburn and can increase how severe and frequent your symptoms become.

As a result, if you know that beer aggravates your heartburn, try sticking to pale ale and lager and avoid craft beers with other potentially triggering foods.

Pale Ale
Pale Ale

It’s also important not to drink beer right before going to bed. This increases the risk that your stomach contents will rise up your esophagus, causing heartburn, which can be even worse at night.

The general rule of thumb is not to drink or eat anything at least two to three hours before bed, which also applies to alcohol. So, no matter what type of beer you choose, stop drinking well in advance.

Beer is a trendy alcoholic beverage that may, unfortunately, lead to heartburn and even other acid reflux symptoms. Due to its alcohol content and carbonated nature, beer may not be suitable for everyone who suffers from severe acid reflux, but it all depends on your trigger foods.

Always listen to your body and never consume alcohol too often and in large quantities.