Intermittent fasting may help with GERD: study

A recent U.S. study found that intermittent fasting can potentially reduce acid exposure time and other symptoms in individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease, Medscape reported Nov. 21. 

Intermittent fasting is the process of switching between fasting and eating on a regulated schedule. 

The study consisted of 25 individuals who showed GERD symptoms who underwent pH monitoring for 96 hours. For the first 48 hours, the participants were asked to follow their regular diet. In the second half of the study, participants were instructed to fast for 16 hours and then eat during a designated eight-hour period. 

Only one-third of the participants followed the intermittent fasting protocol, however, individuals who did had a mild reduction in mean acid exposure time and self-reported GERD symptoms. Eighty-six percent of participants partially followed the protocol by intermittent fasting for at least one day, but not the full 48 hours. 

The lead author of the study, Yan Jiang, MD, said a study with individuals who had been diagnosed with GERD, as opposed to those who are only showing symptoms, might affect the results in future studies. 

"This study looked at all comers with GERD symptoms," Dr. Jiang told Medscape. "But if you were to do another study with people with proven GERD, they might experience a bigger impact with intermittent fasting."

In the study, the authors referenced how intermittent fasting has benefited individuals with coronary artery disease, inflammatory disorders, obesity and diabetes.

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