Can a food supplement really treat GERD?

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November 5, 2020 - 9:12 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a longtime GERD sufferer and have used omeprazole for years. I have tried everything else over 50 years, with limited success. I tried a product containing caraway oil and menthol three months ago, and have had no symptoms since. Just a food supplement? It’s hard to believe. How would you explain it? — P.M.

Dr. Keith Roach

Answer: Since gastroesophageal reflux disease is so common, I try hard to stay current with new treatments, but had not read about using caraway oil and menthol. 

Caraway oil is reported to relax the smooth muscle in the duodenum and menthol has anti-inflammatory effects. In a study from 2019, looking at the effectiveness in 95 people with functional dyspepsia, after 28 days treatment, 61% of the subjects taking caraway oil and menthol had improvement, but 49% of the control subjects did as well. Similarly, 7% to 10% of people taking medication improved their symptoms scores.

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