When it comes to treating GERD elimination of refined foods, reduction in carbohydrates and improvement/increase of gastric acid and digestive enzymes is the first approach. For people that still experience reflux, testing and treating gut imbalances and infections is the next step. If GERD symptoms are still present that means that the root cause has not been addressed fully.
Following on from a previous article this article will explore an interesting trial with 100% success for the GERD patients
GERD and Melatonin
A paper, published in 2006, looked into the effects of melatonin and a combination of amino acids and vitamins (l-tryptophan, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, methionine and betaine) on patients with GERD.
To qualify for the trial, potential patients had to experience “moderate to very severe heartburn or regurgitation in the past 7 days.”
351 patients suffering from the range of symptoms associated with GERD were split into two groups. One group of 176 patients took the melatonin supplement for 40 days. During that time period they were to avoid other medications including the acid suppressing drugs.
The other arm of the trial, n=175, were administered one of the common acid blocking drugs, omeprazole.
After 7 days of the melatonin supplement many patients reported relief from their heartburn and GERD symptoms and after the 40 days of treatment every individual in the melatonin group experienced total regression of symptoms.
In the acid blocking group, remember this is that standard treatment for GERD and heartburn, 65.7% experienced relief from their symptoms.
The interesting aspect of this trial was in the cross-over. 60 patients that received the acid suppressing drug and didn’t experience symptom relief were given the melatonin/vitamin supplement for the 40 days. Every one of them reported complete regression of symptoms as well.
Questions and Possible Answers
As with most interesting papers these results raise more questions than they answer. Some thoughts on the biochemical process that led to melatonin helping to eliminate GERD symptoms include
- Melatonin’s inhibitory action on gastric acid secretion and heal ulcers
- Melatonin inhibits nitric oxide biosynthesis which could in part limit transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESR) (3).
- The additional vitamins and amino acid acted as an analgesic supplement and possibly contributed some anti inflammatory actions
References and Resources
- GERD – Treating the Root Cause
- Regression of gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms using dietary supplementation with melatonin, vitamins and aminoacids: comparison with omeprazole.
- Involvement of nitric oxide in human transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations and esophageal primary peristalsis.