Can the amla berry help with your reflux symptoms?

Many patients will take medication for reflux, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), for long periods of time without understanding the risks.

Yet, official advice says PPIs shouldn’t be taken for more than three 14-day treatment courses in one year.

In our blog series on natural remedies, we look at alternatives people often use for relief from their reflux symptoms, such as heartburn and indigestion, and investigate whether there is any scientific evidence supporting the claims.

What is Amla?

Amla – also known as the Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica L.) – is a yellow-green fruit about the size of a plum found on trees in India.

Available as a juice, dried amla berry is also sold in the form of powder, tablets and capsules.

Why is it used for health benefits?

Amla has been used in Ayurveda, an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent, for many years and is popular for its apparent health benefits.

It has a high content of vitamin C and is rich in antioxidants – studies suggest the berry has 40 times more antioxidants than blackberries or blueberries.

Helping to rid the body of free radicals, destructive molecules that damage cells and DNA, antioxidants have been linked to a number of benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer.

Amla also contains high concentrations of ascorbic acid, phenols and tannins, such as gallic acid and flavonoids. Some studies have reported that Amla extract possesses antisecretory, antiulcer, and cytoprotective components.

How can the amla berry help reflux?

Some studies have shown that in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), antioxidants ‘increase levels of endogenous antioxidants, decrease pepsin and gastric acid production, lipid peroxidation, and ulceration, and alleviate subsequent damage to gastric cells’.

Does it work?

There are limited studies on amla and reflux.

However, a 2018 study evaluated the safety and efficacy of Amla tablets for improvement of symptoms of patients with non-erosive reflux disease.

Sixty-eight patients who had classic symptoms of reflux disease (heartburn, regurgitation and chest pain) for at least three months took part in a trial.

Patients consumed two 500 mg Amla tablets twice a day, after meals, for four weeks while a control group received placebo tablets similar to the Amla prescription.

Frequencies of heartburn and regurgitation in both groups of the study were significantly reduced after intervention but in the Amla group, there was a more significant reduction in regurgitation frequency, heartburn frequency, regurgitation severity and heartburn severity during the study period.

The trial concluded that Amla could reduce frequencies of heartburn and regurgitation and improve heartburn and regurgitation severity in patients with non-erosive reflux disease.

Conclusion

Without thorough scientific investigation, it is difficult to claim natural remedies really work and, of course, what works for one person may not always work for another.

Many people think that ‘they are safe because they are natural’ but this is not always true.

It is important to see your doctor for a full discussion about supplements and medication, especially if you develop new or worsening symptoms.

Further reading

Previous ‘reflux and natural remedies’ blogs include Ginger and Baking Soda, Manuka Honey and Aloe Vera, Melatonin, Liquorice and Apple Cider Vinegar and Slippery Elm and Kefir.

An early and objective diagnosis of reflux, such as Peptest provides, opens the door to lifestyle changes, and future treatment. Peptest can also be used after reflux treatments to assess the success or failure of any treatment. Find out more about Peptest and order your Peptest home testing kit now.

Disclaimer: This is an informational blog and does not constitute diet or lifestyle advice. We always recommend you do your own research on top to ensure it’s right for your specific circumstances. You can always get in touch if you have any questions. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. You should always consult your doctor prior to undertaking any treatment for reflux. This blog content was last updated in 2022.

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