Reflux syndrome: antioxidants better than antacids

Free radicals from gastric acids may be more important that the acid itself in reflux oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus due to acids backing up from the stomach).

Korean researchers, using an antioxidant herbal extract identified as DA-9601, found that pretreatment with the extract significantly reduced oesophageal lesions in rats with induced reflux oesophagitis. While 80 per cent of the controls and 60 per cent of those taking ranitidine (Zantac) developed lesions, only 27 per cent of rats on a low dose of antioxidants, and 20 per cent of those pretreated with a high dose, did.

Research in this area has increased in the last few years and, although still based on animal models – which the researchers are careful to note are different from humans – if proved effective in humans, antioxidants could be an effective way to deal with reflux while avoiding the usual adverse effects associated with regular antacid use (Gut, 2001: 49: 364-71).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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