A Simple Fix for Heartburn Every Morning
One of the more rare ways acid reflux can manifest itself is via heartburn in the morning. While most people suffer from heartburn in the evening or at night, some people get heartburn every morning. This could be the cause of nighttime heartburn that does not wake the afflicted individual up, but also some people just have an upset stomach in the morning.
For those people who tend to have an upset stomach and heartburn upon waking and for the early morning hours, I have a simple fix for you: have a protein shake for breakfast.
Protein for Morning Heartburn
Having a protein shake in the morning (with nothing else) first thing after waking is a great way to help reduce acid reflux. In particular, protein actually helps increase the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (the thing that seals off the stomach from the esophagus). Note: no reference to support this, but there is evidence out there – I had read through the entire study which had demonstrated that LES pressure increased on average by 8 mm Hg after eating protein in the test subjects, but it seems I deleted the .pdf file and cannot find it!
The routine is simple: take 20-50g of protein in a shake, right after waking. The amount used depends on body weight; if you weigh 100 pounds (45 kg), use 20 grams; if you weigh 200 pounds or more (90 kg or more), use 50 grams; everyone else can be somewhere in the middle.
Give yourself 20 minutes or so to let your stomach settle down before drinking any coffee or any more water. Do not drink any extra water with your morning protein until your acid reflux has calmed down. The reason for this is that extra water dilutes stomach acid and enzymes and makes it much harder to digest the protein. Use as little as water as necessary, and only drink water or coffee in the morning after your reflux has subsided.
Choosing the Right Protein Powder for Heartburn in the Morning
Protein’s effect on the digestive system can be very positive, but you want to be sure to choose the right type. A lot of people think that protein powders can lead to an upset stomach, but that is simply because they chose the wrong powder type.
The best powder you can get is pure whey protein, filtered or processed as finely as possible. At a bare minimum, you will want a protein which has “whey isolate” written on the ingredients label. When you look at the nutrition facts, you want to find one that has no carbs, and if possible no fat as well. I prefer VPX’s Zero Carb SRO brand for this purpose (I have no affiliation with this company – it is just a great product for morning use if you wake up with reflux).
The reason you want this type of protein is because it is very easily tolerated and it mixes extremely well with even small amounts of water. You can easily mix 20g of this high-quality protein with just 4-5 ounces of water. Cheap protein might require 2-3x as much water to mix, and as such will not be nearly as beneficial as water.
Cheaper milk proteins (whey is a component of milk protein) will also contain lactose, dairy fat, and casein, all of which are things you want to completely avoid if you have acid reflux. You have to order higher quality proteins like this online unless you want to pay an arm and a leg, because they tend to be very expensive in supplement stores and are simply not available at big retailers.
As far as soy proteins go, most soy proteins are extremely cheap and I do not recommend them for anyone. If you are a vegan, be sure to avoid “soy protein concentrate” like the plague. Soy protein concentrate is extremely cheap, but is laden in chemicals that you do not want, particularly plant isoflavones (an estrogen-mimicking plant chemical) and even hexane (a neurotoxin used in processing of soy). Soy isolate tends to have most of these byproducts removed. Ideally if you insist on using soy, you want to only use organic soy isolate; anything else has too many impurities and potentially toxic chemical byproducts.
Heartburn in the Morning Cure – The Protein Shake
Having a protein shake for breakfast is a great way to eliminate heartburn in the morning. Just remember that the best quality proteins make the best heartburn home remedies; stick to whey isolate (or better) or organic soy isolate for best results. A a general rule of thumb, the lower the carbohydrate and fat totals a protein has, the higher quality it is.