Mediterranean-diet style may eliminate need for reflux medications

UNITED STATES – A plant-based, Mediterranean style diet had been shown to provide alternative medical benefits for treating laryngopharyngeal reflux as popular medications for reflux.

According to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery by researchers from Northwell Health’s The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and New York Medical College, the plant based Mediterranean style diet had the same if not better reduction in reflux symptoms.

When compared to patients who took the traditional reflux medication, proton pump inhibitors (PPI), those patients who consumed a 90-95% whole food, plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet paired with alkaline water had the same if not better reduction in reflux symptoms.

62.6 per cent of patients treated with a plant-based diet and alkaline water saw a six-point reduction in their Reflux Symptom Index (RSI – a measurement for the severity of reflux symptoms), compared to 54.1 per cent reduction in patients taking PPI’s.

Though this research only focused on those with laryngopharyngeal reflux, this same diet regimen has implications to help patients with gastro-oesophageal acid reflux (also known as GERD).

“Although effective in some patients, I felt medication couldn’t be the only method to treat reflux and recent studies reporting increased rates of stroke and heart attack, dementia and kidney damage from prolonged PPI use made me more certain,” said Dr. Zalvan.

“I did research and saw a lot of studies using plant-based diets to treat patients for many other chronic diseases, so I decided to develop a diet regimen to treat my laryngopharyngeal reflux patients.

The results we found show we are heading in the right direction to treating reflux without medication.”

“Dr. Zalvan’s approach of challenging assumptions in treatment norms epitomizes our view of medical research at the Feinstein Institute and Northwell Health,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.

“We are committed to developing novel strategies to benefit our patients in a way that positively impacts medical practice globally.”

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