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Alcohol and Coffee Cause Heartburn, Not Spicy Foods

Although most people blame their heartburn condition on eating spicy foods, Dr. Kevin Ghassemi of the University of California, Los Angeles believes alcohol and coffee consumption is probably the biggest contributor to heartburn. Ghassemi is a gastroenterologist.

Dr. Ghassemi reported that the lower esophageal sphincter is relaxed when alcohol is consumed. This sphincter is a ring of muscle that appears at the spot where the stomach meets the esophagus.

Ghassemi states, “The muscle is supposed to be closed, except when food is passing into the esophagus, ”When alcohol creates an opening, acid from the the stomach causes a reflux by traveling upward into the esophagus. This acid causes the burning feeling associated with heartburn.”

Coffee also produces a similar relaxation effect. People who are overweight and drink coffee and alcohol may have more problems with acid reflux.

Karthik Ravi of the Mayo Clinic supports Ghassemi’s findings. Ravi says there is no evidence to support the fact that spicy foods cause heartburn.

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