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Keto heartburn

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Keto Heartburn: Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies

Heartburn is a common digestive issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest, often accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth. While heartburn can be caused by various factors, including certain foods, stress, and obesity, there is growing evidence suggesting a link between heartburn and the ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet. In this article, we will explore the causes of keto heartburn, its symptoms, and provide some remedies to alleviate this discomfort.

Causes of Keto Heartburn

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has gained popularity for its potential weight loss benefits and improved metabolic health. However, this diet can also lead to an increased risk of heartburn due to several reasons:

  • Increased fat consumption: The keto diet encourages the consumption of high-fat foods, such as butter, oils, and fatty meats. These foods can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscular valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When the LES is weakened, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
  • Reduced carbohydrate intake: Carbohydrates, especially fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, play a crucial role in maintaining digestive health. When following a keto diet, the intake of these fiber sources is significantly reduced, leading to slower digestion and potential constipation. This can increase the likelihood of heartburn.
  • Changes in gut microbiota: The keto diet alters the composition of gut bacteria, which can affect digestion and increase the risk of heartburn. Imbalances in gut microbiota have been linked to various digestive disorders, including acid reflux.

Symptoms of Keto Heartburn

Keto heartburn shares similar symptoms with regular heartburn, including:

  • Burning sensation in the chest
  • Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
  • Regurgitation of stomach acid
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness or sore throat

It is important to note that if you experience severe or persistent heartburn, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions.

Remedies for Keto Heartburn

If you are following a keto diet and experiencing heartburn, there are several remedies you can try to alleviate the discomfort:

  • Modify your diet: Identify trigger foods that worsen your heartburn symptoms and avoid them. Common trigger foods include spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carbonated beverages. Instead, opt for low-acid alternatives and incorporate more non-starchy vegetables into your meals.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water throughout the day can help dilute stomach acid and reduce the risk of heartburn. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily.
  • Chew gum: Chewing sugar-free gum after meals can stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize stomach acid and promote digestion.
  • Elevate the head of your bed: If you experience nighttime heartburn, try raising the head of your bed by a few inches. This can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus while you sleep.
  • Consider digestive supplements: Certain supplements, such as digestive enzymes or probiotics, may help improve digestion and reduce the risk of heartburn. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements.

It is important to remember that these remedies may not work for everyone, and individual responses may vary. If your heartburn symptoms persist or worsen, it is recommended to seek medical advice.


Keto heartburn is a common side effect of the ketogenic diet, primarily due to increased fat consumption, reduced carbohydrate intake, and changes in gut microbiota. By understanding the causes and symptoms of keto heartburn, individuals following a keto diet can take proactive steps to manage and alleviate this discomfort. It is crucial to listen to your body, make dietary modifications, and consult with healthcare professionals when needed to ensure optimal digestive health while on a keto diet.