Can Citric Acid Cause Acid Reflux?

What Causes Acid Reflux How To Treat Heartburn

The Basics of Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a medical condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing discomfort and pain. It can be caused by various factors, including a weakened lower esophageal sphincter, hiatal hernias, and certain medications. Symptoms of acid reflux can include heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing.

What is Citric Acid?

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that is commonly found in citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, and oranges. It is also widely used as a food additive, preservative, and flavoring agent in various processed foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.

Can Citric Acid Trigger Acid Reflux?

While citric acid itself is not a primary cause of acid reflux, it can trigger symptoms in some people, especially those who are already prone to acid reflux. This is because citric acid can irritate the lining of the esophagus and cause inflammation, which can worsen acid reflux symptoms.

Factors That Affect Citric Acid’s Impact on Acid Reflux

The impact of citric acid on acid reflux can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s sensitivity to acid, the amount and frequency of citric acid consumption, and the presence of other triggers or aggravating factors, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and fatty foods.

Tips to Manage Citric Acid and Acid Reflux

If you are prone to acid reflux and want to consume foods or beverages that contain citric acid, there are several tips that can help minimize the risk of triggering symptoms. These include: – Consuming small amounts of citric acid in moderation, rather than large quantities. – Avoiding citric acid-containing foods or beverages close to bedtime or lying down, as this can increase the risk of acid reflux. – Drinking plenty of water or non-citric acid fluids to help dilute the acid and reduce irritation. – Using antacids or other acid-reducing medications as directed by your healthcare provider.

Other Causes of Acid Reflux

While citric acid can be a trigger for acid reflux, it is important to note that there are many other potential causes of this condition. These can include: – Eating large meals or lying down after eating. – Being overweight or obese. – Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. – Pregnancy. – Certain medical conditions, such as hiatal hernias, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and peptic ulcers.


In summary, while citric acid is not a primary cause of acid reflux, it can trigger symptoms in some people. If you are prone to acid reflux, it is important to be mindful of your citric acid intake and take steps to manage your symptoms. If you experience persistent or severe acid reflux symptoms, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.