3 Stomach Acid Myths Debunked

At one point or another, many of us will have experienced some degree of heartburn, and the most common response to the problem is to blame our stomach acid for causing the unpleasant burning sensation. 

Heartburn caused by excess stomach acid is never a pleasant feeling, but there are ways to counteract it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths surrounding heartburn treatment, meaning that not only will they fail to help you out, but some of them may actually make things worse.

If you want to know some of the more common misconceptions surrounding stomach acid and heartburn, check out this list and see if you can learn a new trick or two as we debunk a few myths surrounding stomach acid.


Drinking milk is commonly suggested method to help relieve heartburn, as milk is believed to temporarily protect against stomach acid.

While it’s true that milk can help to soothe the initial burning sensation, milk can, in fact, be an acid-producing substance when consumed. As the milk settles and the fat and other nutrients are recognised by the body, your stomach may produce more acid to break these down, which could leave you in even more discomfort than you were to begin with!


There are plenty of effective courses of medication for people who suffer from stomach acid related problems such as acid reflux. However, a lot of people are worried that once they find the one that works for them, they can never stop taking it.

After all, you may think that once you’ve found something that works, it makes sense to continue doing it.

However, it’s important to note that no over the counter heartburn medication should be taken continuously. If you are finding you need to take heartburn medication regularly, you should talk to your GP.


It’s a common belief that when we are stressed we may experience rising stomach acid levels that can lead to heartburn and acid reflux. This is something we’ve all been told ad infinitum, so much so that we never question it.

So, stress doesn’t cause heartburn? Not exactly. Research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 1993 and another study in 2008 found that while stress may not change the levels of gastric acid, the general feeling of being overwhelmed could contribute to us feeling more aware of our symptoms.*

Basically, while stress does have a negative effect on stomach acid, it may actually be because we are more sensitive to it than because of any biological change.

* Fass R et al. Effect of auditory stress on perception of intraeosophageal acid. Gastroenterology. 2008. 134. 696- 705

Ref 1993: Bresnick W et al. the effect of acute emotional stress on gastric acid secretion in normal and DU patients. J Clin Gastro. 1993 17. 2 117-122