What is silent reflux?

Larynx-silent-refluxWhat is silent reflux or laryngopharyngeal reflux? By definition it means back-flow to the larynx or in other words to your voice box. For about 3 months solid this past winter I had this nagging dry cough that felt like a tickle in my throat that bothered me to no end. It was until last month I cured myself of it by implementing intermittent fasting and a low acid diet. Another common name for this condition is called silent reflux. Before I discovered I had silent reflux I didn’t even know it but I sure felt the nagging symptoms! Having a dry cough is just one of the symptoms of  laryngopharyngeal reflux that I found out later. I went to an ENT doctor, described my conditions and he wasn’t able to pin the problem which was surprising, especially for a specialist doctor. Anyway, after doing some research I learned that the acid in my stomach was making its way up to my voice box causing the slight nagging cough along with me having to clear my through 4-10 times a day. Dr Oz shares some excellent info about this condition and what to do about it here.

Image source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Larynx_endo_2.jpg

Recent studies on silent reflux and low acid diet treatment:

I wish I would have come across this study a when I started experienced symptoms of silent reflux but I didn’t so here it is for you. This is a recent study that I found on PubMed talks about the astounding benefits of following a Low Acid Diet and it was used to help treat 20 people with LPR or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux – Silet Reflux. Here’s the source and the summary of it:

” The reflux symptom index (RSI) score and the reflux finding score (RFS) were determined before and after implementation of the low-acid diet, in which all foods and beverages at less than pH 5 were eliminated for a minimum 2-week period. The subjects were individually counseled, and a printed list of acceptable foods and beverages was provided.

There were 12 male and 8 female study subjects with a mean age of 54.3 years (range, 24 to 72 years). The symptoms in 19 of the 20 subjects (95%) improved, and 3 subjects became completely asymptomatic. The mean pre-diet RSI score was 14.9, and the mean post-diet RSI score was 8.6 (p = 0.020). The mean pre-diet RFS was 12.0, and the mean post-diet RFS was 8.3 (p < 0.001).

A strict low-acid diet appears to have beneficial effects on the symptoms and findings of recalcitrant (PPI-resistant) LPR. Further study is needed to assess the optimal duration of dietary acid restriction and to assess the potential role of a low-acid diet as a primary treatment for LPR. This study has implications for understanding the pathogenesis, cell biology, and epidemiology of reflux disease.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21675582

My Story about following a Low Acid Diet and Intermittent Fasting:

I’ve known about a low acid diet for quite some time now, but sometimes it takes a rude awakening like getting silent reflux to get you back on track to following sound nutrition principles. What I personally did and currently do to rid myself of LPR is the following:

  • Fast once a week for 8-24 hrs drinking only water, sometimes with a lemon in it. This method a lot of times is commonly called intermittent fasting. Read my post here on the health benefits of fasting
  • Plan my diet to have at least 70% low acid foods each day. (see the below chart for a list of low acid foods)
  • Eat a big healthy salad full of dark leafy greens 2-3 times a week.
  • I started skipping breakfast for 2 weeks but now I take a nutritional smoothie with me on my way to work and drink that. My favorite is this nutritional smoothie
  • Lunch and dinner I eat smaller portions of food but focus a greater deal on nutritional content instead of quantity.
  • I have stopped eating late at night.
  • Take a daily probiotic capsule or high probiotic food such as kefir or sauerkraut
  • I avoid about 97% of all junk food, refined flour products, no soda pop at all, and high acidic foods. Once in a while I do have kefir ice cream instead of regular ice cream and scarf down some dark chocolate almonds, but other than that I stick to the plan above.
  • Exercise quite vigerously 3-4 times a week. Cardio and weigh lifting. I sit alot at my job and before I got LPR or silent reflux I was completely slacking in my exercise regimen each week.

More info about a Low Acid Diet

A low acid diet comprises of eating foods that turn alkaline in the body. One of the diet goals I aim for during each day is to reach the 70/30 rule where 70% of my diet comprises of alkaline foods and 30% acidic. The follow website has a great list of alkaline and acid foods that I refer to that you can check out and plan your diet accordingly.  A high acid diet is of course the opposite. You may be wondering like I was what are some of the best low acid foods to eat and in comparison what are some of the worst high acid foods to stay away from.



Image source: Larynx