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Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)

Many acid reflux treatments are available. Most doctors recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Alternative therapies may also be able to ease your symptoms. One such option is deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). People believe that using this a few times per day will alleviate acid reflux symptoms.

Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close completely. The LES seals food, and acid that breaks down food, in the stomach. If the LES doesn’t close completely, the acid can travel back up the esophagus. This can cause a burning sensation.

DGL is a form of licorice that people have processed for safer consumption. They remove a substantial amount of a substance called glycyrrhizin. This makes DGL safer for long-term use and has less interactions with medical conditions or medications than licorice extract.

Most licorice comes from Asia, Turkey, and Greece. You can find DGL in several forms, most frequently in tablets or capsules.

Traditionally, women have used licorice root extract to balance their hormones during menstruation and menopause. Today, licorice is present in some home remedies.

People believe licorice eases a sore throat, treats ulcers, and helps clear respiratory infections such as bronchitis.

Licorice root may even treat viral infections, such as hepatitis. Clinical trials have found that an injectable form of licorice extract has shown effects against hepatitis C that are beneficial.

More research is needed to determine whether this is a viable treatment option. Some doctors and alternative health advocates recommend DGL for acid reflux. According to a 2014 study, DGL was shown to promote mucus activity. This extra mucus may act as a barrier to acid in the stomach and esophagus. This barrier can allow the damaged tissue to heal and prevent future occurrences of acid reflux. A 2018 study found that DGL was more effective than acid-suppressive drugs. This supported earlier research.

You shouldn’t use licorice if you’re taking diuretics, corticosteroids, or other medications that lower your body’s potassium levels. Licorice can amplify the effects of these medications and cause your potassium levels to become dangerously low.

If you’re using DGL be sure to discuss potential interactions with your doctor.

People who have heart disease or high blood pressure should exercise caution when taking licorice extract. Women who are pregnant should avoid using licorice as a supplement because it may increase the risk of preterm labor.

*Excerpts from

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