How to Treat IBS & Acid Reflux

Updated March 1st, 2021

Hippocrates - All Disease begins in the gut

  • Try apple cider vinegar 5-10ml in 100ml water before meals (this is acidic so swill water in your mouth afterwards to mitigate damage to tooth enamel) – Update – I now use Apple Cider Vinegar tablets
  • Update 2021 – Livespo Probiotics really, really helped my IBS – it’s now non-existent
  • Try the FODMAP diet – this involves cutting out lots of ‘fermenting’ and hard to digest foods such as dairy and some fruit and vegetables.
  • The FODMAP diet is not long term as it is very limiting
  • Evidence suggests cannabis may help with reflux and IBS
  • Activated charcoal and time-restricted eating can help reflux
  • Ginger tea can help reflux. Look for organic ginger and may your own tea – organic ginger can be purchased on ebay in the UK
  • Avoid acidic fruits like lemon like the plague if you have acid reflux
  • Eating a ‘healthy’ diet full of fruit and vegetables can make reflux and IBS worse
  • Sipping baking soda (food grade) can help with reflux
  • Digestive issues and muscle tension are two of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety and stress. See my post on the polyvagal theory for more information here

A friend of mine was asking for my advice on how to treat IBS – so I thought I’d create a blog post.

Gut health is everything, if your gut is in bad shape, then so is your immune system – it’s important to get it sorted.

You’re recovery from training will also be terrible if your gut is in a mess thanks to all the inflammation that will be kicking around in your body generally.

A healthy gut, rather than pre and post workout supplement-shite, should be the foundation of sports nutrition.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Clinical medicine and nutrition doesn’t officially recognise this syndrome as of yet – but if Dr Axe is writing articles about its importance, then I’m a believer!

Whether the condition exists or not, the standard treatment of drinking 5g of glutamine first thing in the morning with a probiotic tablet is hardly going to do you any harm, so it’s worth a go.

Gelatine has gained lots of headlines recently too, for it’s ability to heal injured ligaments, tendons and potentially help those with arthritis.

It’s also said to health the mucosal lining in the stomach. So try bone broth, gelatine powder or hydrolysed collagen. I personally use gelatine powder in my morning smoothies.

For Leaky Gut Syndrome

  • Consume 5g Glutamine Powder on an empty stomach
  • Take a probiotic supplement and/or fermented drink
  • Supplement with gelatine and/or collagen
  • BPC 157 is also good for leaky gut – but research on humans is limited – please research yourself!


Harvard Gazette
Glutamine supplements show promise in treating stomach ulcers

Healthy Gut Flora

Okay, so you need something to keep your stomach’s mucousal lining in good nick, now you need to look at your gut flora. This can go to shite if you eat too much sugar, deep fried food and especially after taking anti-biotics.

Fermented foods or drinks such as kefir, kombuccha and/or sauerkraut are a good idea – just start off slowly.

If you don’t fancy or enjoy fermented foods, then consider purchasing a supplement. There are loads of probitoic supplement on Amazon but VSL3 if the one that I’ve heard touted by Dr Rhonda Patrick. Buy it direct from the website though, as this why it comes in an ice-pack the following day.

For more information, take a look at the video below featuring 3 proper cheerful bastards:

As I’m writing this – one of my friends has just messaged me on FB to say that VSL3 has literally changed his life and sorted his IBS – so it’s worth giving it a go. I think it’s about £20 including delivery in the UK.

Note that when you first try probiotic foods or supplements, you might feel worse for the first few days – but once your stomach starts adjusting, you should feel cushdy.

To help digestion, try diluted apple cider vinegar before meals too. It should help you to digest your meal better – thanks to the acidity and the digestive enzymes found within it (allegedly). Some people swear by apple cider vinegar, whilst others say it does nothing. I’m still using it though!

  • Cut out sugar
  • Consume a probiotic like VSL3
  • Try a fermented drink like Kefir or food like sauerkraut


Ah the FODMAP diet. This has been my saviour but also it’s what turns people off when I try and advice them in regards to IBS.

I used to have about 7 mega dumps per day before I knew of the FODMAP diet – cutting out dairy and wheat has completely changed my life, and my bowel habits but only those with a good amount of self discipline are able to follow the diet, as so many nice foods are out of bounds!

the FODMAP Diet

As you can see, the list is pretty extensive but for me – cutting out wheat and dairy was life changing…


I can’t say that CBD oil did a whole lot for my IBS, however, I was only taking a tiny amount as it’s soo bloody expensive. There is however mountains of evidence now starting to pile up for CBD oil and medical cannabis as a direct way of treating a range of inflammatory bowel disorders.

Here are some of the abstracts from just a few studies:

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?


This study examines the concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD), and the prospect that it could underlie the pathophysiology of migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other functional conditions alleviated by clinical cannabis.


Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.

This case review examines the way in which cbd oil can ease the suffering related to inflammatory bowel disease

Cannabidiol in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Brief Overview

In the past, Cannabis preparations have been considered new promising pharmacological tools in view of their anti-inflammatory role in IBD as well as other gut disturbances. However, their use in the clinical therapy has been strongly limited by their psychotropic effects. CBD is a very promising compound since it shares the typical cannabinoid beneficial effects on gut lacking any psychotropic effects. For years, its activity has been enigmatic for gastroenterologists and pharmacologists, but now it is evident that this compound may interact at extra-cannabinoid system receptor sites, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma. This strategic interaction makes CBD as a potential candidate for the development of a new class of anti-IBD drugs.

Another study looking at cbd and gut health – remember that gut inflammation and permeability has been linked to systemic inflammation and depression.

Cannabinoids mediate opposing effects on inflammation-induced intestinal permeability

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS These findings suggest that locally produced endocannabinoids, acting via CB1 receptors play a role in mediating changes in permeability with inflammation, and that phytocannabinoids have therapeutic potential for reversing the disordered intestinal permeability associated with inflammation.

The final thing that I would recommend, is to consume lots of anti-inflammatory foods. Ginger, tart cherry juice (make sure you tolerate it okay, cherries are on the FODMAP exclusion list), kale and oily fish.

Reduce omega 6, vegetable oils and deep fried foods as these cause inflammation.


  • Add gelatine and/or glutamine to your diet for your gut lining
  • Sort your gut flora with a probiotic supplement
  • Cut out sugar and deep fried foods for gut health & reduced inflammation
  • Try the FODMAP diet – especially reducing dairy – try for 3 days
  • Look into CBD oil
  • Intermittent Fasting is also worth a try.

Good luck! I know how terrible IBS can be. I still have to do emergency-work-poos now and again, but usually 1 per day max. Years ago I was afraid of moving far away from a toilet.

If you’re in a world of trouble and looking for a quick-fix, order some VSL 3 and cut out dairy for 3 days and monitor for any improvement.

About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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2 Responses to How to Treat IBS & Acid Reflux

  1. dgossage1983 says:

    Hi Drew, did you ever have any experience with pains in your side when running? Got a 10k in 2 weeks so will defo give this a try.

  2. Pingback: Supplements for Allergies | Fitness & MMA Blog UK

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