Laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPR) more commonly called silent reflux is a medical condition in which stomach acid flows back up towards the esophagus (swallowing tube) and into the larynx (voice box) and then to the throat.
If you are a regular coffee drinker and have silent reflux and suffer from LPR symptoms, this article is a must-read if you wish to avoid the potential pitfalls coffee can have on your health.
I must admit, I have been in the coffee industry for nearly 20 years specializing in low acid coffees, and I had never heard of Silent reflux until not too long ago when one of our customers mentioned it to me. As I did my research, I could not find an exact number of sufferers in the United States, but it appears that millions of Americans probably suffer from LPR symptoms of one degree or another.
If you are not familiar with LPR, stomach acid travels in the wrong direction, causes sore throat, hoarseness, frequent throat clearing, difficulty swallowing, and irritates the voice box. Other common symptoms of silent reflux include burning sensation and persistent heartburn.
The purpose of this article is not to treat LPR or prevent silent reflux, but rather to give you information that you can use that will allow you the greatest opportunity to finally be able to enjoy coffee again.
GERD Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Much has been written on lifestyle factors and lifestyle changes as it relates to laryngopharyngeal reflux disease, including avoiding certain foods such as fried foods, citrus fruits, fatty foods, spicy foods, and diet choices that increase risk factors for triggering symptoms of LPR.
That purpose here is not to steer you in the right direction as it relates to certain foods or how to live your life, rather my purpose it helps you avoid all the pitfalls associated with finding a low acid coffee that works.
Silent Reflux (Laryngopharyngeal reflux) and Coffee
For sure, coffee is one of many trigger foods for LPR sufferers. As is the case with GERD, or Interstitial Cystitis, coffee can pack a one-two punch. The high levels of caffeine and the natural acids in coffee can be a major problem both individually and together making it doubly problematic for those sensitive to caffeine and the high acid content that naturally exists in coffee.
First, let's consider caffeine.
Silent Reflux and caffeine
As most people know well by now, coffee is a stimulant that is responsible for many positives for people's health. Caffeine assists with alertness and it energies your immune system to name just a few positives.
However, coffee's stimulant effect can also supercharge your body's production of stomach acids, which is a big problem for anyone suffering from acid reflux related conditions such as Gerd and LPR.
Caffeine and Stomach Acid
This increase in stomach acid production can be a major problem for LPP symptoms. The increased level of stomach acid provides more acid to flow up the esophagus (swallowing tube) and into the larynx (voice box) and exacerbates the problem. So let's deal with caffeine.
Find a Reflux-Friendly Decaf Coffee
If you are struggling with caffeine in your coffee and its negative effects on your physiology, a great way to reduce stomach acid that results from coffee consumption is to drink decaffeinated coffee. However, just not any decaf will not do.
Most Decafs are use Chemicals Solvents
The most common process for decaffeinating coffee in the United States involves the use of a chemical, Methyl Chloride (CH3Cl) also known as chloromethane. Methyl Chloride (MC) is a gas that is colorless, flammable, and toxic.
I would avoid MC decafs like the plague. The good news is that there are great options in the decaf world today.
Water Processed Decaffeinated
Drinking decaf coffee is not enough. If you drink decaf coffee, it must be a water-processed decaffeinated coffee. I cannot recommend enough that you find a water-processed decaffeinated coffee. I have written about water-processed decafs in my article water process decafs swiss water or mountain water which is better. DO not drink a decaf that is not water-based decaffeinated.
The other great news about water-based decaf is 1) they are very effective; Mountain Water decaf has a residual caffeine content of .004. and 2) water-based decaf coffees can be organic.
So find a good water-based decaf and make sure that it is organic. The whole method of processing water decafs uses organic and organic-compliant methods and materials, so you might as well start with an organic coffee and have the whole process organic. No chemical solvents are used.
So not only is the caffeine removed by avoiding chemicals solvents and other processing agents, you are not introducing additional potential irritants into your system. Now, that we have addressed caffeine, let look at the acidity of coffee.
Silent Reflux and Coffee Acids
The coffee bean is full of a variety of naturally occurring acidic compounds. Acids constitute about 8.5 % of the raw coffee bean by weight. While some of these acids may dissipate during a conventional roast, the more persistent acids remain and can reek havoc on your system. You can learn more about volatile and non-volatile acids in my article Is Coffee An Acid Everything You Should Know About Coffee Acidity.
These high levels of acidity permeate nearly all coffees today. This is a major problem for not only LPR suffers, but GERD, IC, Barret's esophagus, and other forms of reflux. Coffee acids are notorious for anyone suffering from any gastroesophageal and gastrointestinal maladies for that matter.
The good news here is that just like removing caffeine from coffee, there are some great options for reducing acidity in coffee in the market today. You just need to know what to look for.
Much has been said on the internet about the kind of coffee bean, where it was grown, how the beans are processed at the coffee at the country of origin, and even how the coffee is brewed. These factors are claimed to make the coffee bean low in acid. Do not be fooled, by those claims.
Any slight difference that these methods might produce in acidity concentration on the coffee bean, is not sufficient. The most effective means to reduce acidity in coffee is the roast.
Low Acid Coffee Silent Reflux
If you suffer from symptoms of LPR, a slow roasted low acid coffee is your best choice. While some "low acid" coffee and "no acid" coffee brands might produce a coffee with less acid, the result varies widely by each roaster and nearly all still have a very measurable amount of acid in the coffee beans.
I say this in every article I write, but it bares repeating. Slow roasted coffees are the only coffees that have the temperature and duration of roast to eliminate the most persistent nonvolatile acids from the coffee bean. This reduction is easily confirmed by measuring the pH of the coffee.
Silent Reflux and pH
If you remember from High School science, the pH scale described either the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid. With coffee, its acidity is scored in a very acidic range somewhere between 4.6 to 4.9 pH depending on brand. That is very acidic and is sure to cause problems. A good low acid coffee starts around pH 5.5 and ends around pH 6.3. Most low acid coffees today are only around 5.1 pH. Just remember the high the number the better. For more about pH see my article Measuring Low Acid Coffee.
Summing It All Up: Coffee and Silent Reflux
Wrapping this all up, if you struggle with the effects of caffeine on your system, then chose a water based processed decaffeinated coffee. An organic water decaf is your best choice.
To avoid the acid, find a slow roasted low acid coffee. It will virtually eliminate those nonvolatile acids that affect millions of Americans, and it will have a very high pH, which is much better easier on your stomach and your health in general.
If you are tired of searching around, I might recommend that you try Mavericks Coffee. They are organic low acid. The slow roasting makes a great tasting coffee without all the bitter taste or fruity acidic notes. In fact, give me your email in the box below and I will send you a discount coupon to try it yourself.
Doe Coffee affect Gastroesophageal reflux disease?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease such as Silent Reflux or GERD can be negatively affected by the acidity and the caffeine in coffee? Choosing a water processed decaf that is slow roasted and low acid is a great way to eliminate coffees negative effects on laryngopharyngeal reflux LPR and gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD.
What is the lowest acid decaf coffee?
Mavericks decaf Dark French is the lowest decaf coffee with a pH score of 6.3. Plus, it is a organic and non GMO and decaffeinated with a water based decaf