A new clinical study looks at the effectiveness of the Bare Air-Free feeding system as a non-drug treatment for infant acid reflux by tracking the changes in acid reflux (or GER) symptoms in 122 infants over a two-week period. The infants were divided into a control group with typical GI functioning and a GER group that had clinically significant ratings of GER symptoms based on the Infant- GER Questionnaire (I-GERQ).
The researchers found that not only did the Bare Air-Free reduce clinical symptoms in the GER group, 75 percent of the babies in that group no longer met the clinical criteria for GER after the two week trial, but 49 percent of the typical babies also benefited from reduction of GI discomfort according to parents reporting of symptoms via a follow up I-GERQ.
The Bare Air-Free eliminates reflux symptoms through a combination of design elements including a syringe-like design that dispenses air-free milk, the ability to dispense from an upright position, and a baby-controlled, suction flow rather than gravity flow like a bottle that must be turned upside down. These elements can help to prevent gas buildup, overfeeding and reduce the regurgitation of stomach acids.
“We were inspired to conduct this study after receiving feedback from multiple parents about how our product helped manage their infant’s acid reflux,” says Priska Diaz, mom and founder of Bittylab, makers of Bare Air-Free baby bottle. “I’m so glad we are finally able to offer a solution with scientific evidence for infants (and parents) seeking relief from acid reflux and we look forward to advancing this research.”
“Desperate parents often turn to pediatricians who will prescribe acid reflux medications (also known as proton pump inhibitors) to babies more than 4 months old even though there is no research to show medications are effective in normally developing infants,” says the Bittylab press release about the study.
According to Eric Hassall, a pediatric gastroenterologist from Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco, “There is no science that backs using proton pump inhibitors for infants, but there is ‘GERD mania.’ The largest clinical trial in infants found that a proton pump inhibitor was no better than placebo.”
Proton pump inhibitors (also known as PPIs) are in fact perhaps worse than a placebo. The extremely popular acid reflux drugs have been found to be associated with many disturbing long-term side effects from decreased cognitive function such as dementia to increased risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease to increased risk for chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. They have also been linked to risk of bone fracture, vitamin deficiency and risk of infection.
“Over-the-counter packages of Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec tell you to take the pills — known to doctors as proton-pump inhibitors, or PPIs — for just two weeks at a time unless otherwise directed by a physician. Yet drugs of this best-selling class prevent heartburn and ease related ailments so well that patients — particularly those who suffer from a condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) — are often advised to take the medications for years,” reported Scientific American in a recent article called “Studies Link Some Stomach Drugs to Possible Alzheimer’s Disease and Kidney Problems: Doctors and patients are grappling with the unsettling finding that chronic use of popular heartburn medicines may be riskier than was thought.”
It is easy to see why parents would be seeking a non-drug alternative treatment for their infants’ acid reflux, rather than take their chances with PPIs.