Drinking Lemon Water on Empty Stomach

by Animesh
(India, Jharkhand)

Does drinking lemon water on an empty stomach make the digestive juices of the stomach dilute and cause indigestion??

WBH response: Lemon water actually improves digestion and elimination.

The only time I would not recommend lemon water on an empty stomach would be if someone had citrus allergies, stomach ulcers or problems with the esophagus from long-standing acid reflux.

As noted in my article on "The Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water":

"One of the most important benefits of drinking lemon water regularly is its effect on the gastrointestinal tract. . .

"Lemon juice is similar in atomic structure to saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach’s other digestive juices.

"The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. For the relief of heartburn, Kloss recommends taking a teaspoon of lemon juice in half a glass of water.

"Lemon water will also help to eliminate waste through the bowels more efficiently, thus preventing or alleviating constipation, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders."

Since lemon water is so similar in structure to stomach acid, it does not dilute stomach acid. In addition, the body does not actually produce stomach acid unless food is present.

In general, I do not recommend drinking lemon water with food.

I mean, I believe you get more benefits if you drink lemon water at least one half hour before eating (preferably breakfast) and right before bed (at least 2 hours after eating the last meal or snacks).

Comments for Drinking Lemon Water on Empty Stomach

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Jun 17, 2016
Lemon water & hiatal hernia
by: Anonymous

I want to ask if drinking lemon water on empty stomach harms the hiatal hernia & should not take it?

RESPONSE:

According to a number of medical websites, citrus foods and beverages, such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, as well as orange juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and lemon juice should be avoided with hiatal hernia.

These are highly acidic and may weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, making it easier for stomach acids to back up into your esophagus.

May 15, 2016
acid reflux
by: Anonymous

My wife used to take acid reflux medicine. Since having warm lemon water every morning for the last 6 months she no longer needs her medicine.

May 14, 2016
Pain in the waist
by: Aarzoo

I had lemon squeezed half a glass of luke warm water in the morning and then had a chocobar ice cream after 20 minutes.

2 hours later I was writhing in pain. I vomited three times and had a serious muscle pain in the waist backwards. I always have balanced food. I am not sure why this happened to me.

May 12, 2016
Hyperacidity
by: Anonymous

I am suffering from hyperacidity .. does lemon water and honey can help?

RESPONSE:

It depends on what is causing the hyperacidity and what your symptoms are. You should check with your doctor first and see if he/she recommends drinking lemon water.

If you are experiencing acid reflux, drinking lemon water 20-30 minutes before a meal may be beneficial. However, if your stomach lining has been damaged in any way (such as an ulcer), then the lemon water would not be advised.

Drinking lemon water without the honey is always best. The only time I really recommend adding honey is when adding it to warm lemon water for soothing a sore throat or cough.

The best bet when adding lemon to water is to start with a small amount (no more than 1/2 teaspoon in 8-12 ounces of water) once a day and see how you do. If you notice benefits, stay there for a while. More is not always better.

Apr 28, 2016
Loose motions
by: Chandana

I started liquid diet since 3 days. Morning to evening only I take lemon and honey water every two hours. Every time I had loose motions. Is that normal? Please send reply.

RESPONSE:

In general, anytime you do any type of water or juice cleanse, you are going to promote detoxification, which may include loose bowels.

However, you have to be careful because you can lose too many minerals and become dehydrated.

You can read my comments about the lemon juice diet, or Master Cleanse here.

Nancy Hearn

Apr 12, 2016
Acid reflux
by: Arina

I am drinking mixture of lemon and honey with lukewarm water from past 1 week. I had problem of acid reflux for 1 and 1/2 half years.

I did endoscopy but there was no H.pylori so i just maintained my diet avoiding fried, spicy, junk foods.

Result was good but I experienced citric vomit frequently. Since the time I am drinking that lemon mixture with honey, that citric vomit has been controlled but I am having problem of stomachache at my upper side just below my ribs....

It is creating problem for me and I am so confused what to do ???

Apr 05, 2016
H. Pylori Bacteria
by: Marlew

Just read all comments. For those suffering with GI issues, get an endoscopy if you can.

After years of suffering with GERD, chest pain that felt like severe blocked gas & not to mention was told years ago that I had a hiatial hernia, found out thru biopsy that I had helibactor pylori bacteria.

It caused erosive ulcers in my stomach & duodenum & the GERD eventually caused esophogial rings which occasionally cause spasms while swallowing.

I was put on Pylera at 12 pills/day for 10 days. Just finished yesterday. Now I have to take Omeprazol at 40mg 2x/day for 10 days then take a breath test to see if the bacteria is gone.

The doctor said many people carry the bacteria & show no symptoms but if active can eat away the stomach lining resulting in inflammation, ulcers, nausea & a host of other issues creating a perfect storm in the body to where you have no clue what's causing your issues.
Praying I'm on the road to recovery.

One other thing.....my RA gave me Prednisole low dose of 5mg 2x/day for 7 days & accompanied with an anti-flammable diet....hadn't felt that good in over a year and I was drinking warm lemon water 1st thing every morning until I had the biopsy & found out about the ulcers. Now I have to change my diet yet again.

Mar 27, 2016
Stomach pain with lemon water
by: Emmanuel

It was only one week now that I started the practice of mixing lemon, honey and water every morning. But on the third day I had a pain in my stomach but in a few minute I had to go to the toilet. Now I am disturbed. Should i stop or continue taking it

Response:

Please see my response to the commment on this page dated October 13, 2015 "Pain in Stomach"

Mar 07, 2016
Lemon and muscle pains
by: Nataaz

I started taking warm lemon drink about 3-4 days. After the second day I started having muscle pains but the pain I had in my stomach stopped and I started having hunger frequently than early. Guide me on what to do. Do I stop or continue drinking?

Nov 12, 2015
Lemons Do Cleanse the Body
by: Lisa

People... I hope you all are using Organic lemons. It kills any chance of getting harmful pesticides. I know lemons have thick skin but using organic is still best.

Use less lemon at the start then increase as you can tolerate it. It is a liver tune-up with the warm water.

Oct 29, 2015
Feel heavy in stomach and stomach upset
by: Ana

I do not know if i have an ulcer but when i go to the doctor and explain my stomach problems, he just gave me medicine like omeprazole or magnesium but later on it comes back feeling heavy or full in my stomach and every morning having stomach upset..it's okay for me to take lemon water? Thanks..

Oct 13, 2015
Pain in Stomach
by: Anonymous

I get pain in my stomach when i drink honey lemon lime warm water in the morning....what should i do...because i want to use this drink regularly. Please help me.

RESPONSE:

We are not medical doctors and cannot give advice. It is possible that your stomach lining might need healing before you can drink citrus juices. Lemon and limes are highly acidic until they are metabolized in the body. Check with your doctor.

One of the cautions mentioned with lemon water on some of our site pages is that people with ulcers should not drink lemon water because it will most likely cause pain and possibly make the ulcer worse. I am not suggesting you have an ulcer because I don't know, but you obviously have some type of stomach sensitivity.

Sometimes the combination of lemon, lime and honey can cause GI distress for some people.

If or when you try lemon water again for the health benefits, you might want to just use a small amount (1/2 teaspoon) of fresh-squeezed lemon in 8-12 ounces of water (no lime or honey) and see how that feels.

May 30, 2015
Stomach cramps
by: Joy

Immediately I take lemon and cayenne pepper lukewarm juice in the morning after the salt and water drink. I usually have stomach cramp, nuasea, and discomfort that will seems I want to faint. But 10 to 15 minute I will be relieve after bloating and urinate sometime. Next I will be feeling sleepy. Should I stop the body cleanse and weight loss program?

RESPONSE:

Sounds like you are detoxing too much. You have to decide for yourself whether to stop. But I would not continue if I had those symptoms.

Apr 28, 2015
Result of lemon water in colon
by: Rene

I was excited learning from several sources about benefits from lemon water. I started in the mornings only, but only later learned the water should be warm. After about a month or two I started having extremely loose bowels, to the pt of an 'accident'. It was only in the AM but became more frequent.

I had tried almond milk besides my coconut milk so I stopped that. Then I stopped the coconut milk. Thought I was getting colitis or something. Finally stopped the lemon juice.

This is the 3rd AM and I am about 'normal'. It didn't happen for so long I couldn't pair it up. Seriously, it was like 'water' coming out every AM.

How can I still take it? There are so many benefits. Do you only recommend a tsp per glass? Thank you.

ANSWER:

It is hard to say what was causing your problem. It may or may not have been the lemon juice. You might have gotten some contaminated food or experienced an allergic response to some type of food, perhaps the almond milk, the lemon juice or something else.

If your stools are back to normal and you want to try the lemon water again, you might want to stop the almond milk and slowly introduce the lemon water back into your diet.

Yes, even 1 tsp of fresh-squeezed lemon juice in 8 to 12 ounces of water will offer benefits as long as you do not have a citrus allergy. You might drink the lemon water every 2 to 3 days or so and see how it goes. If you don't notice any loose bowels, you could start drinking it more often.

The other way to know for sure if the lemon water is a problem for you is to get tested for food allergies.


Feb 09, 2015
Tenuous colon from drinking lemon water?
by: Vivi

You would not recommend for people who had stomach ulcers problem? It is a thing I still confuse, because I have had a problem with stomach ulcers and lemon water cured me.

My gastric really rare to come back.. Can you explain to me why you wouldn't recommend for people having stomach ulcers problem like me? It actually makes me feel better :)

One more question that people always told me I'm wrong with lemon water, they said it will make my colon worse, my colon will become tenuous. Is it true? Thanks

ANSWER:

I am glad that the lemon water has helped you, Vivi. The reason I do not recommend lemon water (or any type of citrus) for people with stomach ulcers is because it can in some cases cause pain and possibly make the ulcer worse. In fact, if you read some of the other posts from my website visitors, you will see that this is true.

So, if the lemon water makes you feel better, I would suspect that perhaps your stomach ulcer is healing over. But obviously, I don't know that for sure. I am just guessing.

If you were to pour lemon water on an open wound on your skin, for example, it would sting and cause pain. But if the wound had scabbed over, the lemon water would not hurt. I think the same is somewhat true with stomach ulcers.

So it is a bit risky for people to drink lemon water without knowing for sure the condition of the ulcer.

Regarding a tenuous colon from drinking lemon water? I have never heard that and in my experience one of the most significant benefits of drinking lemon water once or twice a day is for the gastrointestinal benefits, including colon health.

Jan 30, 2015
Lemon Juice: A REAL TUMMY ACHE?
by: Anonymous

Lemon water...not strictly on an empty stomach, almost "did me in"! Well, that is, I strongly suspect lemon water was the culprit...

My first 80 years of life--sans lemon water--I never had the kind of indigestion that causes gas pains(stomach ache) all over the stomach.

I was drinking lemon juice to prevent more kidney stones. I did not want more of those! (NO pain, for maybe the first month of LJ, and then severe discomfort for @ 6 months--til I stopped the LJ)

I know what a "post hoc, ergo, propter hoc" fallacy is--"after this, therefore, because of this...", but, other than the lemon juice, I cannot think of anything else that changed...any difference, except sheer age.

The pain was not related to irregularity, any specific food (allergy); however, ANY food--in any quantity--would trigger the pain. Awful.

I thought maybe an ant-acid would make the pain go away. Nope. But, the "anti-gas" pills helped, wonderfully. First night I tried them,I slept 12 hours, like a log!

I believe the pain is gone, permanently. If it comes back--with NO lemon juice--I plan to see a gastroenterologist...a gut doctor!

I may have been taking too much lemon juice...3 tablespoons per quart of water, with Stevia to sweeten. I drank 2 quarts a day. Too much? I dunno!

I stopped the lemon juice, cold turkey, and it took 2 weeks to see much change. After 3 weeks, the problem is almost gone...

Aug 26, 2013
Lemon juice and joint pain
by: Sandy

I have been having lemon juice each morning for nearly 5 months now, but unfortunately it has aggravated my lower back, pain that I experienced only slightly approximately 18 months ago.

I read about all the benefits so I persevered, and wasn't convinced the pain was linked to lemon water until I stopped having it for 4 days and noticed the pain had subsided.

I'm in two minds whether to discontinue altogether, but do not want to loose out on the benefits it is supposed to have for my skin.

Nancy's response:

Sandy, pain is always an important messenger. The back pain you experienced may or may not have been related to the lemon water you were drinking. But if you think it might have contributed to the pain getting worse, then I would definitely not drink it for a while.

I always periodically change my eating, drinking and supplement routines just to check in with my body and see if I notice any differences.

There is nothing about health that is static. In fact, my definition for health is a "dynamic state of balance and equilibrium in the body, mind and spirit."

If you were drinking lemon water primarily for the skin benefits, you might get some additional ideas from our article on "Drinking Water and Acne."

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