The study of over 1,000 healthy volunteers from the US, Spain, Italy and France found that 10 per cent had GI symptoms that registered on the reflux questionnaire.
None of them consulted about their low-level symptoms or took medication to relieve them. The burden of symptoms was 'below the functional threshold' and not worth worrying about, the researchers concluded.
Professor Vincente Stanghellini of the University of Bologna said: 'This research can give doctors the confidence to tell patients that a low level of GI symptoms is normal.
'It is necessary to treat reflux disease so symptoms are at, or slightly below this level.'