The Dangers of Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors

Did you know….long term use of antacids and proton pump inhibitors result in poor absorption of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium and increase your risks for muscle pain and injuries, poor muscle recovery, heart attack, leaky gut syndrome, bacterial infections, osteoporosis and even bone fractures.

Proton pump inhibitors are prescribed for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), whose symptoms include heart burn/reflux, chest pain, chronic cough, sleep disturbances, and hoarseness. GERD is thought to be a result of too much stomach acid production, causing it to reflux into the esophagus. And, if this were true, proton pump inhibitors, which suppress acid secretion in the stomach, might be appropriate.

However, Big Pharma has gotten it all wrong yet again.  (You heard me right, Big Pharma….you know the pharmaceutical industry…the one who looks at top rated symptoms reported by doctors, comes up with a hypothesis for the cause of the symptoms, then produces a drug based on that hypothesis and pushes that hypothesis and the drug onto anyone who will listen, including your doctor.  Did you also know that pharmaceutical companies do their own research on their drugs for safety and efficacy, but no third party ever does – not even for FDA approval?)

But the bad news doesn’t end there, now a new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrated that patients taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have a 16-21% increased heart attack risk. Researchers found a clear and significant association between PPI use and the occurrences of a heart attack.  The data from people who were prescribed proton pump inhibitors for their acid reflux and who had no prior history of heart disease demonstrated an association with an increased risk of heart attacks. Researchers collected data from STRIDE (Stanford Translational Research Integrated Database Environment), which contains information about 1.8 million Stanford hospital and clinic patients, along with data of 1.1 million patients from Practice Fusion, Inc. (a medical records company).

The researchers reviewed the databases for patients who were prescribed proton pump inhibitors, H2 blockers, and other drugs to identify patients who had experienced a heart attack. They found that the patients who had used PPIs were found to be at a 1.16-1.21-fold-increased risk of heart attack.

Unfortunately, the medical establishment has not caught on to what Chiropractors, Naturopaths, Homeopathic practitioners and even Veterinarians have known for a hundred years:  heart burn, acid reflux and GERD is NOT caused by overproduction of stomach acid, but rather a an inadequate production of stomach acid and enzymes.

The greatest majority (90%) of acid reflux cases are caused by either inadequate stomach acid and enzyme production or weakness of the hiatal sphincter, or both.  Very rarely does a person actually overproduce stomach acids.  When too little acids or enzymes are produced by the body, food sits undigested in the stomach and intestines.

This semi-digested food ferments, producing noxious acids and gases which cause bloating (feeling very full even after a relatively small meal), indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, and esophageal reflux leaving you feeling nauseated, fatigued, and afraid to eat without their Rolaids, Tums, Pepcid, Nexium, Prilosec, Zantac, or Omeprazole handy.

Too often, patients are prescribed medications which in the short term can make them feel a little bit better, but in the long run may likely cause many more problems than they actually solve.  The irony is that these over the counter and prescription drugs prescribed for acid reflux and chronic heartburn actually perpetuate the problem by diluting, neutralizing, or even preventing proper acid production which is desperately necessary to proper digestion.  Prolonged use of such medications allows for the worsening of digestive dysfuntion and may lead to a more serious condition known as Leaky Gut Syndrome or Malabsorption Syndrome, not to mention muscle issues, heart attacks, osteoporosis and associated pathological fractures.

So how did we get to this point?  How did so many people start having digestive and reflux issues?  Age is one factor:  most of the bodies’ processes decrease with age, including the production of hormones and enzymes including stomach acids and enzymes. But, by far the more common causes of proper digestion disruption is from high sugar and complex carbohydrate diets and a lack of symbiotic gut flora which could have been destroyed by antibiotic use, low intake of organic foods, and junk food and high sugar diets.

Lifestyle and dietary changes with nutritional support may be sufficient to address some cases of acid reflux. For instance, patients may benefit greatly by eating smaller portions at mealtime. In addition, they should avoid laying down after meals and avoid eating too close to bedtime. Patients should also stay clear of alcohol and any specific foods (allergens) that may trigger their symptoms.  Other patients require a more aggressive approach and for these patients additional supplementation is necessary.

The barrier that prevents HCL from traveling from the stomach up into the esophagus is called the esophageal sphincter. The cause of this sphincter dysfunction is inadequate levels of hydrochloric acid. Normal acid levels help prevent infection in the gut as well as increase absorption of vitamins and minerals. Supplementation with betaine HCL will enhance the normal acid levels of the stomach.  Additional supplements may be needed to improve digestive function, such as probiotics and glutamine, amylase, protease, peptidase and lipase. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is well established as an anti-ulcer and mucosal healing botanical; it is soothing and protecting to the gastric mucosa and mucous membranes lining the digestive tract.

Natural treatments offer a more effective approach than what is provided by proton pump inhibitors. As stated, antacids and PPIs can induce several nutrient deficiencies in calcium, potassium, and magnesium. In addition, they can cause serious neuromuscular and cardiovascular problems, and can actually increase the chance of hip fracture in people over 50 years of age.

For help getting your digestion sorted out, just call and schedule a consultation.  With the right combination of nutritional support, you can be heartburn and reflux free and drug free in a matter of days.  The after effects of better nutrient absorption can help improve muscle aches, sleep and energy levels and get you back to LIFE!  Call (239) 243-8735

Dr. Hoch uses a variety of professional, high-quality herbs, homeopathic remedies, and nutritional supplements to help her patients reset their hormones, decrease inflammation, improve joint motion, reduce pain, correct digestive issues, and encourage weight loss.  We currently have a number of great products available through  Fullscript, our online store.   Fullscript is where you can get high-quality, physician-recommended brands of natural products.  

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