Heartburn Drugs Increase Mortality — How to Safely Address Indigestion

Story at-a-glance

  • Proton pump inhibitors are commonly used to treat heartburn, but have been shown to do far more harm than good, raising your risk of kidney disease, dementia, heart attacks and premature death
  • Most acid reflux cases are related to insufficient amounts of stomach acid, food allergies, Helicobacter pylori imbalance and/or hiatal hernia. Gallbladder disease can also be mistaken for heartburn
  • To address heartburn, eat unprocessed food and fermented foods, and take supplemental digestive enzymes. Foods such as papaya, pineapple and ginger can also help, as well as a number of other supplements

By Dr. Mercola

If you suffer from frequent heartburn, chances are you’ve been prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPIs) such as Prilosec, Prevacid or Nexium to inhibit acid production. This, despite the fact they were never intended to treat heartburn in the first place.

PPI drugs were originally designed to treat a very limited range of severe problems,1 including bleeding ulcers, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (a rare condition in which tumors in the pancreas cause your stomach to produce excess acid) and severe acid reflux concomitant with esophageal damage. But that hasn’t stopped them from becoming the go-to solution for everyday indigestion.

Research clearly shows PPIs are outrageously overprescribed and misused, and do far more harm than good.2,3,4,5,6,7 There are many alternative treatment strategies that can help ease this painful problem without the serious side effects associated with PPIs, which include kidney disease, pneumonia, osteoporosis, hip fractures, dementia and an increased risk for heart disease,8 heart attacks9 and premature death.1

The long-term answer to heartburn and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. The most important step is to eat real food, as processed foods and sugars are a surefire way to exacerbate acid reflux. Reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria, either from traditionally fermented foods or a high-quality probiotic supplement, is also important. Aside from that, there are a number of natural substances that can help address the root of the problem.

What Causes Heartburn?

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Treating An Ulcer With Medication Can Be Fatal, Yet Treating It Naturally Heals It For Life

http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/images/Home-Remedies-for-Stomach-Ulcers.jpgProton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of drugs whose main action is a to reduce gastric acid production. Prilosec, prevacid, and nexium are popular PPIs which help constitute a large percentage of the most prescribed medications in the world. The side effects and health consequences of these drugs range from liver disease to blood cell disorders and even death. There are also millions of misdiagnoses for ulcers and gastrointestinal (GI) distress which are caused by too little acid rather than too much causing making problems far worse for patients once medical intervention of this kind is followed. Meanwhile, natural foods have the power to heal many ulcer and GI related issues with no side effects and virtually no recurrence of symptoms. (more…)

The scary heartburn-bone connection

Last night I had a long overdue dinner with a very dear friend of mine. Over a platter of fresh oysters (yes, we were in clear violation of the “R rule,” and it was well worth the gamble), she told me about the recent health problems her husband has been facing.

It seems he’s been having some terrible issues with acid reflux — he can’t eat any of his favorite foods, and he has to sleep sitting up. Of course, I immediately suggested she have him get in touch with a doctor skilled in natural medicine rather than going the mainstream route of acid suppression…and absolutely insisted on it when I heard the next words out of her mouth:

“It’s so bad, he’s been taking a double dose of heartburn medication.” She was, of course, talking about a popular over-the counter proton pump inhibitor (PPI) — a class of drugs with which my readers are all too familiar. (more…)

Prescription Antacids Can Lead to Severe Magnesium Deficiency

Prescription antacids are some of the most highly prescribed drugs in the US today. When these drugs were first approved, they were intended to be used for temporary heartburn and only for short periods of time. As their usage evolved, however, these drugs have steadily become a part of people’s daily routine for years and even decades. While these drugs are generally considered ‘safe and effective’, the few long term studies coming out are beginning to show that there can be serious problems when these drugs are taken over many years. One of these side effects is such severe magnesium deficiency that people have had seizures and fatal heart arrhythmias as a direct result of these ‘safe’ medications. (more…)

FDA issues free pass to Nexium

The FDA is an enabler. It hands out countless second chances for drugs that do incredible amounts of harm.

In fact, the FDA now admits…

Yes, an insanely popular class of drugs (especially among seniors) could lead to heart problems and seizures.

Yes, this isn’t the drugs’ first offense. Last year, studies showed that these drugs could increase your fracture risk by up to 25 percent.

Yes, hundreds of millions of Americans could be affected.

But, no, they won’t recall the drugs. They’ve issued a warning. (Way to stand firm, FDA.)

Reflux drugs cause major mineral deficiencies (more…)

Why is it so hard to get off your heartburn drug?

Don’t be surprised when you have a hard time kicking your PPI (proton pump inhibitor) habit. In fact, I’ve heard Nexium called “Purple Crack for seniors” at 50 cents a pop. All kidding aside, there’s a scientific reason why it’s so difficult to wean yourself off these drugs. Just ask the scientists from Copenhagen University…

These guys studied the effects of PPIs on 120 healthy volunteers. Just to be clear, these volunteers did not have acid reflux or any other gastrointestinal disorder. Nor had they ever taken a PPI prior to the study. (more…)

Acid reflux medications can cause severe deficiency in critical nutrients

Acid reflux, and the heartburn that results, occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. About one-third of Americans experience heartburn on a regular basis. Treatment with both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications might temporarily stop the burning, but the relief can come at a substantial health cost.

Conventional doctors generally blame excess stomach acid, or hyperacidity, for acid reflux, even though a mechanism to support this claim has not been found. A defective or weakened lower esophageal sphincter, the valve at the top of the stomach, is generally where the blame is placed, although that does not address why excess acid is the culprit.

Many holistic doctors believe that the cause of acid reflux is actually too little stomach acid, or hypoacidity. From what is known about how the digestive process works, these claims can be substantiated.
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