Medications for acid reflux should only be used as a short term aid, not on a constant basis.
Over time they compromise the body's ability to process food and absorb nutrients.
PPIs or proton pump inhibitors work by suppressing the secretion of stomach acid, which contains hydrochloric acid (HCL).
Hydrochloric acid is critical for separating minerals from the foods they are bound to. Taking supplements cannot completely compensate for this because with low levels of HCL, the body cannot absorb the minerals properly.
Prolonged use of these drugs make it likely that mineral deficiencies will be a cause for future health problems you may develop. Minerals most affected are likely to be calcium, iron and zinc.
On May 25/2010, the FDA issued a consumer warning regarding long term use and high dosage of proton pump inhibitors, commonly used for acid reflux symptoms.
Increased risk was noted for bone fractures of the wrist, hip and spine.
Proton pump inhibitors are sold over the counter and by prescription. Some common names these drugs are known by are: Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosecd, Zegerid and Prevacid,
In a University of Washington study, pharmacologist Shelly L. Gray and colleagues followed 130,487 women over an average of eight years. They found a 25 percent increased risk of fracture among these women.
A 2009 study showed some unexpected consequences of proton pump inhibitor use. On top of increased risk of fracture, the study pointed at altered B-12 and iron absorption and increased risk of C. difficile infection. When you consider that there are equally effective natural alternatives, this seems like an unhealthy method to obtain acid reflux relief.
The C. difficile infection issue is scary. C. difficile is the culprit in the sometimes deadly infections accompanying the use of antibiotics. C. difficile is usually kept under control by gut flora and normal levels of HCL (hydrochloric acid) in the stomach. Under conditions of low stomach acid, this bacteria thrives and can create dangerous infections. C. difficile causes severe diarrhea, is hard to treat, and can cause fatal complications.
A Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital study in Boston looked at more than 100,000 patients discharged from the hospital over five year period. The study found among these patients, infections with the C. difficile bacterium increased by 366 percent as doses of proton inhibitors increased.
At the Boston Medical Center, in another study of 1,166 patients being treated for C. difficile infections, a 36 percent risk of recurrence of the infection was noted among patients taking proton pump inhibitors.
The real problem is that proton pump inhibitors do what many other drugs do: they suppress the symptoms rather than address the actual causes.
So what should you take instead of medications for acid reflux?
If you haven't yet, take a look at our Acid Reflux Home Remedies webpage.
PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) inhibit the proton pump in your body that produces hydrochloric acid.
Because hydrochloric acid (and pepsin) are necessary to break down protein in your intestinal tract, reduced acid levels affect your body's ability to absorb nutrients.
Without adequate protein breakdown, you also increase your risk of dysbiosis which is an imbalance in gut microbiome between harmful and friendly bacteria. Fermentations of undigested protein molecules in your intestines become food for pathogens such as Candida, C. difficile and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), increasing gut flora imbalance, which can cause a multitude of health problems.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 500,000 Americans were sickened by C.Difficile infection in 2011, and 29,000 of them died less than a month after being diagnosed.
The popularity of PPIs has given a false sense they are 100 percent safe, says Dr. F. Paul Buckley, surgical director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center at the Baylor Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas. "There's still a myth that these drugs are benign. It's not true."
Long-term use of PPIs has been linked to other problems such as dementia, heart attacks, kidney disease and other serious health conditions. If you have been taking PPIs for any length of time, you will want to ask your doctor about your potential risk for serious health complications.
Acid reflux symptoms are not hard to deal with over 90% of the time if you are willing to try a different approach. You can avoid medications for acid reflux, improve your health and reduce chances for future health problems with some simple changes.
Like many drugs, medications for acid reflux can cause you serious harm in the long term. If used, they should be only for the short term. The problem is that people get hooked on them because they "seem" to fix the problem, but it's just acid reflux relief in a sinister disguise!
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