Once prescribed by doctors for the treatment of confirmed cases of severe excessive stomach acid, the proton pump inhibitor class of drugs, is now sold across-the–counter under such names as Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium, for the relief of heartburn and acid reflux. Of course they relieve these symptoms for the short-term but, what the manufacturers don’t actively advertise is that these drugs can have serious side effects.
Heartburn and reflux is actually caused by not having enough stomach acid. The valve between the esophagus and the stomach is controlled by stomach acid. When levels are high enough, the valve closes preventing acid from travelling up the esophagus. But, when acid levels aren’t high enough, the value remains open allowing what stomach acid there is to travel up the esophagus causing heartburn.
In addition to side-effect warnings on Prilosec such as pain, sores, cloudy urine, mouth ulcers, blurred vision, confusion, increased sweating, weakness, uneven heart beats, mood swings, proton pump inhibitor drugs can reduce the ability to produce healthy levels of stomach acid, which is necessary for not only the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients, it also protects us from infections by killing bacteria and pathogens present on the foods we consume.
These drugs cause nutrient deficiencies by reducing mineral absorption and are linked to osteoporosis. They also stop the absorption of vitamin B12, deficiencies of which cause severe neurological problems. They are also associated with an increase of infections, including drug-resistant Clostridium difficile.
As if the other side effects of proton pump inhibitors weren’t bad enough, they can also increase the risk of heart attacks. For years researchers knew that proton pump inhibitors might harm cardiovascular health but, nobody bothered to find out if they actually did until recently when Dr. Lara C. Pullen, Ph.D. released her study, aptly called Chronic Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors Increases Heart Risk.
If you suffer from heartburn or reflux, you need a safer alternative, While other over-the-counter antacid remedies may not produce the same heart attack risks, they also pose some risks. Plus, like proton pump inhibitors, they don’t address the root cause of the problem and can, over time, worsen the problem.
Natural remedies, those used by our ancestors, are not only safer but tend to work long-term. Instead of masking symptoms with drugs, address the actual causes. When it comes to heartburn, that means increasing stomach acid to healthy levels and for most, that means eating healthy. In Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure, authors Jamie Koufman, MD, Jordan Stern, MD, and French master chef Marc Bauer provide healthy recipes to reduce acid reflux.
15 Natural Remedies for Heartburn & Severe Acid Reflux, recommends baking soda, aloe juice, chewing sugarless gun, unfiltered apply cider vinegar, eating an apple, drinking ginger root tea, among others to reduce heartburn and acid reflux.
Dr. David Williams, a researcher and biochemist, in Natural Treatments and Remedies for Acid Reflux recommends naturally fermented, “live” foods which have been around since the beginning of humankind such as fermented vegetables, fermented milk products such as clabber, yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, soy products such as natto, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, fermented tofu, and even naturally fermented, unpasteurized beers, all contain the most complete probiotics available, which when included in a regular diet can help correct acid reflux problems.
By the way, if you currently do use proton pump inhibitors daily, experts advise not to stop using them cold turkey. Instead, they recommend that you slowly reduce the amount you take. Wonder why they don’t put that on the boxes?