It’s even worse than we thought…
In recent years, studies have made it clear that the heartburn drugs that many people pop without thinking can have serious side effects.
But a major new study shows that acid-reducing proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have other deadly dangers. It found that long-term use of PPIs can cause fatal heart disease, kidney disease, and stomach cancer.
PPIs include Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium.
The study comes from the Washington University School of Medicine. Researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 200,000 military veterans.
It found that PPI patients had a 17% increased risk of death compared to people who took H2 blockers, another type of heartburn drug. H2 blockers include Pepcid, Zantac, and Tagamet.
Long-term PPI use was linked with an extra 45 deaths per 1,000 people.
The PPI-linked deaths broke down into these categories:
- Fifteen per 1,000 died from heart disease.
- Four per 1,000 died from kidney disease.
- Two per 1,000 died from stomach cancer.
Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly was the senior study author. He said that, given that millions of people take PPIs regularly, “this translates into thousands of excess deaths every year.”
And the study found that low doses of the drugs carried the same dangers as higher-dose prescription versions.
“PPIs sold over the counter should have a clearer warning about potential for significant health risks,” said Dr. Al-Aly. He said there should also be “a clearer warning about the need to limit length of use.”
How to Stop Taking Proton Pump Inhibitors
About 40% of older adults take PPIs.
If you take PPIs, even occasionally, you should stop. The evidence they will hurt you is overwhelming.
PPIs block an enzyme that produces acid. But there is a reason nature gave us stomach acid. It acts as the first line of defense in killing infection-causing germs in your stomach.
Once you destroy this barrier by using a PPI, your body is more vulnerable to diseases. Pneumonia and food poisoning are near the top of the list.
Stomach acid is also required to absorb crucial vitamins and minerals like vitamins B12 and C, and calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Deficiencies of these vital nutrients can lead to osteoporosis, heart disease, and kidney and liver problems.
If you have been taking PPIs, talk to your doctor about weaning yourself off them while switching to H2 blockers. They also have side effects. But they are less serious than those caused by PPIs. Common problems include dry skin and constipation.
Natural Alternatives to Stop Heartburn
Lifestyle changes might help you get off heartburn medications entirely:
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids. This aids digestion, especially after a large meal.
- Avoid heartburn-causing foods. Common ones include ice cream, soda, chocolate, fried foods, and citrus.
- Eat plenty of bananas, melons, and ginger. All three have been found to ease acid reflux.
- Add astaxanthin and coconut oil to your diet. They lower inflammation in your digestive tract and help prevent reflux. Astaxanthin is a powerful, naturally occurring carotenoid pigment found in pacific sockeye salmon, krill, trout, crab, and lobster. It’s also available in supplement form.
Editor’s Note: If you’re taking prescription drugs, you need to read The Top 10 Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs—And Their Natural Alternatives. It reveals which medications can hurt you more than they help…and which safe, natural alternatives work better.