The Surprising Cause of Your Allergies

In All Health Watch, Featured Article, Health Warning, Heart and Cardiovascular, Immune Health

More people have allergies than ever before.

More people are taking heartburn drugs than ever before.[1]

A new study shows it’s not a coincidence. 

Researchers from Austria’s Medical University of Vienna looked at health insurance data from more than 8 million people.

They found that patients who took stomach-acid inhibitors had a surge in anti-allergy prescriptions. They were twice as likely to need allergy medication.[2]

People over 60 taking heartburn drugs were five times as likely to need allergy meds.

Heartburn is caused by acid reflux. That’s when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus.

Two main drug classes are used to treat it: proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole)… and H2 blockers, such as Zantac (ranitidine), and Pepcid (famotidine).

The study showed that both types of drugs are linked to increased allergies. As few as six doses a year were enough to raise the chances of needing an allergy med.

How do heartburn drugs cause allergies?

Dr. Erika Jensen-Jarolim was the study’s lead author. Stomach acid “has a kind of sterilizing function,” she said. Using drugs to reduce it means that food may reach the bloodstream before being broken down properly. This can cause an immune reaction which manifests itself as an allergy.[3]

Allergies are becoming more common. At least 50 million Americans suffer from them each year. At the same time, PPI use has skyrocketed. One study found it increased 450% in just 10 years.[4] [5][6]

5 Natural Heartburn Treatments

The obvious take home message is this: If you have allergies, avoid taking acid-reducing drugs. There are natural alternatives that relieve heartburn safely without side effects:

1. Coconut Oil. A tablespoon of coconut oil each day can prevent heartburn.

It helps heal the damage caused by acid reflux. And it kills bacteria in your gut that cause inflammation.[7]

2. Ginger. Ginger is up to eight times more effective at killing bacteria that can cause acid reflux than drugs like Prevacid.[8] Ginger doesn’t stop your body from making stomach acid. It simply helps keep it under control.

You can add whole ginger to food or take it as a supplement.

3. Calcium. Calcium tightens the lower esophageal sphincter. This helps keep stomach acid where it belongs. But it needs to come from whole food sources—not supplements—to be effective.[9]

Sardines, salmon, kale, cheese, and plain yogurt are great sources of calcium.

4. Astaxanthin. One study showed that subjects who received 40 mg of this a day had significant improvements in heartburn after four weeks.[10]

You can get astaxanthin from cold-water fish like wild-caught salmon. But there’s also a good amount of it in most krill oil supplements.

5. Ellagic Acid. This polyphenol protects your stomach and esophagus from H. pylori. That’s a type of bacteria that can cause an imbalance of stomach acid. Ellagic acid also fights inflammation and protects you against ulcers.

You can get ellagic acid from supplements or in walnuts and pecans. Also fruits such as pomegranate, raspberries, and strawberries.[11]

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