Nature gave us stomach acid for a reason.
It helps our digestive system break down food and absorb nutrients. And it protects against germs.
When we eat something containing a virus or bacteria, our stomach acid kills it, stopping an infection before it starts.
But millions of Americans don’t have this protection.
Forty percent of older adults take heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that suppress stomach acid production. The medications include Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole).
A new study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that people who take PPIs have a far greater risk to become infected with coronavirus.
Researchers gathered health data on 86,602 people. Those who took PPIs once a day were twice as likely to get COVID-19. People who took PPIs twice a day were four times more likely to get the illness.
Dr. Brennan M. R. Spiegel was one of the study authors. He said he and his colleagues found “a strong, independent effect of using PPIs on risk of COVID-19.”
The study concluded there was a “dose-response relationship.” In other words, the more of a PPI drug you take, the greater your risk for COVID-19.
How to Stop Taking Proton Pump Inhibitors
We’ve told you before that PPIs are linked to pneumonia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, reduced kidney and liver function, and Alzheimer’s. But the coronavirus pandemic may make these drugs more dangerous than ever.
There are better options to relieve heartburn. H2 blockers such as Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), and Zantac (ranitidine) are not linked to increased risk of coronavirus.
If you take PPIs, even occasionally, you should stop. The evidence they will hurt you is overwhelming.
PPIs block an enzyme that produces acid. Dr. Spiegel pointed out that there “is a reason we have acid in our stomach, namely, to kill pathogens before they enter the digestive tract.”
Coronaviruses are “easily destroyed at a gastric pH of less than 3, but survive in a more neutral pH, including the range created by (PPI) drugs like omeprazole and esomeprazole.”
Once you destroy your stomach’s acid 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 much 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.
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 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.
Getting off PPIs is one of the best things you can do for your health…during the pandemic or any time.
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. You can find it by going HERE.