Herbs / Vitamins / Drugs / Supplements

Heartburn Drugs Have Unexpected Consequences

Prilosec®, Nexium® and Zantac® (and other similar drugs used to suppress acid production in your stomach) increase osteoporosis, and the risk of hip fracture. (JAMA, December 27, 2006) This finding is a "duh!" You may have heard me carrying on about using Tums® (an antacid) for calcium supplementation -- which is a complete joke! You cannot absorb calcium in an alkaline environment. So, anything that decreases stomach acid inhibits calcium absorption. Ipso facto, osteoporosis!

I will reiterate what I have said hundreds of times -- actually, I feel like a broken record -- supppressing stomach acid is exactly the wrong approach to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). For the stomach to empty, you need a pH of 1 or 2 in the stomach. That's a LOT of acid. When you have inadequate stomach acid, pressure builds up in the stomach and the upper, esophageal sphincter opens because it is the weaker of the two valves -- resulting in heartburn.

In some instances, problems in the lower gut -- yeast overgrowth, allergies, and parasites -- cause excessiv e peristalsis in the gut and upward pressure that causes the reflux.

The key: Finding out what is causing you to have symptoms, and then addressing them. For some, a bowel cleanse program is the key; for others, it's a simple matter of taking digestive aids. At the RFHC, we can determine what you, personally, need.

And, I predict that the next problem with these drugs will be a documented increase in stomach cancer. Low stomach acidity is a known risk factor for stomach cancer. I just think these drugs -- which have the highest sales volume in the US, followed closely by pain killers -- are dangerous.

Does this apply to you? If so, see our information on Consultations.