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Home > Health Information > Health Concerns > Heart Health > Heartburn, Proton Pump Inhibitors, and Probiotics

Have Heartburn?

Think Twice About that Proton Pump Inhibitor!

Are PPI's Bad for Me?

The short answer is yes. We'll discuss in detail the benefits of taking a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) vs. a probiotic.

When people tell doctors about their heartburn or acid reflex condition, often times they receive prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors (PPI) or drugs that are formulated to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.

Has it ever occurred to you that in fact it's not the excess acid that's causing your condition? It could very well be that your stomach is NOT producing enough of it!

Studies were carried out on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and on drugs like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid. The conclusion was: PPIs and these drugs are much too frequently recommended and can potentially aggravate the patient's condition.

Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid only treat very serious problems and are at best, limited in scope.

When are PPIs Used?

Funny how taking the obvious approach can actually make matters worse!

older man smilingBased on an editorial he wrote, Mitchell Katz from the San Francisco Department of Public Health said that PPIs can be recommended to patients suffering from bleeding ulcers, a Helicobacter pylori infection, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (a condition where the stomach produces too much acid) and severe acid reflux (but only after an endoscopy confirms that the esophagus is damaged).

People suffering from heartburn should not use PPIs. Katz mentioned that 60%-70% of people use them and that percentage may be higher. Over 16,000 articles have been written attesting to the fact that reducing the amount of stomach acid will not treat a Helicobacter pylori infection. Limiting the quantity of stomach acid in fact limits a person's ability to kill the helicobacter bacteria - which makes the situation worse.

Mistakes in Modern Medicine

If you're suffering from heartburn and GERD, and you're prescribed a PPI or any of the drugs above, is modern medicine actually hurting you?

There's a strong possibility that modern medicine is doing you a disservice when you're prescribed a PPI. Here are the reasons:

  • You're only tackling the symptom, not the actual cause of your condition
  • You're exposing yourself to more serious problems that could put your health at a far higher risk

This situation is similar to asking a plumber to fix a leak in your pipe. If the plumber simply takes a piece of rag, divides it into strips and wraps them around the leak, will that solve the problem? No. What the plumber needs to do is find out where the leak is coming from and go to the source of the problem, not merely put a "band aid" on the wound.

Such plumbing incompetence should never be tolerated. The same kind of incompetence is happening in modern medicine.

More Risks than Benefits

As Mr. Katz pointed out, the use of PPIs is called for only when the condition is considered severe. But in majority of the cases (about 95%), heartburn is thought to be caused by too much acid. The opposite might actually be true: too little acid in the stomach as the culprit!

Something you should seriously think about as well: decreasing stomach acid with PPIs and prescription drugs will affect your immune system in such a way that your primary defenses against infections caused by bad, contaminated food are significantly compromised.

Moreover, the use of PPI drugs can bring about side effects:

  • Pneumonia
  • Loss of bone
  • Broken hips
  • Increased vulnerability to intestinal bacteria (e.g. Clostridium difficile) infections

Not only should you worry about these side effects, but you should also worry about becoming dependent on them. And over-dependence can have serious consequences if you decide to suddenly stop taking them.

One thing should be made clear: do not stop taking PPs abruptly and suddenly. Take a slow and gradual approach when you want to wean yourself off them. Suddenly stopping them could lead to more problems, bringing you back to square one.

You're probably wondering why drug companies don't take them off the shelves. That's because they do relieve symptoms, so people become dependent on them. When people stop taking them, their old problems re-surface. A cycle that surely drug companies don't mind and which probably explains why pharmaceutical companies report their profits with pride!

What you need to do is start with a lower dose. Reduce it gradually. As you reach the lowest possible dose, you can slowly make the shift to over-the-counter H2 blockers like Tagamet, Cimetidine, Zantac, or Raniditine.

You should also plan on gradually getting off these H2 blockers in the next few weeks.

The next strategy: once you're off your medications, you can start thinking about changing your lifestyle by incorporating a healthier and nutritious diet and engaging in a regular exercise program.

Probiotics: an important strategy!

Want to know the secret to a healthy gut? Probiotics - they help restore your stomach's natural acids and juices, helping you ward off disease and infection, as well as help prevent the recurrence of heartburn and acid reflex.

Incorporate the regular intake of probiotics into your daily routine. They help restore a healthy balance in intestinal flora; the good bacteria will help control the bad bacteria. Probiotics are said to facilitate the digestion of food and to eliminate unnecessary fats.

When looking for a probiotic supplement, it is important to look for a high strain count and high CFU count. Fundamental Probiotic contains a large variety of strains of healthy bacteria (12 strains) and an very potent amount of them (over 25 billion per capsule guaranteed by the expiration date). It is also vegetarian and made in America.

Natural Heart Burn Remedies - Acid Reflux Remedies

These simple steps will help you manage your heartburn more effectively, reducing its impact on your daily activities:

  1. Avoid foods that affect your digestive processes - if you're allergic to certain foods and they give you an upset stomach, avoid them. Reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol and other strong stimulants.
  2. Help stimulate your body's production of acid - heartburn and acid, as some studies have already shown, may be caused by your body's inability to produce sufficient acid. You can counteract this by consuming enough raw materials which will help your body produce the hydrochloric acid it needs.
    When speaking of raw materials, one example we can cite is sea salt (non-processed salt). It will supply the body's requirements for chloride, enabling the body to make hydrochloric acid. Unprocessed sea salt also contains more than 80 trace minerals.
  3. Consider adding a hydrochloric acid supplement - you can take a betaine hydrochloric supplement. This supplement is sold by most health food stores and does not require a prescription. Take as much as you need to eliminate that burning feeling. Gradually decrease to one capsule. Betaine hydrochloride supplements aid in the digestion process and will eliminate the helicobacter bacteria.
  4. Make changes to your diet - avoid eating processed foods and sugar-based foods. They only upset your stomach on a long term basis. Include generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, preferably those that are organically and locally grown.
  5. Ensure you have Vitamin D - vitamin D may help relieve your symptoms and help your body produce about 200 peptides that fight bacteria. You should consume about 60 ng/ml of vitamin D. Safe sun exposure and a vitamin D supplement are your best bets.
  6. Exercise, exercise, exercise! - consistent physical exercise boosts your immune system and enhances bodily functions, making you more resistant to possible infections.

For more information about nutritional support for heartburn, please click here: Natural Heartburn Products

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