Nobody enjoys suffering through a bad case of heartburn. The stab of pain in your chest… the burning in your throat. It can really ruin a good time – especially since attacks typically come on after having a few drinks or enjoying a delicious meal!
So, I can understand the allure of drugs that promise to stop heartburn before it starts.
But according to the latest research, dodging the bullet of acid reflux may put you in the line of fire of something far more uncomfortable and dangerous.
A new study found that both common types of heartburn drugs – proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine H2-receptor blockers (H2 blockers) – can leave your stomach vulnerable to bacterial infections.
Oh, the irony – that’s the one organ these drugs are supposed to be protecting!
Researchers looked at 15 years of data from 565,000 Scottish adults and found that subjects on heartburn meds were FOUR TIMES more likely to become infected with Campylobacter, a strain of bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea and be fatal to the elderly.
On average, subjects were also as much as 70 per cent more likely to become infected with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which can also cause a pretty severe case of the runs and a life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
And that’s really bad news – because while campylobacteriosis is typically a food-borne illness (and therefore can be avoided by not eating undercooked meat, for example), C. diff most often strikes those who have been on antibiotics.
And C. diff is very commonly found in the one place you’d think you’d be safe: the hospital.
The truth is, you just can’t mess with an essential bodily function like stomach acid production, without running into real trouble down the line.
You see, reducing the amount of gastric acid your body produces can upset the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut. So, if you are exposed to a bug from, say, contaminated food, this imbalance makes it easier for bad bacteria to take over and make you (possibly very) sick.
Besides, these drugs have also been linked to kidney damage and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and dementia.
There are plenty of natural ways to manage heartburn and acid reflux.
For starters, try avoiding common heartburn triggers like alcohol, spicy foods, or acidic foods like citrus fruits or tomatoes.
Many people experience significant relief from acid reflux after shedding a few pounds as well.
And how about the old-time home remedy that is 100 per cent safe, and probably costs less than a penny? Stir a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water and… bottoms up! This is one “cocktail” that can actually neutralize the acid.Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Heartburn Meds May Raise Risk of Stomach Infections: Study, medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162900.html