Why Kill Your Stomach Acid?

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Articles, Digestion


In Podcast Episode #102, I recommended to a listener that they consider natural alternatives to heartburn medications. In this guest post from Carolyn Dean, you'll learn more about why I make that recommendation. Do you take Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid? What natural alternatives to heartburn medications have you found? Leave your comments below.

Why Kill Your Stomach Acid?
by Carolyn Dean MD ND

When I went to medical school there was a different attitude toward drugs than there is today. We were taught to give drugs only when necessary and only as long as necessary. In the past few years, drugs for long term use and even for preventive use have become the norm. And the consequences of chronic drug usage are being documented in more and more studies.

The latest study I read is about proton pump inhibitors. We’re talking about Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach and small intestine ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus.

They are the drugs that kill your stomach acid and now it looks like they also kill your bones.

The findings are that high doses or long-term use of these drugs may increase the risk for hip, wrist, and spine fractures by about 25% and can more than double the risk of contracting the intestinal bacterium Clostridium difficile.

The FDA, the medical societies and the drug companies say they are all mystified as to Why this is happening with this extremely important class of drugs. They want to study the problem more and make sure it’s not just happening in people with a family history of osteoporosis, smokers, and drinkers. And be assured they aren’t telling doctors to stop prescribing these important drugs. OK, just imagine that I’m youtubing this post and my voice is dripping with sarcasm.

Give me a minute and I’ll tell you Why! Or you can wait another 100 years for definitive studies.

Proton pump inhibitors inhibit the production of hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach. Stomach HCl is our first line of defense against parasites, bacteria, yeast and fungi that we unwittingly ingest in our food and water. HCL is necessary for the breakdown and proper absorption of minerals. And you can’t digest your food without it! So, what do you expect will happen when you kill your stomach’s ability to produce HCL?

You won’t have enough minerals for proper bone formation; you will be susceptible to parasite, bacteria and yeast overgrowth in your intestines; and your undigested food will feed these organisms.

Gas, bloating, upset bowel movements leading to IBS and colitis can be the result. Since most doctors still think IBS is a “functional” condition, patients with these symptoms are simply treated with more drugs.

If a bacterial overgrowth is found on a stomach ulcer test, then antibiotics are the immediate medical answer. Leading to more yeast overgrowth and the 178 different toxins it produces.

As some of you may know, I’ve written books on IBS and Yeast overgrowth. So, I know that deficiency in HCL is a contributor to both conditions. You can find these books, IBS for Dummies and The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health on my website linked to amazon.

Instead of using proton pump inhibitors for stomach diseases, I recommend DGL Licorice tablets. It’s a safe form of licorice that you can chew before meals. Many clients have been able to transition from their medications onto this natural remedy. But, remember, I can’t prescribe for you. It’s up to you…and a knowledgeable doctor (if you can find one) to make that decision.

Do you take Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid? What natural alternatives to heartburn medications have you found? Leave your comments below.

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

17 thoughts on “Why Kill Your Stomach Acid?

  1. Luc says:

    Hi Ben! My father has an erosive pangastrite, Barret esophagus and he tested positive for H. Pylori. He had 10 days of antibiotics( Levofloxacin and Amoxicilin) with Controloc( Pantoprazol) wich he must take for another 50 days. He is 61.

    He now continues a natural treatment with mastica for the H. Pylori, some vitamins(Vit C-1000mg, Calciu+ZINC and Lyprinol), but his diet is alcaline- with water that has a high pH and all that stuff. What diet would you recommend in his case? A low carb diet? I have to mention that he is trying to put some wheight to!

    P.s. The doctor said no to: raw vegetables, spicy food, fruits, seed vegetables and alcohool.

    Thank you!

    1. Luc says:

      Also fried food.

    2. Hi Luc, for complex questions like this that require a lot of time (and gathering of much more information about your father before I can make recommendations), it's best to book a consult. I have some resources natural remedies for H. Pylori you can check out here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/biohacki… If you're interested in booking a consult, just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60-minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that. You may also want to consider posting this to the Kion Community. Because I get so many questions like this and it's impossible for me to respond to everyone individually, I built this community of like-minded people who both have advice and are seeking advice. Facebook.com/groups/getkion/

      1. Luc says:

        Hi, Ben! Thanks for the reply! Unfortunately we are from Romania, so booking a consult it s impossible. I saw your cure for H. Pylori and my father did the same thing( mastica and a essence-oil that had also an oregano extract). He also takes some apiculture probiotics disolve in youghurt. The last doctor he went to thinks he has a problem with the tiroid(hipertiroidism) and that s why he doesn t gain weight. We are waiting for the results now.
        I will reply to you if the tiroid problem seems to be true, maybe you can give us some guidelines.
        Thank you, again!

  2. scotthadleymsn says:

    Hunger pains and Acid Reducers?
    Hi Ben! My wife and I are new podcast listeners, and we appreciate what you're doing!
    She has been having chronic hunger pains for a few weeks lately – what's driving them we're not sure, but she's generally pretty tough, and she's needing to eat something at odd times to subside the pain for a bit. She's active, eats pretty healthy (though we're learning a lot from your podcast how much more we can do), and is not on a calorie restricted diet or anything weird. She does like a glass of wine on most days.
    Her general practitioner prescribed Zantac twice a day, plus Mylanta as needed. I don't think he did any special testing to come to that conclusion. It doesn't seem to be working very well, or at least for long-term relief. He also suggested no wine, tomatoes, and other acidic foods.
    Have you heard of such symptoms, and does this treatment make sense? I've been learning about gut health through your podcasts and others, and the whole topic just makes me question the doctor's approach.

    1. Absolutely. For example, if you're on an acid reducer, you don't produce HCL to activate pepsin. Pepsin breaks down proteins, which means that you could have an amino acid deficiency, and that would result in cravings and also undigested protein particles crossing into the bloodstream. I'd recommend starting here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-t…

  3. Dan K says:

    My naturopath has me on – 1 choline, 1 magnesium, and 2 DGL Lic. tabs before meals. Following meals – 2 mucin and 1 alginate pills. I do this for B-L-D. Before bed i do the same + 4 Jamaican dogs woods pills. Overall it hasn't been that successful – i rarely get issues during the day but tend to have problems in the middle of the night – even while propping myself up on a moderately aggressive wedge pillow. I have a catheter test scheduled in July to tell me the acid/base situation in my stomach.
    Any suggestions? Should the numbers in July be in a certain range. My western doc is nice but useless so far. The naturopath is slightly more helpful.
    This is all in addition to a no-raw food diet (only for the short term im told), lots of bananas and avocados, lean meats only, no onion, pepper, garlic, alcohol, fatty meats, no peppermint, no refined sugars, no dairy, no olives, etc etc…

    1. Why are you on all this stuff?

      1. Dan K. says:

        Sorry for the delayed response- I was away with no internet. I’ve been getting intense nighttime reflux – severe pain sometimes keeping me up most of the night sometimes resolved by cold fluids/chilled fruits (although I have trouble swallowing anything colder than room temp). This often occuring pain was preceded by tissue damage to the point where the esoph. walls were(and still are) so swollen i need to “force” food down with water or aggressive swallowing. I assume a lot of damage was done during my college days where cheating weekends (beer, pizza etc) were matched with healthy blocks of eating 5 days a week. Back then i just popped tums when i had pain and didn’t think too much about it.
        I can live with the swallowing trouble (though there is a surgical option to fix) but I want to stop the reflux as I do worry about the long term ramifications of having reflux 3-5x per week. Thoughts/suggestions im open to any ideas. So far the best i can do is get it down to 2-3 x per week with the above combo. Better than nothing, but not better.

  4. Shawn says:

    Thank you Ben and Carolyn Dean! As the person who posted the original question to Ben I appreciate the follow-up! Having been a long-time Nexium/Prilosec user, I am anxious to try your suggestions.

  5. The licorice is more of a protectant that can be used along with B-HCL.


    1. Maria Antonia Pulsoni says:

      Hi Ben,

      My son who is 25 has reflux and is on proton inhibitors. I follow your podcast and love it so thank you for all you do. Just ordered the licorice, but what is B-HCL? Could you help him with a consult?

  6. Becky says:

    My husband takes a natural HCL replacement to combat his bloating and gas, I think it's called betaine HCL. Would DGL licorice be a replacement for B-HCL?

  7. matty says:

    I can attest to this, I was on prilosec for about 2 years and was on it cause of a misdiagnosis and now that I am not on it , my stomach isnt the same…heart burn isnt fun.. These meds arent meant to be used chronically. I have found some amazing homeopathic remedies though :) Great podcast.

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