July 9, 2010
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.