Stop Blocking Your Stomach Acid–It’s Killing You
I took Nexium through half of my pregnancy and then for months afterward. You know how long the recommended period is for taking that stuff? Two weeks.
I kept taking it, with my doctor’s blessing, because my gastroenterologist wouldn’t test me for anything (pregnant). I was having awful, debilitating stomach issues, above and beyond what other pregnant women were experiencing. Everything I tried was a shot in the dark, and my doctor said it was OK to keep taking Nexium if I thought it was helping, so I thought, “WHY NOT.”
Because it’s killing me, is why not.
Acid blockers like the ones I took–specifically Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) like Nexium, Aciphex, Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, and Dexilant–are linked to serious kidney damage, bone fractures, dementia, and a 25-50% higher risk of death. These drugs that are supposed to be easing our digestive issues are killing people. Why is that?
Disease starts in the gut.
Your gut is designed to work for you and protect the rest of your body from toxins, lectins, and other disease-causing things in the food you eat. If you alter the process by which this happens, your gut doesn’t know how to compensate. Let’s take a look at what PPI’s actually do:
Proton pumps are molecules in your stomach lining that replace potassium ions with acidic hydrogen ions. They then “pump” this acid into the stomach to break down the food that you eat. Although stomach acid is only responsible for up to 10% of total digestion, it plays a crucial role in breaking down proteins, lectins, and microorganisms that may cause infection.
Proton pump inhibitors prevent, or “inhibit,” your friendly molecules from pumping the acid into your stomach altogether. If you eliminate the acid that breaks down the proteins/lectins/microorganisms, guess where these bad boys move to? The small intestine. If you’ve read my post on leaky gut, you know that the barrier in the small intestine is only one cell thick and is much less equipped to handle the onslaught of undigested proteins.
If you take PPI’s for a prolonged period (like I did), you permanently remove the second step in the digestive process. You allow undigested material to bombard the small intestine over and over, where it eventually causes damage to the protective barrier (leaky gut) and gets through, leading to the types of things that caused the early deaths of the tens of thousands of veterans in this study.
In an emergency, a short treatment of PPI’s can save a life. But for the rest of us, who keep taking them for heartburn for months or years: let your stomach do its job. H2 blockers (like Zantac) and antacids can be effective without entirely eliminating stomach acid. Most importantly, be nice to your gut, and feed it the good things it loves to digest for you. Figure out what’s triggering your reflux and eliminate it from your diet. Your gut can heal you far better than Nexium can.