Why You Should Get Off Prescription Acid-Reducing Drugs ASAP!
by: Dr. Mercola
Treatment with the anti-heartburn drugs known as proton pump inhibitors
(PPIs) for eight weeks induces acid-related symptoms like heartburn, acid
regurgitation and dyspepsia --once treatment is withdrawn in healthy
individuals, according to a new study.
More than 40 percent of healthy volunteers, who had never been bothered by
heartburn, acid regurgitation or dyspepsia, developed such symptoms in the
weeks after cessation of PPIs.
So GO ORGANIC. Docs know nothing about the organic cure. They tried to put this Lawyer friend on Zantac! She refused to take it and did her research. "Your body actually NEEDS the acid to break down food and aid digestion. (Or you insult kidneys with undigested protein, they seize up and you get edema, kidney failure. You die needing dialysis daily from a kidney machine! So you don't want to inhibit acid production, you just want to alkaline your body so there is a balance. Here was her research source:
She also talked to a natural health expert in San Francisco where she practices law and that healer recommended I try those products and they helped! And she told me, "For backing off my acid reflux, Kukicha tea is AMAZING. It alkalizes your body. Also, barley flakes, and DGL Licorice supplements. I also drink aloe vera juice and gel for healing the esophagus from that acid. I also buy PH strips and test myself to ensure I stay more alkaline.
Sadly, the use of PPIs for acid-related symptoms and disorders is extensive and
rapidly escalating. Rebound acid hyper-secretion, defined as an increase in
gastric acid secretion above pre-treatment levels following antisecretory
therapy, has been observed within two weeks after withdrawal of treatment
and can lead to acid-related symptoms and possibly PPI dependency.
Sources: American Gastroenterology Association July 1, 2009
Gastroenterology July 2009; 137(1):80-7, 87
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
If you have heartburn, acid reflux, gastro-sophageal reflux disease
(GERD), peptic ulcer disease or any acid-related condition, chances are very
high that you've been offered a prescription for a proton pump inhibitor (PPI)
PPIs like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid are among the most commonly
prescribed drugs in the world, and their use for treating acid-related
symptoms is increasing rapidly.
But these drugs are not only vastly overused . they're very dangerous as
To start, they actually CAUSE the very type of symptoms that they're
intended to prevent if you stop taking them.
In the study above, more than 40 percent of healthy volunteers experienced
heartburn, acid regurgitation and dyspepsia (pain and fullness in your
abdomen) in the weeks after stopping the drugs. These were symptoms they did
NOT have before!
It appears the drugs lead to "rebound acid hypersecretion," which is an
increase in gastric acid secretion above pre-treatment levels within two
weeks of stopping the drugs.
Essentially, because these drugs slam the brakes on the acid-producing
pumps in your stomach, when you stop taking them that built-up acid can be
unleashed with a vengeance.
Meanwhile, studies show that up to 33 percent of people taking PPIs
continue to refill their prescriptions without an apparent need for them.
Could it be that many of these people continue to refill their prescriptions
because they have severe withdrawal symptoms each time they run out . and
are assuming they need MORE of the drug to help them?
This is a vicious cycle -- one that can easily lead to tolerance and
dependency on these drugs. As the researchers of the above study astutely
"If rebound acid hyper-secretion induces acid-related symptoms, this
might lead to PPI dependency. Our results justify the speculation that PPI
dependency could be one of the explanations for the rapidly and continuously
increasing use of PPIs."
Acid-Reducing Drugs are the Opposite of What Most People With Acid Reflux
As Dr. Jonathan Wright explained in detail in an interview I did with him
last year (if you're a member of my Inner Circle, you may have received it
already), heartburn and GERD are almost always caused by a LACK of stomach
acid, rather than an overproduction thereof.
Further, acid reflux (of which heartburn is the primary symptom) is
commonly related to hiatal hernia -- a condition in which the acid is coming
out of your stomach, where it's supposed to remain.
After food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular
valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or
acid to move back up. Gastro-esophageal reflux occurs when the LES relaxes
inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow (reflux) backward
into your esophagus.
An organism called helicobacter pylori (initially called campylobacter)
can also cause a chronic low-level inflammation of your stomach lining, and
is responsible, or at least a major factor, for producing many of the
symptoms of acid reflux.
There are actually over 16,000 articles supporting the fact that
suppressing stomach acid does not treat the problem. It only treats the
symptoms. And one of the explanations for this is that when you suppress the
amount of acid in your stomach, you decrease your body's ability to kill the
helicobacter bacteria. So it actually makes your condition worse and
perpetuates the problem.
More Reasons Why Reducing Your Stomach Acid is a Risky Bet
When you take PPIs, which significantly reduce the amount of acid in your
stomach, it impairs your ability to properly digest food.
Reduction of acid in your stomach also diminishes your primary defense
mechanism for food-borne infections, thereby increasing your risk of food
Additionally, if you fail to digest and absorb your food properly, you
will not only increase your risk of stomach atrophy but also nearly every
other chronic degenerative disease.
These drugs have also been linked to an increased risk of pneumonia, and
result in an elevated risk of bone loss. The risk of a bone fracture has
been estimated to be over 40 percent higher in patients who use these drugs
If You're Already Taking These Drugs, Avoid Stopping Cold Turkey
You should NEVER stop taking proton pump inhibitors cold turkey. You have
to wean yourself off them gradually or else you'll experience a severe
rebound of your symptoms, and the problem may end up being worse than before
you started taking the medication.
Ideally, you'll want to get a lower dose than you're on now, and then
gradually decrease your dose. Once you get down to the lowest dose of the
proton pump inhibitor, you can start substituting with an over-the-counter
H2 blocker like Tagamet, Cimetidine, Zantac, or Raniditine. Then gradually
wean off the H2 blocker over the next several weeks.
Natural Treatment Options for Heartburn, GERD and Acid Reflux
As I explained in my recent Acid Reflux video, while you wean yourself off
these drugs (if you're already on one), you'll want to start implementing a
lifestyle modification program that can eliminate this condition once and
These strategies include:
a.. Eliminating food triggers -- Food allergies can be a problem, so
you'll want to completely eliminate items such as caffeine, alcohol, and all
b.. Increasing your body's natural production of stomach acid -- As I
said earlier, acid reflux is not caused by too much acid in your stomach --
it's usually a problem with too little acid. One of the simplest strategies
to encourage your body to make sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid
(stomach acid) is to consume enough of the raw material.
One of the simplest, most basic food items that many people neglect is a
high quality sea salt (unprocessed salt).
I recommend eliminating processed, regular table salt for a lot of
different reasons, all of which I've reviewed before. But an unprocessed
salt like Himalayan salt -- one of the best salts on the planet - will not
only provide you with the chloride your body needs to make hydrochloric
acid, it also contains over 80 trace minerals your body needs to perform
Take a hydrochloric acid supplement -- Another option is to take a
betaine hydrochloric supplement, which is available in health food stores
without prescription. You'll want to take as many as you need to get the
slightest burning sensation and then decrease by one capsule. This will help
your body to better digest your food, and will also help kill the
helicobacter and normalize your symptoms.
Help with Treating Helicobacter pylori Infection
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori can infect your stomach as well as the first
portion of your small intestine. Symptoms of the infection include an abdominal
ache or burning sensation, nausea, vomiting, frequent burping, feeling bloated
and weight loss. In some cases, a Helicobacter pylori infection leads to ulcers
and stomach cancer. Typical medical treatment involves the use of two antibiotics,
proton pump inhibitors and histamine or H-2 blockers. Adding Lactobacillus
acidophilus to this regime enhances antibiotic therapy in eradicating
Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
Treat infection by Modifying your diet - Eating large amounts of processed foods and
sugars is a surefire way to exacerbate acid reflux as it will upset the
bacterial balance in your stomach and intestine.
Instead, you'll want to eat a lot of vegetables with raw garlic to kill pylori and high quality,
organic, biodynamic, and locally grown foods. You can also supplement with a
high quality probiotic or make sure you include fermented foods in your
diet. This will help balance your bowel flora, which can help eliminate
Optimizing your vitamin D levels -- As I've mentioned many times in
the past, vitamin D is essential, and it's essential for this condition as
well because there's likely an infectious component causing the problem.
Once your vitamin D levels are optimized, you're also going to optimize your
production of 200 antimicrobial peptides that will help your body eradicate
any infections that shouldn't be there.
You'll want to make sure your vitamin D level is about 60 ng/ml, and I
strongly recommend you use LabCorp, which is a high quality testing
As I've discussed in many previous articles, you can increase your vitamin D
levels through appropriate amounts of sun exposure, or through the use of
a safe tanning bed.
If neither of those are available, you can take an oral vitamin D3
supplement. However, whenever you use oral vitamin D, it's imperative you
get tested regularly to make sure you're not reaching toxic levels.
Implementing an exercise routine -- Exercise is yet another way to
improve your body's immune system, which is imperative to fight off all
kinds of infections.
Related Links: How the Drug Companies Deceive You--The Inside Story of Nexium
Acid Reflux Caused by Too Little Acid, Not Too Much...
Why Inhibiting Acid Production With Prilosec and Prevacid Could Make Ulcers Worse
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