Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson
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New Studies Warn Against Acid Reflux Drugs, Promote Natural Alternatives

It’s a subject you’ve heard me talk about before, but considering new research it’s definitely worth repeating. A recent CBS news segment revealed that not one but five new studies showed that using acid-blocking drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can be potentially dangerous to your health, and that “more than half of prescriptions for these drugs are unnecessary”. Folks, this is an eye-opener if there ever was one!

Every year more than 100 million Americans are prescribed PPIs to help relieve symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux, but what many people don’t know is that these drugs often come with some pretty serious side effects—including a nearly 75 percent greater risk of developing a severe intestinal infection known as C. diff, according to new evidence. Essentially, taking PPIs upsets the healthy bacterial balance in your intestines (which is where the majority of your natural immune defenses can be found), leaving your body vulnerable to illness and infection.

Widespread PPI use has also been linked to higher rates of pneumonia, as well as esophageal candidiasis (yeast overgrowth), inflammation of the stomach lining, increased permeability of upper GI tract lining, and even osteoporosis-related bone fractures due to the fact that PPIs block calcium absorption in the body. Because long-term PPI use also leads to hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid secretion), bacterial overgrowth and acetaldehyde production, PPI users have an increased risk of developing gastric cancer. 

The good news? There are simple things we can do every day to help prevent heartburn and acid reflux without relying on harmful drugs. Diet changes like limiting our intake of caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods can make a big difference, along with maintaining a healthy body weight, getting plenty of exercise and quitting smoking—all pretty good advice if you ask me! Natural supplements made with ingredients such as ellagic acid (from raspberries and pomegranates) can also provide soothing relief for occasional heartburn, and digestive enzymes with added HCl can help ensure complete digestion and reduce the chances of heartburn and acid reflux happening in the first place.

The bottom line is this: why take a potentially dangerous drug when smarter, safer alternatives exist? My hope is that the more people learn about PPIs and their side effects—including why they may not even need them in the first place—the more people will take steps to improve their digestive health naturally.

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Written by Brenda Watson

Brenda Watson is among the foremost authorities in America today on natural digestive care, herbal cleansing and nutrition. A dynamic health advocate, best-selling author and celebrated PBS-TV health educator, Brenda overcame her own battle with chronic illness and has since helped millions of people improve their well-being through optimal digestion and nutrition. She continues to share her knowledge with the world through her books, online media, and radio and television appearances. Sign up today to receive Brenda’s Healthy Living eNewsletter full of do-it-yourself tips, recipes, and exclusive offers!

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  • Joy

    I am on Protonix for acid reflux. I do not drink alchol, caffene, I don’t smoke, I limit my spicy and fatty foods and I still have reflux. Nothing else works. What is not mentioned in this article is acid reflux can cause stomach cancer, espagus cancer, ulcers, and other nasty side effects. I do have condations that make reflux more of an issue.

  • ray

    I am curious as to you opinion in using products like prevacid or prilosec for stomach acid/ulcers and esophagal ulcers. I have recently had an endoscopy and colonoscopy; the doctor is recommending the above for six to eight weeks, daily. I use your probiotics daily, and have used probiotics for seven years now. I am currently using 2-4 each(15 billion) or the 50 billion once a day. I also use your smart cleanse every four to six months for thirty days. I have also used I.B.S. from time to time, as needed depending on my stools. If I am constipated at all, I generally increase my probiotic, and take the I.B.S. for a few days. I use supplements, including your fiber smart. The doctor says that it is important to bring the PH up to 4, and the Prevacid will do it. He says that he is unaware of anything herbal that can do the same thing as the medicine. The biopsies from the endoscopy shows a mild case of GERD, with a small ulcer at the bottom of the esophagus, and a small ulcer at the top of the duodenim. Where do you come in on all this. Please advise if you know of a good natural response to this condition, or give me a link for more learning. Thanks. ray

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