Popular Heartburn Drug Causes Heart Attacks
Common over the counter heartburn drugs can increase your risk of heart attack. Not only that, they can cause severe, life-threatening nutrient deficiencies.
Read on. In today’s article I’m going to tell you why should shouldn’t use these common drugs. And I’ll tell you what you can do instead that will make you healthier.
The class of drugs I want to warn you about is called the proton pump inhibitor class of drugs. They are sold over the counter under brand names such as Prilosec and Nexium.
While these drugs are marketed for heartburn and reflux, that is not their intended purpose. The drugs were originally prescription only, and they were intended only for confirmed cases of severe excessive stomach acid. Furthermore, they were intended only for short term use of a week or less.
However, the drugs are now available without a prescription, and many people assume they are safe to use indefinitely. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Side Effects They Don’t Tell You About
Proton pump inhibitors often do relieve symptoms of heartburn and reflux. At least in the short term. But as we’ll see, they do so in a way that fails to treat the actual causes. And they also produce negative side effects.
Proton pump inhibitors practically eliminate stomach acid production. While that can stop heartburn and reflux, it leaves the body open to harm. That’s because stomach acid is essential for health.
For one thing, stomach acid protects you from infections. It kills bacteria and pathogens on food. Not surprisingly, proton pump inhibitors are associated with an increase in infections, including drug-resistant Clostridium difficile.
Also, stomach acid is necessary for the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. So proton pump inhibitors cause nutrient deficiencies. They reduce mineral absorption and are linked with osteoporosis. And they stop the absorption of vitamin B12, which I’ve written about previously. You may remember that deficiencies in B12 can cause severe neurological problems that sometimes go misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.
Heart Attack Risk Significantly Increased
As if the other side effects of proton pump inhibitors weren’t bad enough, they can also increase the risk of heart attacks.
For years researchers knew that proton pump inhibitors might harm cardiovascular health. But nobody bothered to find out if they actually did until recently.
Recently, a group from Stanford University did the first study to find out. They looked at the records for nearly 3 million people. And what they found was that there is a clear connection between proton pump inhibitor use and an increase in heart attack rates.
Are The Drugs Even Effective For Heartburn?
As I told you earlier, proton pump inhibitors are marketed for heartburn and reflux, but they aren’t safe or effective long term. They do stop stomach acid production. And that does offer short term symptom relief. But long term, they cause problems.
One of the reasons the drugs aren’t effective long term for heartburn is that they don’t treat the cause. In fact, they actually make the actual cause even worse.
Many people have been led to believe that heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid. But actually, it is extremely rare to have too much stomach acid. Far more common is too little stomach acid.
The reason too little stomach acid can cause heartburn is that the valve between the esophagus and the stomach is controlled by stomach acid. When levels are high enough, the valve closes, which prevents stomach acid from travelling up the esophagus. But if levels aren’t high enough, the valve will remain open. And that allows what stomach acid there is to travel up the esophagus. That causes heartburn.
So while it’s a big counter-intuitive, heartburn is caused by too little stomach acid in nearly all cases.
Proton pump inhibitors stop stomach acid production. So they don’t cause the valve to close and solve the problem. But they do relieve the symptoms because they prevent the stomach acid from forming in the first place.
But long term, apart from the side effects we’ve already talked about, proton pump inhibitors can further reduce the ability to produce healthy levels of stomach acid. So people can become dependent on them for symptom relief.
A Safer Alternative
If you suffer from heartburn or reflux, you need a safer alternative to proton pump inhibitors. While some antacid drugs may not produce the same heart attack risks, they also pose some risks. Plus, like proton pump inhibitors, they don’t address the causes of the problem. In fact, they worsen the problem over time.
For most men, a safer alternative is to restore healthy stomach acid production. When you have adequate stomach acid, the valve at the top of your stomach will close, and you won’t get heartburn.
In order to produce enough stomach acid, here are some of the top tips:
- Eat enough protein with every meal. Although excessive protein is not good, you do need enough. Protein signals the stomach to produce stomach acid more than any other food. Aim to eat about 30 grams per meal. That’s the equivalent of 5 eggs or 4 ounces of cheese or about 4 ounces of meat. Obviously you can mix and match your protein. For example, a 2 egg omelette with 2 slices of bacon and 2 cups of milk in the morning with breakfast will provide that much protein.
- Eat enough salt with every meal. As I’ve told you before, enough salt is important for health. If your food is unpalatably salty, that’s too much. But if it tastes good, then it’s good for you. Salt provides essential elements for the production of stomach acid. If you eat too little salt, you can’t produce enough stomach acid.
- Eat enough calories. Many men who are trying to be health conscious eat too few calories. But when it comes to stomach acid production, calories matter. Too few and you’re body won’t be able to produce enough stomach acid to stay healthy.
By the way, if you currently do use proton pump inhibitors daily, experts advise not to stop using them cold turkey. Instead, they recommend that you slowly reduce the amount you take.
As usual, when it comes to drugs, it turns out that they cause more harm than good. Proton pump inhibitors are being marketed inappropriately, and they increase the risk of infection, nutrient deficiency, and heart attack. So don’t fall for the ploys.
And as usual, natural remedies tend to work better long term and be safer. So I recommend that instead of masking symptoms with drugs you address the actual causes. When it comes to heartburn, that means increasing stomach acid to healthy levels.