PPI’s or Proton Pump Inhibitors are a class of medications that work to stop the production of acid in the stomach. In 2016, there were over 33 million PPI prescriptions dispensed in Canada … wow that’s a boat load.
There is no denying that when prescribed under the right circumstance they can be helpful for some individuals. The theory behind these medications is that when someone has reflux or heartburn they are producing too much stomach acid and this acid is getting into their esophagus (the long tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) and causing damage to the lining of the esophagus which is what leads to the burning pain in the middle of your chest.
Here are some things I think you should know that typically aren’t being discussed with your healthcare provider.
First of all these medications were only meant to be taken for 4 to 8 weeks. NOT the 5 to 10 plus years that many people end up taking them for. Also as you continue to read, you will learn that the “high stomach acid theory,” is not always the best fit.
First though let’s look at the problem with long-term use?
Research has shown long term use of PPI has been associated with:
- Nutrient deficiencies: stomach acid is there for a reason…to help with the digestion and absorption of nutrients. So it 100% makes sense that lowering the stomach acid with a PPI would affect nutrient status. Nutrients that are particularly affected are vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, iron and magnesium.
- Changes to the bacteria in the gut: stomach acid is meant to kill bad bacteria. By stopping the stomach acid you are actually making it easier for tiny little organisms that enter into our body via food to get deeper into our bodies. This can make people more susceptible to a condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), where there is an excess of bad bacteria in the small intestine that are not supposed to be there. These bacteria then digest the food we eat which creates gas, bloating and diarrhea and in some cases constipation.
- Increased risk of osteoporosis, dementia and kidney disease.
Now, I am not suggesting that if you are on one of these medications that you ditch it right away. If it is controlling your reflux for the time being, unless you put other strategies in place to stop the medication, most likely your heartburn will come back with a vengeance (aka rebound reflux). Plus I don’t know your specific circumstances, so I can’t suggest what is best for you right now.
But if you are taking one of these medications I do want you to stop and think if this is the right decision for you. And if it is…great, I support you and if you are wondering if there are other natural options, I would love to help!
Here is a different side of the story that I see in my practice.
–> reflux or heartburn is often triggered by gas and bloating in the lower abdomen and rarely has anything to do with high stomach acid. Instead the increased pressure in the abdomen affects a little sphincter called the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), which is meant to keep the acid in the stomach in the first place. When you have pressure build up in the abdomen that causes the sphincter to open and that is when acid can splash up into the esophagus causing the sensation of heartburn.
–> typically excess gas and tummy bloating is created by gut inflammation and/or due to a condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) that can be triggered by unique individual food triggers.
–> PPI’s don’t fix the root cause. They are just a bandaid approach that can create more issues down the road, which I already talked about above.
The good news though, is that there are options. If you have heartburn or are taking a PPI and don’t want to anymore, I can help.
If you want to learn how to stop your heartburn by treating your gas and abdominal bloating, I would love to chat. Click here to book your FREE Digestive Freedom Breakthrough Call. On the call I will help you get clarity on what is working, what’s not, your next best steps and see if you qualify for my Digestive Freedom Method!
Inspiring women to back their digestion and life,
Dr. Rosie, Naturopathic Doctor
Hi, I’m Dr. Rosie Grobbink, ND
I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Digestive and Women’s Health Fanatic!
I help women just like you, ditch your stubborn gas, and bloating and hormonal chaos so that you can regain your energy, confidence and control of your life.
–> Feel confident going to social events without stressing that you are going to pass embarrassing gas.
–> Look in the mirror wearing your favourite dress feeling sexy while saying goodbye to your bloated tummy.
–> Leave the house even when you are on your period.
–>Have enough energy so you can accomplish everything you want in a day.
This could be you! And this is where I can help!