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Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease… like when you take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat your acid reflux. But with mainstreams medicine’s track record, that probably doesn’t surprise you.
PPIs, like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium, may be among the most dangerous drugs in your medicine cabinet. In fact, they cause so many health issues that acid reflux becomes the least of your problems…
Instead you have to worry about heart attacks, migraines, bone loss, vitamin deficiency, kidney disease and dementia. But that’s not all. Researchers recently tied another serious condition to these common yet dangerous acid reflux drugs — ischemic stroke.
After studying the health records of 244,679 people dealing with stomach pain and indigestion, researchers from Danish Heart Foundation in Copenhagen, Denmark found that those who took the PPIs omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and esomeprazole (Nexium) were over 20 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke within six years.
These were people who had never suffered a stroke before. And their strokes occurred while they were actively taking these drugs. So researchers believe the connection is pretty clear.
Now, stroke risk varied depending on which drug people were taking and how much of the drug they were taking. People taking the lowest doses of these drugs only had a slightly increased risk of stroke, while people taking the highest doses were putting themselves in grave danger of having a stroke…
People taking high doses of the PPI pantoprazole (Protonix), for example, increased their stroke risk by a whopping 94 percent. For these people, popping a daily PPI pretty much guaranteed they would have a stroke at some point.
Why do PPIs pose such a crazy high stroke risk?
It’s not rocket science. It’s for basically the same reason they also increase your risk of heart attacks, kidney disease and dementia: PPIs have a negative effect on your vascular system, which means they prevent your arteries and veins from carrying blood to important organs like your heart, brain and kidneys.
The people in this latest study suffered from an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to your brain. It’s the most common type of stroke and it can lead to paralysis and brain damage.
Taking this serious risk into consideration, it’s hard to believe that doctors recommended PPIs for years as a safe way to treat acid reflux (especially now that we know what really causes acid reflux). The PPI Prilosec is even available over the counter now. But some researchers and doctors are finally changing their tune about PPIs:
“At one time, PPIs were thought to be safe, without major side effects. This study further questions the cardiovascular safety of these drugs,” said Thomas Sehested, M.D., the study’s lead author.
So it’s obvious PPIs aren’t worth the risk. But what can you take instead to stop uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms?
Well, it’s amazing what a few lifestyle changes can do. In fact, changing your diet can go a long way toward preventing acid reflux altogether. An anti-acid reflux diet involves:
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits, tomato, onions, peppermint, spicy foods, processed foods and unhealthy fats.
- Eating a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein.
- Taking supplements that support your gut health like probiotics, digestive enzymes and papaya leaf extract.
And when you have a really uncomfortable acid reflux episode, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it down. Or if you don’t have ACV on-hand, a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in a glass of water will do the trick too.
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“Popular heartburn medication may increase ischemic stroke risk.” American Heart Association. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
“Diet Changes for GERD.” International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. http://www.aboutgerd.org. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
“Acid Reflux Symptoms, Diet & Treatment.” Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com. Retrieved November 16, 2016.