Did you know your acid reflux medication can deplete other helpful nutrients? Read more for ways to help.
If you have not already seen it, check out our recent blog on nutrient depletion. This covers what you need to know and why you should be informed when it comes to nutrient depletion from prescription medications.
August is Gut Health month at Magnolia. So, what better way to start the month than talking about proton pump inhibitors and H2 Blockers.
First off, what are they?
Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers are medications that are used to reduce acid in your stomach. They are typically taken to help with acid reflux (GERD), stomach ulcers, and treat the lower esophagus. H2 blockers work quickly providing relief in as little as 15-30 minutes and are more effective decreasing the acid released in the evening. While PPI provide longer relief and are stronger at reducing stomach acid.
Did you know that these are one of the MOST prescribed medications? So, what is the issue?
PPIs and H2 Blockers can lead to:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (usually with diarrhea)
- Impaired nutrient absorption (decreased B12, calcium, magnesium, and iron absorption)
- Increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture
- Yeast overgrowth (like Candida)
- Increased risk for small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection
- Suppressed immunity – increasing risk for a community acquired or hospital-acquired pneumonia
- Parietal cell hypertrophy and hyperplasia
- Difficulty weaning off once on chronic therapy
The bottom line is it is incredibly important to look deeper than just symptoms. Often too little stomach acid is confused with too much because the symptoms are often the same. Low stomach acid or hypochlorhydria has a wide array of symptoms one being heartburn or acid reflux. Some other symptoms of low stomach acid include bloating, gas, diarrhea, skin problems, food allergies or intolerances, leaky gut, nutrient deficiencies, hair loss and brittle nails. These may sound familiar as they are the same as the problems with any medication that chronically reduces the amount of stomach acid we have in our bodies.
So Why is Stomach Acid Important?
Once the food you ate hits your stomach it mixes with stomach acid. That stomach acid helps digest proteins and other nutrients. It also keeps the stomach acidic killing harmful pathogens that may be in your food and making it hard for bacteria to grow. The bad news is stomach acid may decline with age or with the chronic use of medications that lower the amount of stomach acid produced leading to malabsorption of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
How can we help?
- If you are prescribed PPI or H2 blockers or take an over-the-counter version, ask us what supplement you can add to your regimen to replace the nutrients that they rob.
- If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of low stomach acid and want guidance on what to do; schedule an appointment with Shannon.
- It is important to talk to your doctor before taking yourself off any prescribed medications. PPI and H2 blockers can cause rebound symptoms after stopping and need a guided approach to discontinue.
World Journal of Gastroenology (Functional Medicine Continuing Education)