Proton Pump Inhibitors, or PPI’s may help gastrointestinal reflux (GERD) in the short term, but they increase risk of many long term negative effects.
Long Term Side Effects of PPIs
When proton pump inhibitors are taken for an extended length of time, they can cause a shift in the gut microbiome that increases risks for:
- gut infections, like small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO)
- liver disease like alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
- increased risk for cardiovascular events, kidney disease and dementia.
- Nutritional deficiencies, especially B12 and iron.
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is caused from a faulty lower esophageal sphincter valve. Backs up content of stomac acid burns the esophageal lining. For many, a trip to the conventional doctor mean a prescription of proton pump inibitors – a drug that often ends in an -prazole. Like omeprazole, pantoprazole, for example.
Causes of GERD
- bacterial overgrowth
- lazy sphincter
- food sensitivity
Interesting fact is the real cause of GERD may be from not enough stomach acid, rather than too much. If this is the case, taking a proton pump inhibitor, which lessens stomach acid can actually make the problem worse. Tests for H. pylori, a bacteria that can sometimes overgrow in the stomach may be necessary. H. pylori likes to reduce the level of stomach acid so it can thrive. Lower stomach acid means food is not properly digested and this can lead to fullness in the stomach and regurgitation or GERD.
The gastric-esophageal sphincter may be lazy and in need of tonification. Proton pump inhibitors won’t address this issue, however botanical medicine can often help.
Another reason to skip the proton pump inhibitor and look for the root cause is that GERD is often a result of food sensitivity. Food sensitivities related to GERD can be more than the typical caffeine, peppermint, spicy foods and citrus that commonly aggravate the issue.
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