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Popular Heartburn Medicine May Be Linked To Dementia, Cancer, and Kidney Disease

I find medicine commercials humorous. They always begin with a montage of miserable people suffering from a painful health condition while sad music plays in the background. But as soon as the medicine brand comes into frame, suddenly these same people are in perfect health, smiling and living their best life. It’s hilarious.

Heart burn

The part that really cracks me up though is when the commercial announcer starts listing off the side effects. As you’re watching happy, perfect people running through fields of daisies you’re hearing possible adverse reactions like crippling migraines, rapid weight gain, and chin hairs. It seems to me most people would prefer to stick to their original health issue rather than deal with all the extra trouble.

Unfortunately, these days people seem more concerned with finding a quick-fix than they are with their overall health. As a result, the side effects of many medications are too often overlooked. For example, recent research shows that popular heartburn drugs are causing heart disease, kidney disease, and even cancer.

Heartburn Drugs And Serious Side Effects

This study was completed by researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System and Washington University School of Medicine. The research team found that there was a strong connection between proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and certain fatal diseases. A large number of participants taking PPIs for heartburn or ulcers later suffered from cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease. The team was also surprised to find that many patients were taking PPIs although they had no medical reason to be doing so. These particular patients also later suffered from heart and kidney disease as well as upper gastrointestinal cancer (or stomach cancer). (1)

What Are PPIs?

PPIs are a type of medication most often used for heartburn or ulcers. This includes medicines such as esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, and rabeprazole. Essentially, PPIs reduce the level of acid in the stomach, decreasing a lot of the gastrointestinal distress caused by heartburn and ulcers. PPIs can be helpful when a gastrointestinal condition becomes serious, however, as exemplified in the above study, it definitely comes at a cost. (2, 3)

Natural Remedies To Avoid Heartburn Drugs

Depending on the seriousness of your condition, heartburn drugs or PPIs may be medically necessary. However, it’s extremely important that you take the medication exactly as prescribed and only for as long as is necessary. Additionally, there are many natural, home remedies for heartburn and ulcers that you can try if you want to avoid heartburn drugs or PPIs as much as possible. Here are some ideas. (1)

Heartburn Remedies

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess weight can ease up the pressure on your stomach and abdomen and help keep your stomach acid where it belongs.
  • Avoid triggering foods. Common heartburn triggers are garlic, onion, caffeine, alcohol, and any fatty or fried foods.
  • Eat small meals. Sometimes eating too much food too quickly can cause heartburn.
  • Don’t lie down after eating. Lying down after a meal can cause your stomach acid to rise. Instead, try taking a short walk after every meal.
  • Elevate the head of your bed. If you tend to get heartburn at night, it may help to elevate your bed. Raise the head end of your bed by at least 6 inches by placing wood or cement blocks under the feet of your bed. Raising your head with pillows may help, but is not as effective. (4)

Ulcer Remedies

  • Whole foods diet. Fill your plate with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Eating vitamin-rich foods may help support and heal your ulcer.
  • Probiotic foods. Yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, and aged cheeses have incredible probiotics that may be helpful as your ulcer heals. Try adding these foods to your diet whenever possible.
  • Don’t stress. Stress can really take a toll on your ulcer. Address any causes of stress in your life and learn coping strategies. Exercise, meditation, and spending time with friends are great stress mediators.
  • Make sleep a priority. Getting a good amount of sleep can help with stress, and may also boost your immune system. (5)

A Perfect Life Is A Natural Life

The commercials make it sound like a simple medication is the path to a perfect life. But it turns out heartburn drugs seem to be causing a lot more trouble than they’re worth. Be very cautious with PPIs and only take them as directed by your doctor. Otherwise, try some of the natural remedies above to potentially relieve heartburn and ulcer symptoms now, and in the long run.

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