Safety concerns and safe alternatives you should know about.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, and H2 blockers such as Zantac are among the most commonly prescribed medications.

They are prescribed primarily for GORD - gastro-esophageal reflux disease, yet long term use has been associated with serious health issues. Over the counter PPIs should only be used for 14 days, and no more than 3 courses in one year.

I have patients who have been on PPIs for decades. Most of the studies looking at safety, found gut infections, gastric cell changes and mineral malabsorption within 1-5 years. Shockingly, Zantac (ranitidine) was pulled from the market in 2019 - the FDA (in the US) announced that NDMA had been detected in multiple ranitidine products. NDMA is a carcinogen - ie cancer causing, particularly worrying for parents who have given Zantac to their babies.

So let’s focus on PPIs since Zantac is not in the picture.

The Mayo Clinic ( Review of Emerging Concerns, 2018) reports that long term use may lead to bone fractures, pneumonia, kidney disease, dementia, increased risk of gut infections , and deficiencies in magnesium/iron/B12.

In addition, evidence indicates that more than half the people taking PPIs do so without medical need.

Naturopathic approaches to digestive complaints are safe and effective. Some include:

  • Dietary adjustments such as avoiding certain foods (eg peppermint, carbonated beverages and many others), eating smaller meals, ensuring adequate fibre and fluid intake (this varies from person to person)

  • Lifestyle adjustments including reducing stress (I prefer to say managing stress), decreasing body weight, quit smoking (for so many more good  reasons huh?)

  • Herbal and nutrient therapy such as Meadowsweet, Licorice (not confectionary), anti microbial herbs such as oregano and thyme, prebiotics and probiotics, Zinc -  but there’s a form that is specific for supporting gut health🤩

There’s no need to suffer with heartburn, tickly coughs, belching, nausea, regurgitation - your Naturopath can help guide you through some simple dietary changes and help heal and repair those inflamed linings to bring about permanent results.

Stay well,