The popular heartburn drugs known as proton pump inhibitors have been linked to a range of ills: bone fractures, kidney problems, infections and more.
Now a large new study has found that they are associated with an increased risk for dementia as well. Proton pump inhibitors, or P.P.I.s, are widely available both by prescription and over the counter under various brand names, including Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium, Somac, Pariet, Losec and more. German researchers, using a database of drug prescriptions, studied P.P.I. use in 73,679 men and women older than 75 who were free of dementia at the start of the study. Over an average follow-up period of more than five years, about 29,000 developed Alzheimers disease or other dementias. The study is in JAMA Neurology. After controlling for age, sex, depression, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and the use of other medicines, they found that regular use of P.P.I.s increased the risk for dementia in men by 52 percent and in women by 42 percent, compared with nonusers. Our study does not prove that P.P.I.s cause dementia, said the senior author, Britta Haenisch of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. It can only provide a statistical association. This is just a small part of the puzzle. Clinicians, pharmacists and patients have to weigh the benefits against the potential side effects, she continued, and future studies will help to better inform these decisions.
The above findings are not new to natural medicine. Lowering stomach acid will interfere with the body’s ability to breakdown and digest food leading to deficiencies in amino acids, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and other essential nutrients. As the ones mentioned are all involved in the production of neurotransmitters, energy production and tissue repair, the association between PPI use and significant health issues resulting from malnutrition is obvious.
If you suffer from reflux, rather than popping a pill and just continuing doing what you have been, perhaps it is time to consult a qualified natural medicine practitioner who can address the cause for your low stomach acid and help you regain optimal digestive capacity. There are a number of reasons why stomach acid is too low and also various options to help provide relief from reflux.
Call True Medicine for a personal health assessment on 07 5530 1863.
Source: NYT 17 FEBRUARY 2016; NICHOLAS BAKALAR as published in JAMA Neurology