Heartburn Drugs Burn the Heart
by Carolyn Dean, MD ND
( I quoted a Forbes Magazine article from Jan 16, 2014 in my blog Killer Beta Blocker Guidelines. Forbes has come out with another piece on the dangers of drugs: “Animal Study Raises Safety Questions About Heartburn Drugs.”
It seems that the stomach acid-suppressing proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid) used to treat acid reflux, heartburn and GERD may cause blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow, leading to long term heart damage.What do you magnesium-aware people think constricted blood vessels and heart damage means? You’re Right! Magnesium Deficiency. But do the researchers know that? Absolutely not!
The study, called, “An Unexpected Effect of Proton Pump Inhibitors” was published July 3, 2013, in Circulation. I could do a whole rant on how ridiculous it is that doctors think heart side effects are “unexpected” reactions to drugs, when that’s what they mainly do – deplete the body of magnesium and put the heart at risk. But I won’t, I’ll just stick with the facts.
PPIs reduce the ability of mouse blood vessels to relax by an average of more than 30%. The same effect is found in human blood vessels. The authors state the obvious that: “This is very important because blood vessels need to be able to contract and open up to control blood flow.” DUH!
Previous studies have linked PPIs with increased risk of heart attack and heart damage. Yet the American Heart Association considers proton pump inhibitors safe. Several studies have linked these drugs to a higher risk of pneumonia; infection with the bacteria Clostridium difficile which causes severe diarrhea and intestinal infection; and an increased risk of fractures.
And finally, In April 2011 the FDA warned that using PPIs for more than one year could lead to lower than normal levels of magnesium, increasing the risk of arrhythmias, seizures, and muscle spasms.
Why aren’t they off the market if they are causing harm? Here’s a reason. Proton pump inhibitors are very big business; in 2009 they surpassed cholesterol drugs becoming the second-largest class of drugs sold in the U.S. Total sales were 13.6 billion. Nexium alone brought $6.3 billion in sales to AstraZeneca.
What do I advise for acid reflux, heartburn and GERD? Magnesium to relax spasms of the esophageal sphincter, diaphragm and stomach. Magnesium to improve the gastric acid in the stomach. Magnesium to help the digestion and absorption of all food groups. Magnesium to help treat the symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Magnesium to prevent constipation – I could go on you know!!
I also recommend DGL Licorice, chew 1-2 tablets before meals. In my patient population they work even better than PPI’s. But first, chew your food well – 30 times per bite; no more than a few ounces of liquids with a meal. If you use digestive enzymes make sure you take HCL tablets for protein digestion at the end of meals. If you want more suggestions beyond these, get my Future Health Now Encyclopedia which contains the natural treatment of 134 health conditions.
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Dr. Dean's not only a medical doctor, but also a naturopath, herbalist, acupuncturist, nutritionist, lecturer, consultant, author. Dr. Dean has been in the forefront of health issues for over 30 years. Click here to read more about her work experience.
She graduated from Dalhousie Medical School in 1978, holds a medical license in California and is a graduate of The Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine – now the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto. She served on the board of Governors of the CCNM for six years. For more information on her education click here.
Dr. Dean has authored or coauthored over thirty books, including How To Change Your Life With Magnesium, Future Health Now! Encyclopaedia, Death by Modern Medicine: Seeking Safe Solutions, The Magnesium Miracle, The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, IBS for DUMMIES, IBS Cookbook for DUMMIES andHormone Balance. For a complete listing of her published work click here.
Be sure to visit Dr. Dean's website at: http://drcarolyndean.com/