Everyone is talking about the recent study that links the use of proton pump inhibitors to an increase in the risk of developing dementia, but the truth is this is not the only way these acid-blockers can harm your health. While originally intended to only be taken for a maximum of two weeks when a person had a peptic ulcer or other serious stomach problem, PPIs, like Prilosec and Nexium, have become the go-to prescription medications to treat basic heartburn. These medications work by shutting off acid production in your stomach completely. Your stomach needs acid to digest your food properly, so when you take these medications daily, your body cannot break down food properly to unleash the nutrients in it that you need.
Three other negative health effects of PPIs include:
Osteoporosis. These “purple pills” prevent your body from absorbing calcium in your diet, which makes you more prone to this bone deterioration.
B-12 deficiency. Feeling tired and worn out? PPIs also keep your body from absorbing this vitamin, and this can lead to anemia and a general worn-out and tired feeling.
Magnesium deficiency. Lack of magnesium in your diet can lead to depression, anxiety, and many other health problems.
Proton Pump inhibitors are overall bad news if you want to stay healthy, and other over-the-counter heartburn medications also have their own side effects. The good news is that you can live a life without heartburn just by making a few changes to your daily diet and eating the right foods.
Foods that can help prevent heartburn and eliminate it if it does occur include:
- Milk, Yogurt or Kefir. Think of milk and yogurt as natural Pepto-Bismol! They coat your stomach to protect it from acidic foods and help neutralize stomach acid.
- Apples. Eat a fresh organic apple or a dish of applesauce before or after each meal. Apples contain tartaric and malic acids that help neutralize the acid in your stomach.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Add just a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, or ACV, to a small glass of water and drink two to three times each day to keep heartburn away.
Also, follow these additional tips to prevent and treat heartburn:
- Eat until you are satiated but not stuffed. Too much of any food can trigger heartburn, so eat only until your stomach feels ¾ full and not stuffed.
- Rely on baking soda for emergency relief. Sodium bicarbonate is a natural heartburn remedy, but it is full of sodium, so don’t rely on it too often. However, if heartburn does strike, mix ¼ teaspoon into a glass of water and drink it for quick heartburn relief.
If you are hooked on PPIs, realize that there are natural ways to treat your heartburn without sacrificing your health. You don’t have to rely on daily heartburn medications when you make just a few tweaks to your daily diet.