If we were to follow Larry the Cable Guy’s advice, almost everyone would be taking an acid-blocking drug. Somehow, we are being convinced that getting rid of stomach acid is a good thing. This is the very same stomach acid that activates digestive enzymes and allows us to absorb Vitamin B12. The acid produced in the stomach sets the right level of pH for the entirety of the digestive system, home to over 100 trillion organisms.
So you might expect that suddenly and dramatically reducing stomach acid production by taking one of theses proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs might be associated with health consequences…and you would be right.
Researchers publishing in the highly respected medical journal JAMA Neurology reported their results after following more than 75,000 adults for 5-6 years. They were interested in determining whether those taking PPIs on a regular basis had an increased risk for developing dementia.
The results of this extremely comprehensive study were telling. The authors reported that regular users of these drugs experienced 44% increase risk of developing dementia, an illness for which there is no effective medical treatment. As the authors stated:
Thus, the avoidance of PPI medication may contribute to the prevention of dementia.
These medications are among the most common prescriptions written, and many are now sold over the counter. These are the heavily-advertised products like Prevacid, Prilosec, Dexilant, Zegerid, AciPhex, Protonix, and Nexium that we all see promoted on the evening news and in magazines.
The ads sure make it sound like we should all jump on board and get rid of our sinister stomach acid. With a spokesperson like Larry the Cable Guy, the message is even more compelling.
But hey, Larry. Why don’t you tell people about how the very drug you are peddling may lead to dementia? Maybe you just don’t understand this information. If that’s the case, probably time to rethink your medications.