How Acid-Blocking Drugs May Prove Fatal

Diversity in our gut bacteria is important in essential for combating disease, and it turns out that taking the typical, over-the-counter acid blocking drugs that everyone seems to think they need dramatically changes the gut bacteria. This sets the stage for a potentially life-threatening illness due to bacterial overgrow.

This video focuses on the potential for acid-blocking drugs, called PPIs, to cause an infection known as C. difficile. It’s really troubling when you recognize that this infection is associated with more than 30,000 deaths in America every year! Take a look at the latest science, and enjoy today’s video.

Dr. Perlmutter’s Periscope Q&A

On the day we launched Brain Maker, I thought it would be fun to get to speak to you all in real-time and be able to answer some of your questions on the book, the microbiome, gut health, and more. Utilizing the tool Periscope, we were able to having a dynamic discussion on a number of topics, but important to me is that these were the topics you all wanted to know about. We saw lots of questions on subjects such as probiotics, coffee/wine consumption and C. diff.

You can watch the recording of my Periscope here now, and I encourage you to leave your thoughts. Should we do this again?

Dramatic Weight Gain After Fecal Transplant

We are now learning that differences in the various species of bacteria that live within the intestines actually have a profound role in regulating metabolism. For example, researchers have demonstrated that when fecal material (rich in intestinal bacteria) from an obese human is transplanted into the colon of a normal laboratory rat, the animal will gain significant amounts of weight even though it’s diet remains unchanged.

One explanation for this phenomenon has to do with the idea that certain species of bacteria are actually able to extract more calories from food that is consumed. So transplanting these thrifty bacteria allows the animal to actually obtain a higher calorie delivery to its system, even though the diet wasn’t changed.

In fact, researchers have now characterized the complexion of the gut bacteria in humans associated with obesity in contrast to the gut bacteria found in lean individuals. Obese individuals have higher levels of one large class of bacteria called Firmicutes and lesser amounts of another large group, the Bacteroidetes bacteria. The reverse is true, by and large, in those who are lean.

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Acid Blocking Drugs for One and All?

The term proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) may sound like a complex and compelling bit of science, but in reality, the term describes a type of drug that is among the most commonly used medications, both by prescription, and over-the-counter, in America today. Basically, these drugs act by reducing gastric acid production, and they are very capable in accomplishing this task.

PPIs are generally prescribed for people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD.

But when you watch the television commercials for these medications it looks as if we should be taking them in order to eat any food that might disagree with us.

Despite the fact that, according to FDA guidelines, these drugs should only be taken for no more than 14 days in a given year, I have to admit that I see patients every day who insist on taking Pepcid or Prilosec day in and day out without any indication that they plan to stop.  Continue reading