As we all know, allergic diseases, particularly in childhood, are becoming more and more common. It’s not just that we are becoming more aware of allergic diseases, think of the frequent announcements on airplanes about peanut allergies, or food allergy questions by the waiter at dinner. No, the reality of the situation is that, by and large, allergies are simply far more common than they used to be.
So, why is this happening? Let’s take a step back and recognize that the intestines, oddly enough, actually play an important role in determining our immune responsiveness. Specifically, we now understand that the gut lining itself actually plays an important role in regulating immune function. Permeability, or leakiness, of the gut lining is associated with alteration in immune function as well as changes to the set point of inflammation. Continue reading
Proton Pump inhibitors (PPIs), like Nexium and Prilosec, work to block against our stomach acids. However, they are not without serious side effects. You may be shocked (or not if you’ve been following my blog) to learn that these actually have a negative effect on gut bacteria too, and this leads to an increase in our risk of developing several serious diseases!
Stomach acid is a wonderful thing. It enhances the breakdown of our food, turns on digestive enzymes, allows us to absorb vitamin B12, and helps control pH levels for the entirety of the digestive system.
And yet, drugs called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), which act to reduce stomach acid, are among the most popular medications prescribed, as well as over-the-counter drugs sold and used in America today. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.
We’ve all seen the commercials. A man tries to eat a sausage sandwich, and the sausage turns away. The implication is that if he eats the sausage he’ll get “indigestion”…whatever that means. The call to action is to reach for an acid-blocking pill. Then, he can eat whatever he wants, and the world is a better place.
Generally, the reason people don’t tolerate foods has little to do with the food’s effects on stomach acid. When, like our friend above, foods aren’t tolerated, it might just mean there’s a good reason we shouldn’t be eating them in the first place.
But somehow, the idea that we are all suffering from “excess stomach acid,” has really taken hold in our society – no doubt because the fix for this condition is as easy as popping a pill.
To be clear, there are a handful of medical conditions in which there truly is an increased production of stomach acid, like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and there are conditions, like Barret’s esophagus and ulcer disease, in which reducing the production of stomach acid is worthwhile.