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
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.