Acid Stopping Medications and Malnutrition

May 10, 2010 a news report with CBS News highlighted the increasing concern about the overuse of acid stopping medications such as Prilosec and Nexium. In their report they stated that more than 50% of prescriptions are unnecessary and there is mounting concern about some of the side effects. They cited an Archives of Internal Medicine article revealing that there is a 25% increase in bone fractures in women, and a 74% increased probability for intestinal infections, especially C difficile. But this and other risks are not new.

When acid-stopping medications first came on the market they came with warnings to prescribe them for only two weeks. This was because this was the time determined needed for the stomach to heal from damage, and because usage longer could result in malnutrition.

Malnutrition? Yes. When you stop your body from producing the very enzymes needed to digest your food – to extract nutrients from your foods – you are setting the stage for malnutrition. The body can deal with that for short periods of time, but not the extended periods so common today. When you can’t digest calcium, how do you expect it to get into your bones? Of course you would have increased risk of bone fractures. When you are changing the natural chemistry in the gut, altering the acid versus alkaline enzymes, of course you would set the stage for opportunistic infections. It is all logical.

But what if you have heartburn and feel you need medications for it? First of all, we need to correct the problem. Why do you have heart burn, reflux, a hiatal hernia, indigestion, IBS, esophageal spasms, etc. in the first place? You certainly can’t just stop your medications, because the problem is still there. However, there is much you can do to resolve the digestive issues, therefore no longer needing medications. Since there is a risk of esophageal cancer with prolonged reflux, it must be addressed, and not just ignored.

There are many things that effect digestion: stress, diet, lifestyle habits, posture, sleeping habits and much more. Some solutions are simple, others are more complex or need time to resolve. But getting your body to digest properly is a must. It’s not just about comfort. If you are not digesting properly, every organ and cell in your body that requires a nutrient (which is all of them) cannot effectively do their job. Every system will suffer. Whether digestion is suppressed from stress, medications or other things, improving digestion is essential to the health of every system in your body.

Acupuncture, nutrition, dietary supplementation, chiropractic and others can uncover the reason for your digestive challenges. Armed with causative factors, you can heal your gut issues with one or more of these effective modalities.

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.

Medical/Health Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article or podcast should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article or podcast. Readers/listeners should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author, but readers/listeners who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

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