That’s what we get for taking health advice from Larry the Cable Guy!
You can’t turn on the TV these days without seeing Larry — or other celebrities like him — hawking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for heartburn.
I’m talking about powerful acid-blocking meds like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid that you can buy practically anywhere.
And the fact that these meds can weaken your bones, cause heart problems and even make your digestion worse hasn’t slowed Big Pharma’s ad blitz one bit.
But now three recent studies are proving that PPIs are even more dangerous than we ever thought.
Turns out that every time you pop one of these pills for after-dinner relief, you may be causing permanent damage to your kidneys.
And sending your risk of dying through the roof.
They used to be available by prescription only. But now, instead of your doctor telling you to take these meds, we have round-the-clock commercials with Larry the Cable Guy.
Wonder where he went to medical school?
I’ve been warning you for years that turning off your stomach acid — as these PPIs basically do — can be incredibly dangerous for your health. And the list of dangers already discovered about these drugs is as long as your arm.
For starters they can:
- Keep your body from properly absorbing calcium, which can cause your bones to weaken. That increases your fracture risk, especially in your hips, wrists and spine.
- Up your chances of developing heart disease — even if you have no history of heart problems.
- Compromise your immune system, leave you wide open for serious — and potentially life-threatening — infections like C. diff.
As if that wasn’t enough, you can now add chronic kidney disease (CKD) to the list.
In one study, Dr. Benjamin Lazarus from Johns Hopkins, followed more than 10,000 adults for 15 years.
None of them had kidney disease at the start of the research — but it didn’t stay that way,
By the end of the study, the poor folks taking PPIs were up to 50 percent more likely to develop CKD.
Those results were so shocking that Dr. Lazarus did a second study involving more than 240,000 for 17 years — and found the exact same thing.
Even worse, Dr. Pradeep Arora, a kidney specialist from SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, looked at more than 24,000 carefully screened people for seven years and discovered that those taking PPI drugs had a 76 percent higher risk of dying prematurely.
So anyway you look at it, these drugs are bad news. They’re just too dangerous to take — no matter what Larry says.
And here’s something else Larry won’t be telling you. There are numerous ways to keep heartburn under control without putting your life on the line. Such as:
- Taking probiotics — either as a supplement or with high-quality organic cultured foods such as kefir and yogurt. These friendly gut bacteria can help your body process food more easily and reduce symptoms of indigestion.
- Cutting down on acidic beverages, such as soda and some fruit juices. Coffee also can trigger heartburn for some people.
- Drinking a glass of water each day with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I know that sounds crazy, but lots of people swear by it. Apple cider vinegar seems to support healthy acid levels in your stomach.
- Not eating too close to bedtime. And if you crash on the couch after dinner, sit up. Lying down shortly after you eat can cause a backflow of acid.
And never quit these PPI drugs cold turkey. That can result in something called “rebound acid hypersecretion,” which is more acid agony than you had in the first place.
You can avoid that by slowly tapering down your dose.
“Heartburn drugs tied to higher kidney disease risk” Dennis Thompson, October 27, 2015, WebMD, webmd.com
“Acid reflux medications may increase kidney disease risk” American Society of Nephrology, October 27, 2015, eurekalert.org