heartburn drugs, constipation

Millions of people take medicines like Prevacid, Prilosec or Nexium every day. But while such proton pump inhibitors may ease symptoms of heartburn, they can also lead to serious side effects. Dr. Philip Gorelick, spokesperson for the American Heart Association, describes the research linking these heartburn drugs to an increased risk of stroke.

Alternatives to PPIs?

What is the solution? Many experts recommend limiting such PPI use to acute situations where they are clearly necessary. Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a gastroenterologist, tells us how the microbes in our digestive tract affect our health. PPIs can have deleterious effects on our microbiota. She offers a number of other ways we can address digestive difficulties without wrecking the balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract by taking heartburn drugs. How can you live dirty and eat clean for good health?

Remember: do not stop any prescribed medication, including heartburn drugs, without your doctor’s knowledge and supervision. Stopping a PPI abruptly can lead to rebound hyperacidity and troublesome heartburn for many weeks.

This Week’s Guests:

Robynne K Chutkan, MD, is on faculty at Georgetown Hospital and is the founder of the Digestive Center for Wellness in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She did her medical training at Columbia University and is board certified in gastroenterology. Dr. Chutkan is the author of three digestive health books: Gutbliss, The Microbiome Solution and The Bloat Cure. A frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show and other media outlets, she’s one of the most recognizable gastroenterologists in practice today. Her websites are  https://gutbliss.com  and  www.digestivecenterforwellness.com

Philip B. Gorelick, MD, MPH, FACP, is the medical director of the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center, Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids, MI. He is also Professor of Translational Science and Molecular Medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Dr. Gorelick is a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. The research he described was presented at the American Heart Association annual meeting on Nov. 15, 2016.

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Air Date:May 6, 2017

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  1. Sam

    Thank you so much for sharing this conversation — it is very inspiring and informative. I was recently diagnosed with chronic gastritis (not caused by H. Pylori), and my G.I. doctor wants me to take 60 days of Dexilant 30mg. I am very wary of Proton Pump Inhibitors, but since it is for a short term use, do you think that will be safe? I want to heal my stomach, but I am also nervous about the drug causing SIBO or other issues. Any help would be extremely appreciated.

  2. Bobbie

    I’ve been taking a PPI for 20 years (it’s the only medication I take) and have had no problems. I’d like to get off it to see if I still need it but no one ever talks about how to do that successfully without great discomfort. I’ve tried a number of times reducing the med slowly or using substitutes but without success. Any thoughts?

  3. Rev. Fred
    Fitchburg, WI

    PPIs are potentially and actually deadly in conjunction with certain other drugs such as Metformin and can exacerbate or accelerate other medical conditions. I lost my best friend of 40 years, since high school, to PPI + Metformin + bad nutrition + near dead gut biome. He died.

    The same thing nearly got my mother, but I found about the connection here at People’s Pharmacy, and I was able to get her to call her doctor right away to get her to look at this connection and her life was saved. She was quite unwell and her doctor didn’t understand why or why her minerals were so low.

    Thank you People’s Pharmacy. You helped save my mother’s life.

    • Rev. Fred

      I am also seeking any help I can get with repopulating my gut biome after antibiotics. The VA is medieval about this, mouthing the “eat some yogurt, hey” line and really believing it, knowing no better. FMT is out as it is only VA approved as a treatment for Clostridium Difficilis.

      In my reading it only appears that 3 or 4 species of the thousand in the gut biome have been successfully recolonized by diet. I can make and eat fermented milk products and just bought the giant economy size jar of live Kimchee — which is a start. But there’s so little out there I can find that seems real.

      Any advice backed by science is welcome.

      • Cheri C

        You’re off to a good start, Rev. Fred. You want to eat all the fermented foods you like — kimchi is a good one. You should find it in the refrigerated section of the store, kept cool. Otherwise you’ll be getting one which has been treated, probably pasteurized, and the good bacteria you want are dead. Longer shelf life, but no benefit to the gut. You can make your own, if you have the kitchen space for a large jug to sit around. There’s actually a kimchi “maker” on the market now, to make it as easy as possible. The advantage is you can include the vegetables you like best, in the proportions you like.

        Sauerkraut is good, just like kimchi, if “fresh” and not canned or otherwise preserved. Again, if you make it yourself you can add other vegetables to the cabbage base, to get exactly what you want and to vary it.
        Tempeh is a good choice. My favorite is made with a variety of grains as well as the soy — nice flavor and texture. Read the label on your yogurt container. I found one which contains 7 live active cultures vs. the 3 many on the market contain.

        And then, you can take a supplement in capsules. Again, you want one from refrigerated storage. On the room temperature shelf, there’s not much life. I like Jarrow, but there are other good brands.

        You will want to go shopping at a “natural” foods store, probably. Whole Foods is pricey, but they do carry these products you want.

  4. BMac

    I was diagnosed with GORD, hiatus hernia & Barretts Oesophagus some years ago. I get an occasional flare-up but generally manage by avoiding eating & drinking a couple of hours before bedtime. Foods that aggravates are: potato-chips with onion; biscuits; more than one beer; more than a few jelly sweets. Foods that help are: low-sugar yogurt; a little milk chocolate; meals with plenty of gravy or cooked sauces.

  5. Judy
    Eugene, Oregon

    I took things for heartburn for years; finally, I used deglycyrrhized licorice tablets and chewed them up – took a while but I haven’t had heartburn for years now. I also used candied ginger.

  6. SJ

    It all comes down to doing what is natural for the body. We need acid to digest our food, so why stop the acid production? People have to be more aware of chewing their food, eating slowly and not over indulging. The term “everything in moderation” fits with our diet and how much we should consume. There are natural foods and toppings that can help us digest our meals; apple cider vinegar is one. Also, our bodies were designed by our creator to move, not sit. As someone once said: “a body in motion stays in motion”.

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