As contradictory as it may seem, to help with overall alkalinity there is at least one place in the body where we want that acid: the stomach. While too much acid causes indigestion, heartburn and reflux disease, too little causes maldigestion and a host of other issues. Excess acid has received much of the attention so far, with as many as 4 in 10 Americans having symptoms of heartburn and gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
There is a surfeit of medications formulated towards just this one function: reduction of acid in the stomach, and act in the following main ways:
– By neutralizing the acid like Tums, Maalox
– Slowing down acid production or blocking the histamine 2 receptor like Zantac and Tagamet
– Blocking acid at the subcellular level as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) do.
PPIs are among the highest-selling classes of drugs in the U.S., earning $9.5 billion in sales in 2012 and over a 100 million prescriptions written. With the multitude of people hooked on these medications, negative associations with regular use of these drugs have been mounting. PPIs are linked with cognitive decline based on the fact that they increase the levels of β-amyloid in the brain. A recent study published in JAMA Neurology showed 44 percent increased risk of dementia in elderly people over 75 years who took PPIs regularly -women were the hardest hit. PPIs inhibit the production and secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach-an important mediator of calcium absorption in the small intestine. This leads to decrease in bone mineral density and increased risk of bone fractures.
MORE PROBLEMS WITH LOW STOMACH ACID
Low acid production is often the cause of many chronic problems for people in their 40’s and 50’s and nowadays for younger people as well. Lowering acid in the stomach is unhealthy and unnatural; here’s why:
- Increased bacterial overgrowth
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) was seen in 50% of people using PPIs as reported in a 2010 Italian study. PPIs — one of the most commonly prescribed heartburn and GERD medication, are often prescribed without clear indications and have shown to increase risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) leading to diarrhea and associated digestive problems.
- Impaired nutrient absorption --> decreased resistance to infection
As acid declines and the pH of the stomach increases, absorption of nutrients becomes impaired. Decades of research have confirmed that low stomach acid – whether it occurs on its own or as a result of using antacid drugs – reduces absorption of several key nutrients such as iron, B12, folate, calcium and zinc.
- Increased risk of cancer and other diseases: By increasing the pH of the stomach, PPIs cause bile salts to move up the esophagus- resulting in erosion of the esophageal lining and increasing the risk of cancers such as esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Control your heartburn naturally
In addition to following an alkalinizing diet, certain nutrients can be helpful in GERD like situations and help avoid usage of medications like PPIs. They include melatonin, zinc, chromium and herbs like slippery elm, deglycyrrhizinated licorice and Swedish bitters. Vitamins B6, B12 and folate can stimulate healthy acid production, digestion and improved gastric lining.
Products like PERQUE Vessel Health Guard are natural and safer alternatives to PPIs. With the combined synergy of hydroxocobalamin (preferred form of Vitamin B12) and natural folates, PERQUE Vessel Health Guard provides superior methylation (communication) support. This strengthens the muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach; it stays closed and prevents the reflux (GERD) that PPIs(e.g Nexium, Prilosec) aim to suppress.
Call us at PERQUE and enquire about PERQUE Vessel Health Guard which has the hydroxocobalamin form of Vitamin B12 and natural folate in a lozenge with Vitamin B6 and magnesium for optimum delivery and action.