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May 16, 2011

More Bone Fractures with Acid Reflux Meds

Hydrochloric acid is of vital importance when it comes to being able to properly digest and absorb one's food.  Without adequate amounts of this acid, food cannot be broken down and utilized efficiently in the body.  Over time, the body will become chronically deficient in a wide spectrum of nutrients, making it more susceptible to disease processes.

Using different mechanisms, acid reflux medications specifically aim to lower hydrochloric acid in the stomach.  A recent analysis published in the Annals of Family Medicine (May-June issue) looked at 11 studies and found that people using proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux have a 29% increased risk for bone fractures than non-users.  Researchers noted that those people taking high doses of these medications for long-term were 53% more likely to develop hip fractures in particular.  Dr. Seung-Kwon Myung, physician and scientist at the National Cancer Center in Seoul, South Korea, commented that treatment with proton pump inhibitors may influence intestinal absorption of calcium and long-term or frequent use should be avoided.  Last year, the FDA placed labels on proton pump inhibitors warning that they may increase fracture risk.  But in March these warnings were removed from over-the-counter versions based on the FDAs rationale that these are only meant for short-term use anyway and risk of fracture is linked with long-term use.        

Many people turn to medications that inhibit production of acid in the stomach when symptoms like heartburn or acid-reflux occur. Though there are situations where the use of acid reflux medications may be
temporarily warranted (i.e. active ulcers), usually they are counter-productive. Heartburn, acid reflux, GERD, and other GI complaints can often be eliminated without the need for acid-reflux drugs by changing one's diet and eating habits, as well as using specific nutrients, botanicals, and probiotics to heal the lining of the digestive tract.  Acid reflux is a problem affecting the lives of many.  Though a little heartburn here and there may seem harmless, over time this can damage the lining of the digestive tract and even develop into various cancers.  If you or your loved ones suffer with this, don't let another day go by ignoring it!     

Dr. Shana McQueen