Having a heart attack or suffering with heartburn… you choose. We’ve warned you before about the damaging health effects of stomach acid-blocking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
To start with PPIs rob your bones of vital calcium and can trigger dangerous and painful fractures, they also destroy your good gut bacteria and leave you vulnerable to life-threatening infections.
Now researchers from Stanford University are warning that the dangers of PPIs are far worse than anyone ever imagined. They’ve proven that these popular drugs increase your risk of a potentially deadly heart attack by 21 per cent.
Breaking your heart
The Stanford researchers studied more than 3 million health records of people taking PPIs – and they found that they were up to 21 percent more likely to suffer life-threatening heart attacks.
Worse still, they were twice as likely to die from heart disease – even if they had no previous history of heart trouble.
These heartburn drugs are bad for your heart because they damage the Teflon-like coating that lines your arteries – and that’s something these drugs start doing right after the first dose.
Damaging the coating of your arteries is dangerous for two reasons:
First, it can allow artery-clogging plaque to accumulate.
Second, the cells that line your arteries are responsible for producing nitric oxide, a vital heart protector that also keeps LDL bad cholesterol from oxidizing. Without enough nitric oxide your blood pressure rises and blood platelets can get stickier, leading to blood clots.
Lead researcher Dr. Nicholas Leeper said: “Proton pump inhibitors may not only lower stomach acid, they may also affect the health of the blood vessel itself.”
Of course, none of this should come as a surprise to medical authorities who have been dancing around the heart risks of PPIs for years.
In fact, six years ago the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official warning about taking PPIs if you have coronary artery disease and are also on the blood thinner Plavix.
So the FDA knew there was a link between PPIs and heart problems. But that’s where the warnings stopped. Instead of insisting that further research be conducted, the FDA went ahead and allowed even more of these drugs to be sold over-the-counter.
The good thing is, you don’t have to wait for warning labels to appear on these drugs to protect yourself, Dr. Leeper and his colleagues have found that once you stop taking the drugs, your nitric oxide levels should return to normal.
However, if you want to quit PPIs, don’t do it cold turkey. It can cause something called “rebound acid hypersecretion,” a sort of trampoline effect that will put you in more acid agony than ever before. You have to taper your dose down slowly but surely.
Once you’ve managed to ditch these drugs for good, there are numerous ways to control heartburn without damaging your heart in the process, such as:
- Take probiotics – either in supplement form or with high-quality organic cultured foods such as kefir and yoghurt (but not most of the sweetened fake kinds you’ll find lining the dairy aisle at your local supermarket).
- Cut down on coffee, especially later in the afternoon.
- Drink a glass of water each day with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. I know that sounds crazy, but it works!
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime. And if you crash on the couch after dinner, sit up, don’t do the lying down couch-sleeping position that can cause a back-flow of acid.
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“Some heartburn drugs may carry heightened risk of heart attack” Kathryn Doyle, June 10, 2015, Reuters, news.yahoo.com
“Heart attack risk linked to heartburn medications, such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, The Washington Post, June 10, 2015, triblive.com