Are you taking a proton pump inhibitor for relief of acid reflux disease? Millions use prescription acid reflux drugs each day and 80% shouldn’t. If you’ve been taking acid reflux drugs for over one year, your chances of developing serious health risks increase exponentially. Reduce these risks by weaning yourself off proton pump inhibitors the natural way.
Proton Pump Inhibitors Do Not End Acid Reflux
Like most pharmaceutical drugs, proton pump inhibitors do not cure disease; they only temporarily mitigate symptoms at the risk of your health. Proton pump inhibitors do not slow your production of stomach acid; they keep your body from producing any stomach acid at all while the drug is working.
This causes your digestive system to overcompensate, flooding your stomach with excess acid. This is called rebound acid reflux because it’s caused by an attempt at suppression.
Preventing your body from being able to make any stomach acid at all will hinder your natural digestive process, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and an overgrowth of candida yeast.
Unfortunate Side Effects of Acid Reflux Drugs
Proton pump inhibitors were originally designed for very short-term use for the purposes of healing bleeding ulcers or mitigating the symptoms of a rare disorder called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, (which causes your stomach to produce excess acid). They were never meant to be prescribed for years or even decades for mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal reflux disease.
Over time, use of these acid reflux drugs can increase your risk for the following:
Without adequate stomach acid production, you are unable to successfully absorb calcium and magnesium from food, which can more than double your risk for the development of osteoporosis.
Iron deficiency anemia is another common side effect of proton pump inhibitors as they interfere with your absorption of iron.
- Cardiovascular Disease
In addition to serious nutritional deficiencies, proton pump inhibitors also constrict your blood vessels, which can contribute to hypertension and a weakened heart.
- Gastric Cancer
Your natural stomach acid provides a protective barrier against pathogens. Without this protection, bacteria (H. pylori), yeast, and fungi overgrow in your system, which can increase your risk for the development of cancer.
Acid Reflux Disease Caused by Low Stomach Acid
In most cases, acid reflux disease is caused by low stomach acid, not high. This condition is called hypochlorhydria. This epidemic of low stomach acid is caused by an overuse of NSAID pain relievers and antibiotics as well as the Standard American Diet, which is filled with highly-processed sugars, flours, additives, and preservatives that ruin digestion.
Low stomach acid causes your body to overproduce stomach acid to compensate for the lack. It also causes a loss of muscle tone in the esophageal sphincter, which causes excess acid to back up into the throat and cause those uncomfortable symptoms.
How to Wean Yourself off Proton Pump Inhibitors
Before you can wean off proton pump inhibitors, you must wean off of junk food. This means cutting fast food, microwavable meals, canned food, boxed food, and “diet” anything out of your life. Trade them in for more holistic, healing fare like organic vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and healthy fats like coconut oil and butter. Fermented foods like organic yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir are also very important to rebuild your stores of healthy gut bacteria and get your digestion back in balance.2
There are a few important natural supplements to add to your diet if you’re struggling with acid reflux disease. DGL licorice has been shown to ease the symptoms of acid reflux disease as well as an over-the-counter antacid. Since your stomach acid is likely quite low, it is also idea to add a digestive supplement to your diet. Taking a digestive aid with each meal can help you better absorb nutrients from food.
Mastic gum extract has also been shown to ease the symptoms of acid reflux disease while eradicating H. pylori infection. You should also round out this supplement regimen with a high-quality probiotic supplement.2
After you’ve cleaned up your diet and used the supplements successfully (a period of about 1-2 months), you will be able to start weaning off the proton pump inhibitors. At this time, switch to an H2 inhibitor such as (Pepsid AC, Prilosec, Zantac) and gradually taper off your prescription by cutting down your dosage.
After another month, you should be able to also gradually wean off the H2 inhibitor and use only your dietary changes and supplements to heal your acid reflux disease.
No matter how long you’ve been using prescription acid reflux drugs, you can still wean off of them, get your digestion back in balance, and counteract any nutritional deficiencies. A whole-food multivitamin supplement can help aid in this process while your body heals.