Over 60% of Americans suffer from heartburn, and for some the burning sensation is intense enough to be mistaken for a heart attack.
That’s where pharmaceuticals known as “proton pump inhibitors”(PPI) come in.
Popular PPIs like Prilosec OTC, Nexium, and Prevacid stop cells in the lining of the stomach from producing too much acid.
However, while PPIs may relieve heartburn and the sensation of having a heart attack, they could actually be increasing your chances for a real heart attack.
According to a new study performed by Houston Methodist and Stanford University, adults who use antacids in the form of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are between 16 and 21 percent more likely to experience a heart attack than people who don’t use the commonly prescribed antacid drugs.
The research theorizes PPIs may reduce production of nitric oxide from cells that line the inside of the circulatory system, including the heart. Lower levels of nitric oxide have long been associated with cardiovascular problems.
“By looking at data from people who were given [antacid] drugs primarily for acid reflux and had no prior history of heart disease, our data-mining pipeline signals an association with a higher rate of heart attacks,” said the study’s lead author, Nigam H. Shah, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Stanford, where the work was done.
“Our results demonstrate that [antacids] appear to be associated with elevated risk of heart attack in the general population.”
The FDA estimates about 1 in 14 Americans use PPIs. In 2009, PPIs were the third-most taken drug in the U.S., and are believed to account for $13 billion in annual global sales.
Doctors prescribe PPIs to treat a wide range of disorders, including gastro-esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, infection by the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and Barrett’s esophagus.
Even if we ignore the negative side effects of PPIs, they’re still not a cure for acid reflux and heartburn.
Instead, PPIs are simply a band aid to mask deeper problems.
The Real Cause Of Heartburn
After food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or acid to move back up.
Acid reflux occurs when the LES relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow (reflux) backward into your esophagus.
You see, heartburn is not caused by an overabundance of stomach acid, but a faulty valve in the esophagus. In fact, most of the the time people with heartburn have too little stomach acid.
This faulty valve is most commonly cause by two things.
1. Hiatal hernia –when the stomach pushes upward through your diaphragm causing the LES to incorrectly. A hiatal hernia is very difficult to detect without the help of a specialist. If you have a hiatal hernia, physical therapy on the area may work and many chiropractors are skilled in this adjustment.
2. Chronic inflammation in the gut – Gastrointestinal infections like – Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) causes chronic inflammation in your stomach lining that leads to a weakened LES and acid reflux.
H. pylori and GERD are just two of the many gut diseases that can disturb the natural gastric balance in the gut, and if you’re experiencing heartburn you should immediately have a gut biopsy done and see a specialist.
The best diagnostic tests to determine if you have an H. pylori infection are either a stool sample, or a lactulose absorption breath test. Blood tests are ineffective at determining if you have a current H. pylori infection or have had an infection in the past.
Diagnosis of GERD requires an endoscopy to tell how damaged your esophagus is, and the general function of your LES and stomach.
One of the best assessments utilized in the diagnosing of GERD is an esophageal PH monitoring test.
A flexible catheter with a PH monitor on the end is placed through the nose down into the esophagus for at least 24 hours. It is uncomfortable to have a tube down your nose and throat, but it is very useful in establishing a GERD diagnosis.
In the meantime, let’s talk about how to get immediate relief without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceuticals.
Natural Heartburn Relief
What makes pharmaceuticals so attractive for someone with heartburn is the immediate relief they provide. So much so, most people are willing to ignore the included risks.
While my ultimate goal is to help you find long term solutions for your health, I realize the debilitating effects of heartburn are miserable.
Which is why I want to cover a short-term solution: D-limonene.
D-limonene is a compound extracted from orange peels that’s been shown to provide total heartburn relief in just 20 days.
D-limonene is lighter than water, so it floats to the surface of gastric juices in the
When gastric pressure forces stomach acid into the esophagus, the D-limonene coats the esophagus and protects it from the burning acid.
This protection acts like a shield for your through and allows for erosions to heal for long term relief.
D-Limonene is also proven to increase the gastric emptying of food and gastric juices out of the stomach so that these esophageal irritants do not promote as much reflux.
Just one gram of D-limonene every other day for twenty days has been shown to
reduce or eliminate GERD symptoms in most people for six months or longer.
Recommended Brand: Jarrow Formulas D-Limonene
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