High-Dose Heartburn Meds Linked To Stroke


Proton pump inhibitors treat heartburn, but according to a study these drugs increase people’s overall stroke risk by more than 20%.   A popular category of heartburn medications – including Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec & Protonix – may increase your risk of stroke, a new study suggests.  The study lead author is Dr Thomas Sehested.   But the risk appears to be driven by people who take high doses, added Sehested, research director at Danish Heart Foundation in Copenhagen.

You can see more about this study here.

This is not good news, is it, considering how many people are on antacids and PPIs (proton pump inhibitors)? I keep coming across more and more people on them and I do wonder what is going on with this rise.

My own view, for what its worth, is that our stressful lifestyle and relatively poor, low nutrient diets are at the heart of it, if you pardon the pun.

Not having the right nutrients means less stomach acid production, especially as we get older – which I know sounds mad when you’ve got high acid symptoms, but trust me, the vast majority of people having gastric issues have LOW stomach acid and not actually an over production. It’s mad, but true. See here on my Low Stomach Acid page.

And, if that is the case, taking antacids and PPIs are SO not the right answer – they will in fact just push your nutrient absorption down even further (hence things like stroke risk, osteoporosis etc) and leave you vulnerable to infections like candida and bacterial overgrowth.

Your stomach acid is there for a reason!

image of inflamed stomach in man   However, in some cases, albeit much less common than you would think, it genuinely is over-production. In those cases my first port of call is to check for Helicobacter pylori (the most common cause of high acid/GERD) with a stool or breath test. In fact, I am getting asked about it such a lot, I have just listed the DD CSAP3 gut stool test we know and love with H pylori included for you to make life easier. That way, we get all the usual gut info and that.

Interestingly, you have to be off antacid meds for two weeks for a breath test but only two days for a stool test – I had to look that up for someone just yesterday which is why it’s on my mind. The poor person was suffering terribly off their meds waiting for the two weeks; I recommended they stop and do the stool test instead.

The other way you can do it is see if you are having an immune reaction to Helicobacter – or some other pathogen. You do that using Cyrex 12.

Next, I would consider emotional stress as a trigger. My own acid reflux (feeling of an elephant on my chest, tight, acid-in-my-mouth feeling) and oesophagitis (closed throat, a feeling of being strangled, yuk), turned out to have anxiety as a trigger – even though I didn’t actually feel anxious consciously! I was convinced it was an allergy reaction, but as it turns out that certainly didn’t help, but it was only when I used anti-anxiety techniques on it that it went.

So, that brings us onto allergy or sensitivity to something. I always look for a gluten related disorder or some other form of intolerance triggering an over-production, and it is surprising how many times this comes up – most cases I would say have this involved somewhere. See the Allergy tests overview here and download my free Allergy 101 booklet.

Finally, autoimmunity can be the problem. I would test if there is an issue with the parietal cells for a start. You can do that in the Cyrex 5 here, bit pricey but could answer a lot of questions. It’s useful, in fact, to test more than one autoimmunity marker because they never come singly – autoimmune disorders usually come in twos and threes in my experience. Your doctor might be able to just do parietal cells.

Obviously, it can easily be something else, but those usually are the main factors. I’ve written loads more about this here on my Acid Reflux, GERD, Indigestion, Heartburn and Low Stomach Acid factsheets in the A-Z for you.

I hope that helps.



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