Is a proton pump inhibitor the answer to digestive problems?

 In these days of stress,eating on the run and not always eating appropriate foods, many people suffer
from digestive problems. Unfortunately most of us would rather take a pill,than to address the underlying causes of the discomfort. A change in eatinghabits, food choices, and lifestyle are often met with a lack of motivation when the person feels they can solve the problem by simply taking a pill.
Unfortunately these pills are not bringing your body back to its normal functioning, but altering the bodies perfect processes to the detriment of that body as a whole. One of the most common (and most dangerous in my view) medical solutions is the use of the proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec. Prilosec (omeprazole) is used for dyspepsia (indigestion), Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It is sold by prescription and over the counter, both forms are exactly the same formula. The over the counter medication is sold as a treatment for heartburn.
The chemical formula for Prilosec is C17H19N3O3S. Its bioavailibility is 35-60%, and has 80% renal
(kidney) excretion. The active ingredient is omepralole magnesium. Its chemical name is di-5-methoxy-2-[[(4-methoxy-3, 5-dimethyl-2-pyridinyl)methyl]sulfinyl]-1H-benzimidazole magnesium. Omeprazole magnesium is a crystalline substance that is freely soluble in methanol and
slightly soluble in water. Omeprazole magnesium dissociates rapidly in water to form omerprazole and magnesium. The inactive ingredients are glycerol monostearate, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, iron oxide, magnesium stearate, methacrylic acid copolymer, microcrystalline cellulose, paraffin, polyethylene glycol 6000, polysorbate 80, polyvinylpyrrolidone, sodium stearyl fumarate, starch, sucrose, talc, titanium dioxide, triethyl citrate. Prilosec is absorbed in the small intestine and metabolized in the liver. It is excreted mainly in the urine.
Prilosec irreversibly binds to the proton pump at the secretory surface of the gastric parietal cell. The binding inhibits or suppresses the ability of the parietal cell to secrete gastric juice. When Prilosec is discontinued, the ability to secrete gastricjuice returns gradually, days later, only as new proton pumps are generated. This is where the problems arise. The body needs the gastric juice to digest food. Without gastric juice foods will not be broken down properly and nutrients will not be available for absorption. Some nutrients that are most often deficient in individuals using this medication are iron, calcium, magnesium, and B12. The low pH of the stomach (acidic) normally kills ingested bacteria, reducing or eliminating the acid in the stomach leaves you vulnerable to infection. One common side effect is reoccurring respiratory infections (or common colds). I personally know a man who believes the Prilosec has helped his acid reflux, however he complains of being sick all the time with colds and flu. More serious side effects include depression, pancreatitis, and liver damage. Other side effects are headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, trouble awakening and sleep deprivation, constipation and back pain.
Proton pump inhibitors may also be associated with heart problems, including cardiac arrest. Patients who take Plavix (for high cholesterol) with proton pump inhibiting drugs may be at a greater risk for stroke or heart attack. There are other warnings to be considered. Prilosec should not be taken with most antibiotics as it may decrease absorption of the antibiotic into the bloodstream. It should also not be taken with Valium as it increases the level of the Valium in your bloodstream and can cause overdose. Prilosec should not be taken if you are pregnant, lactating, have liver disease, or allergies. One other scary warning is “some of the symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to the symptoms of GERD, heartburn, and ulcers. Just because Prilosec helps your symptoms does not rule out the possibility that you have stomach cancer.” One research study published in The Harvard University Gazette reported “Children of mothers who took acid-suppressive drugs during pregnancy had a 1.5 times higher incidence of asthma when compared to children whose mothers did not take them.”
The natural approach to indigestion is completely opposite to the medical approach. Where the medical community believes less acid is the solution, the natural solution is more acid. A naturopathic doctor told me she ” often gives hydrochloric acid supplement to patients suffering from heartburn, PUD, and GERD, along with adding digestive enzymes to help to breakdown the foods.” When the food is broken down faster for digestion such complaints of heartburn and acid reflux are alleviated. Vinegar can also be helpful as this changes the pH of the stomach. The added effects of chewing food thoroughly, slowly, and in a relaxed atmosphere enhance digestion. When food is prepared and eaten in a relaxed mood, the parasympathetic system keeps the body in a relaxed state. It has been studied and reported that when the body is relaxed, digestion is enhanced. Bitter foods such as the dark salad greens, kale, vinegar, or bitter melon stimulate the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. My naturopath  recommends that those with digestive problems eat some bitter foods before a meal. A small salad of organic greens with some balsamic vinegar will set the stage for better digestion. Fresh ginger is used to help breakdown high protein foods such as meat and beans, and lessen the effects of uric acids in the body from eating these foods. While it is not always practical to eat fresh ginger, a cup of ginger tea with your meal, can help with digestion. Taking digestive enzymes with your meals can also benefit digestion by helping to breakdown the foods better and faster.
Being aware of the foods that cause you problems and eliminating them from your diet is a far better solution than eating these foods and taking harmful pills so you are not uncomfortable. Including exercise as part of your routine also
helps with digestion. Regular exercise helps digestion and keeps you trim. Being overweight can increase your risk of acid reflux disease. These simple
changes can keep you from having heartburn or more serious digestive problems. The food being broken down properly not only wards off digestive problems, but it gives the digestive track the ability too heal itself by taking the stress off of the digestive organs.
Hypochlorhydria is a condition where the production of gastric acid is absent or low in the stomach. The symptoms are similar to GERD, and Hypochlorydria impairs the digestion of proteins. This is common among the aging as the secretion of gastric juices naturally begins to slow. One of the problems related to this condition of lower stomach acid is bacterial overgrowth (as the stomach can not kill the microbes normally present in foods), which may manifest as diarrhea or decreased absorption of nutrients or vitamins. Risk of infection is thus increased.
Submitted by Tricia @ Nutrition by Tricia


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