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Popular Heartburn Medications Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke

Millions of Americans who are taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for heartburn and acid reflux may be at increased risk for heart attacks and stroke, CNN reports. PPIs have also been linked to kidney disease and dementia. Brand names for these drugs include Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix.

Other research has linked these drugs to overgrowth of bacteria, infections, bone fractures and the fastest growing type of esophageal cancer. And while most people take PPIs for what they believe is excess stomach acid, the truth is excess acid is not often the cause for your heartburn.

It’s actually LOW amounts of stomach acid and the subsequent overgrowth of bacteria that change the digestion of carbohydrates, producing gas in your stomach. That gas increases the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, releasing acid into the esophagus, creating heartburn. The answer to heartburn is to restore your natural gastric balance and function.

To do that, eat lots of vegetables and other high-quality, ideally organic, unprocessed foods, and make sure you're getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet by regularly consuming fermented foods. This will help balance your bowel flora, which can help eliminate H. pylori bacteria — which is a very common cause of heartburn — naturally.

And though it may seem counterintuitive to add acid to an acidic environment, one strategy for helping your hurting gut is to take 3 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 6 to 8 ounces of fresh water before each meal.