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Heartburn Drugs Tied to Increased Risk of Early Death, Study Says

Occasional heart burn can usually be treated with simple lifestyle changes, such as drinking diluted apple cider vinegar before or after your meals. Acidic fluid can pass through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) for a number of reasons, and those who suffer through the excruciating pain of chronic heartburn are often induced to adopt more radical measures. 

Some of the most common chronic heartburn treatments prescribed by physicians are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and CNN reports that the dangers posed by this class of drug are only beginning to be understood. In the past, PPIs were linked to acute interstitial nephritis, an inflammatory process in the kidneys. In a recent study of over 10,000 participants, researchers found another link to chronic kidney disease.

Your cells use a proton pump to produce acid. PPI medications are designed to inhibit the proton pump and reduce the amount of acid produced. This class of drug is not a precision tool, and inhibits any cell with a proton pump producing acid, whether those cells are in your stomach or not. This may be the smoking gun that explains why your risk of death from any cause increases 25 percent when taking PPIs at prescription strength when compared to a rival class of stomach acid reducing drugs: histamine H2 receptor antagonists. 

PPIs and H2 antagonists epitomize the intrusive allopathic approach to medical treatment. Treating heartburn by reducing stomach acid is extremely reductionist and only addresses a single symptom rather than the underlying cause. Both classes of drug undermine your health because the production of acid in your cells is associated with a specific cleanup process. The cells use acid to clean out end products and garbage from metabolism and cell function. When the acid is not present, there is a buildup of these toxins in the cells, which may lead to the development of a variety of significant health conditions.

Excess stomach acid is not usually the root cause of heartburn and the opposite is often the case. Low amounts of stomach acid and the subsequent overgrowth of bacteria change the digestion of carbohydrates, producing gas. The gas increases the pressure on the LES, releasing acid into the esophagus, creating heartburn.

PPIs affect all cells in your body, which may explain why they have been linked to such deadly conditions as kidney disease, heart attacks and dementia. The good news is that there are natural alternatives to dangerous PPIs and other conventional heartburn treatments. It might seem counterintuitive to add acid to an acidic environment, but as you've already discovered, many cases of heartburn are triggered by low acid production. One strategy is to take 3 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 6 to 8 ounces of fresh water before each meal. For a list of other alternatives that can help promote acid production, please see my previous article, "15 Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Acid Reflux."
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