Are you among the 50% of Americans who suffer from acid reflux (aka gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or peptic ulcer disease)? If so, chances are you’ve taken a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) like Prilosec to put an end to the heartburn, wheezing, and tightness in your throat. These drugs act like Band-aids to soothe gastrointestinal upset, but a recent study links long-term use of PPIs to vitamin B12 deficiency…a condition with serious consequences that outweigh any perceived benefit.
How Conventional Wisdom Has Lead Us Astray
Conventional wisdom attributes acid reflux to excessive stomach acid and prescribes PPIs to reduce the amount of gastric acid in the stomach. PPIs are designed to suppress the stomach acid that kills helicobacteria, and in doing so they actually perpetuate and worsen acid reflux.
This protocol is ineffective, as reported in over 16,000 articles in medical journals, and has no effect on the most common cause of GERD—hiatal hernia. Food passes through your stomach and into a muscular valve called the lower espophageal sphincter (LES), which closes so that the food and acid can’t travel back up into the esophagus. When the LES malfunctions, stomach acid leaks out of your stomach (where it’s supposed to be) and backward into the esophagus. Heartburn anyone?
The Link Between PPIs and Vitamin B12 deficiency
According to results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who took a PPI—like Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium—for over two years had a 65% increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Spanning 13 years, this Kaiser Permanente case-control study analyzed 25,956 patients with vitamin B12 deficiency and 184,199 patients with healthy levels of vitamin B12. Using electronic pharmacy, laboratory, and diagnostic databases, researchers concluded that the higher the dosage of PPI, the greater the risk! Senior researcher Dr. Douglas Corley explains:
“These types of antacids can cause a deficiency in vitamin B12 because the same cell that makes stomach acid also makes a little protein that helps vitamin B12 be absorbed.”
When vitamin B12 levels are low, you experience shifts in mood and a pronounced lack of motivation. Memory and mental acuity suffer, muscles feel weak, and a general state of fatigue follows you. These symptoms grow more serious as deficiency worsens. Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to:
- Psychiatric problems
- Irreversible nerve damage
Control Your Acid Reflux
Ditch the PPIs and manage your acid reflux the natural way. Add fermented foods to your diet and supplement with probiotics to build beneficial bacteria in your gut and stabilize gastric balance and function. You can also treat GERD with aloe vera juice, which is rich in immune-strengthening polysaccharides.