This “Tummy Trouble” Pill Can Kill

Dear Reader,

I swear, the way Big Pharma operates is like an episode of “Let’s Make a Deal.”

They’re always asking you to trade one health problem for another.

Only, with this game, you might not even realize you’re playing until it’s too late.

Case in point? Those heartburn meds you see advertised on TV around the clock.

The 15 MILLION people taking proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers to treat heartburn and acid reflux are placing themselves at risk every single day.

These drugs represent some of the biggest names in OTC and prescription drugs—names like Prilosec, Nexium, and Zantac, to name a few. The fact that they’ve become household names makes most people assume they’re safe.

The science says otherwise.

According to a recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine that included over 7,700 patients, 22% of patients taking acid-suppressing drugs had recurrent infections with C. difficile, a potentially deadly type of bacteria.

The lucky ones who are infected with C. diff only experience mild diarrhea and cramping. The not-so-lucky are faced with severe diarrhea, fever, kidney failure, and life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

Once you’ve been infected with C. difficile, your chances of getting it again skyrocket.

And do you know who’s most at-risk? You guessed it—older adults!

But increased risk of C. difficile infection only scratches the surface of the dangers of these drugs. They’ve also been linked to muscle weakness, nutrient deficiencies, and an increased risk of food poisoning—not to mention pneumonia and kidney disease.

I have just one word for those findings: DUH!

Stomach acid may be painted as the enemy, but that’s a myth the pharmaceutical industry has been selling ever since they developed drugs that worked to suppress stomach acid. The truth is, your body NEEDS stomach acid to help digest food and to help protect against any pathogens that are ingested.

Reducing this important ally to good health is like taking away your stomach’s defensive line and then wondering why your opponent keeps scoring touchdowns.

No mystery there. By reducing stomach acid, you’re intentionally making yourself more vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies and infection—including infection with C. difficile.

“What’s the big deal?” you might be wondering. “If I contract an infection, I can just take an antibiotic.”

Not so fast.

The use of antibiotics has lulled people into a false sense of security where infections are concerned, and we’re all about to be in for a rude awakening. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics have given rise to what have come to be called “antibiotic-resistant superbugs.”

Earlier this year a woman had an infection that was resistant to ALL 26 antibiotics available in the U.S. She died.

I’m sorry to say her case isn’t unusual. More than 700,000 people die every year from drug-resistant infections.

With drug-resistant superbugs on the rise, we should be increasing our body’s defenses against dangerous infections—yet with drugs like proton pump inhibitors, we’re doing just the opposite.

Quitting PPIs is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health. But don’t do it cold turkey, or you can make the problem worse — work with your doctor on a plan to taper off.

To a brighter day,

Dr. Richard Gerhauser, M.D.