A note on Heartburn medications (eg Nexium, somac, pariet, losec etc).

Many of my clients are taking these medications long term without knowing the downside of them. The reason people take them is usually to reduce/relieve acid reflux/indigestion and usually they do this very well, so where is the problem?

Did you know that acid reflux is normally caused by low acid, not too much acid? These medications are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and they reduce how much stomach acid you make. If you are already low in stomach acid, this is not a good long term solution! You need stomach acid to break down protein, otherwise you can’t make important structures and messengers in the body eg: neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine (that make you happy and motivated). Long term use of these medications can lead to nutrient deficiencies.stomach-acid

It is also important to note that many nasty microorganisms have their growth inhibited by the acidic environment of the stomach, which helps to prevent infection in the small intestine and colon. Taking PPIs increases your risk of bacterial infection and this can also cause many mood and health issues.

PPIs can be useful short term and can be useful in structural issues such as ulcers but if you don’t have any of those issues, you can treat your acid reflux naturally. Stop eating the foods that drive it in the first place, this can definitely be a sign that you are sensitive to certain foods! Learn how to manage your stress. You may also need to take digestive enzymes or stomach healing nutrients for a while. Apple Cider Vinegar can be really useful, start by taking 1 tsp in a glass of room temperature water before meals.

Medications can be really useful but sometimes long term use can do more harm than good. This is something you need to weigh up for yourself and discuss with your doctor. Often if you suddenly stop PPIs the symptoms get worse, so it really is important to have a natural therapist like the Nutritionists at Informed Health to help ease you off them with healing nutrients rather than going it alone. Remember it’s your body and your choice, be medicine wise, understand what you are taking and why. Talk to your doctor about risk vs reward and make an informed choice.

I have written more about reflux and indigestion: here and here

You can book an online appointment with one of our Nutritionists who can help you book online.

Fiona Kane is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Holistic Counsellor, Transformational Life Coach, Professional Speaker, Podcaster and writer on Health and Nutrition and the founder of Informed Health Pty Ltd, holding an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine, Diploma in Holistic Counselling and Life Care and Certificate in Transformational Life Coaching. Fiona is registered and accredited with Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS), Australia’s largest professional association of complementary medicine practitioners. Fiona has been in practice for over 11 years.