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Negatives of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors reduce the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and are therefore used to treat heartburn and reflux.  It turns out that many people are on them for long periods of time (years in many cases), probably because when they try to go off of them, symptoms return.  Getting at the underlying cause will be the only solution to this problem.  All antacids have side effects, and they primarily relate to the consequences of lowering acid production in the stomach.  New research at the Mayo Clinic shows that proton pump inhibitors decrease diversity in the gut microbiome, which means they have a negative impact on our gut flora.  This increases the risk of infections, such as C. Diff and also lung infections.  Other side effects of PPI's include bone loss and nutritional deficiencies (such as vitamin B12 deficiency, which then increases the risk of dementia).  Some examples of possible underlying causes of heartburn/reflux might include diet, stress, bacteria, and subtle functional weakness in areas like the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.
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