The Dangers of Proton Pump Inhibitors | Chris Kresser
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The Dangers of Proton Pump Inhibitors

by Chris Kresser

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Prilosec
istock.com/Roel Smart

Proton pump inhibitors rank among the top 10 prescribed classes of drugs and are commonly used to treat acid reflux, indigestion, and peptic ulcers. Although generally assumed to be safe, recent studies have shown that they have numerous side effects, from an altered gut environment and impaired nutrient absorption to an increased risk for cardiovascular events, kidney disease, and dementia.  

PPIs have become one of the most commonly prescribed classes of drugs in the industrialized world, despite increasingly frequent warnings by researchers about potential risks and complications.

A 2010 study found that of 946 patients receiving PPI therapy in a hospital setting, only 35 percent were prescribed PPIs for an appropriate upper GI diagnosis (1). In 2014, Americans filled more than 170 million prescriptions for acid blockers, falling only behind statins in total cost expenditure worldwide (2). PPIs are the most common of the acid blockers. They go by a variety of names but typically end in the suffix “-prazole” (omeprazole, pantoprazole, esomeprazole, etc.).

The purpose of this article is to provide an update to these earlier articles on heartburn and antacids, focusing on a number of scientific studies published in just the last few years. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these previous blog posts.

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The Many Roles of Proton Pumps in the Body

Before we get into the potential harmful effects associated with PPIs, it’s important to understand what they do in the body.

PPIs are inhibitors of proton pumps, specifically the proton/potassium pump of parietal cells in the stomach. The theory is that heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are caused by excess production of stomach acid by these cells, so inhibiting this proton pump will reduce the acidity of the stomach and prevent the burning sensation of acid reflux or the formation of peptic ulcers.

But proton pumps aren’t limited to the stomach; they are present in just about every cell in your body. All of your cells, with the exception of red blood cells, have mitochondria that allow your body to metabolize carbohydrates and fat to produce energy. They do this by pumping protons across the membrane to generate a source of electric potential that can be harnessed to form ATP, the body’s main storage form of energy. Without an efficient proton-pumping system, the body must rely on anaerobic systems for energy production, leading to rapid fatigue.

Proton pumps are also important in the transport of various substances in the body, as we will see in detail in later sections. And while proton pump inhibitors are designed to interact specifically with the hydrogen/potassium pump in parietal cells of the stomach, research suggests that they likely have nonspecific binding capabilities (3). In other words, their chemical structure enables them to bind to other proton pumps as well. Though PPIs don’t stay in the blood for very long, their binding to proton pumps is essentially irreversible—they will continue to inhibit the proton pump until the master antioxidant glutathione is able to facilitate dissociation (4).

PPIs can harm your heart, brain, kidneys, and gut. There are other alternatives.

PPIs Alter the Gut

The composition of microbes that inhabit your gut is incredibly sensitive to changes in the local environment. pH, a measure of the acidity of an environment, is an important facet of gut health and a particularly potent regulator of microbial communities (5). PPI use reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach, and ultimately the amount of stomach acid that reaches the gut. This causes a significant shift in the pH of the intestines.

Indeed, several recent studies have shown that PPI alters the gut microbiota by reducing its overall diversity (6,7). Opportunistic pathogens, including Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and E. coli, tended to be more prevalent in the guts of PPI users.

As stomach pH becomes less acidic, many ingested microorganisms that would normally be destroyed are able to make their way into the gut (8). Imhann and colleagues found that oral bacteria, such as the genus Rothia, were over-represented in the gut microbiota of PPI users (7). Those who used acid blockers also had an increased chance of acquiring Clostridium difficile, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria, and community-acquired pneumonia than those using other medications (9,10).

A 2013 study also found a significantly increased percentage of individuals with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) among PPI users (11). Together, these studies point to the vital importance of sufficient stomach acid for protecting against bacterial influx into the GI tract and maintaining an intestinal pH that supports GI health.

PPIs Impair Nutrient Absorption

Another consequence of long-term PPI use is impaired nutrient absorption, which I discussed extensively in a previous article. Stomach acid is essential for the absorption of many macro- and micronutrients. PPI users have been shown to have an increased risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and magnesium (12,13). Achlorhydria (a lack of stomach acid) and atrophic gastritis (stomach inflammation) allow for the overgrowth of bacteria, which compete with the host for consumption of micronutrients like vitamin B12 (14).

These micronutrients are particularly important for bone health. Studies have found an association between PPI use and total bone fractures in the elderly (15). While the association was modest, the findings were significant enough that the FDA felt it necessary to issue a news release in 2010 warning of the possible increased fracture risk (16). Since then, a more recent study has shown a similar association in young adult PPI users (17).

The effects of PPIs on bone health may be more nuanced than simply causing nutrient deficiency. Osteoclasts, the bone cells responsible for the resorption of calcium, also possess proton pumps, and their activity is thought to be directly affected by PPIs (18,19).

PPIs Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Events

Several recent studies have also shed light on PPIs and the cardiovascular system. PPI users have been shown to have a significantly greater risk of heart attack than those on other antacid medication (20, 21). PPIs also reduce production of nitric oxide, a natural substance that promotes the dilation of blood vessels and improves blood flow (22).

PPIs may also damage blood vessel cells, as shown by a study published in May 2016. When researchers exposed cultured human blood vessel endothelial cells to esomeprazole, the cells seemed to age much more quickly, losing their ability to split into new cells. PPIs, which are designed to work especially well in acidic environments, seemed to inhibit an acidic compartment of the cell called the lysosome, which can be thought of as the cell’s “garbage disposal.” Without the ability to break down old proteins and other waste products of metabolism in lysosomes, “garbage” built up in the cells and inhibited their function (23).

PPIs Harm the Kidneys

The kidneys are also affected by PPIs. A study published in 2016 compared patients using PPIs to patients using H2 blockers, another common antacid drug. They showed that over the course of five years, those in the PPI group were 28 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease and 96 percent more likely to develop end-stage renal disease (24).

While the mechanism by which this occurs is unclear, we do know that proton pumps are present in the intercalated cells of the kidney. These proton pumps are responsible for moving protons into the urine, creating a gradient that allows for bicarbonate reabsorption into the blood (25). Bicarbonate is vitally important to maintaining proper blood pH.

PPIs Negatively Affect Cognitive Function

PPIs also impair cognitive function. A 2016 study found that regular PPI users had a 44 percent increased risk of dementia compared with those not using the drugs (26).

A different study published in 2015 that assessed cognitive function in PPI users versus controls found statistically significant impairment in visual memory, attention, executive function, and working and planning function among PPI users (27).

Several commonly prescribed PPIs, such as lansoprazole and omeprazole, have been reported to cross the blood-brain barrier. In mice, PPIs were observed to affect β- and γ-secretase enzymes, resulting in increased levels of amyloid β, a protein fragment that forms the plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (28).

Furthermore, communication between brain cells requires the action of proton pumps. Simplistically, neuron cells contain small vesicles, or pockets, of neurotransmitters. When a neuron is stimulated, the vesicle releases these neurotransmitters into the synaptic space, where they can then interact with receptors on other nearby neurons, transmitting the signal down the line. The neurotransmitters must then be taken back up by the neuron so that they can be released again in response to the next stimulus. The energy required for this reuptake process is driven by proton pumps (29). If PPIs bind to these proton pumps, cognitive abilities would certainly be impaired.

PPI Withdrawal Can Lead to Rebound Reflux

Your body is acutely sensitive changes in your physiology and is constantly trying to maintain a stable equilibrium, often termed homeostasis. In the case of PPIs, when it senses reduced stomach acid production, your body produces the hormone gastrin to try to compensate. Gastrin normally stimulates gastric (stomach) acid production.

Excess gastrin has in turn been shown to lead to an expansion of enterochromaffin-like cells (ECLs) (30). ECLs are found in the mucosa of the stomach in close proximity to parietal cells. A greater number of ECLs results in a greater amount of ECL hormones released that can interact with parietal cells. Parietal cells, as you may recall, are the cells responsible for stomach acid production via proton pumps. These parietal cells undergo hypertrophy, or an expansion in the size of each cell (31).

Larger parietal cells have more proton pumps and can produce larger amounts of stomach acid. This is termed “rebound hypersecretion,” or an overproduction of stomach acid after taking PPIs (32). This is why getting off PPI therapy is so difficult, because long-term use fundamentally changes the physiology of stomach cells. It also points to yet another instance where simply treating the symptoms of a condition fails to recognize and treat the underlying root cause.

Luckily, parietal cells are constantly undergoing renewal, with an average lifespan of only 54 days (33). So just because you took PPIs does not necessarily mean you are destined to rebound hypersecretion forever, as after a few months your stomach cells should have largely turned over. However, the repair mechanisms after PPI discontinuation have not been widely studied, and it is entirely possible that there are lasting effects.

Alternatives to PPIs

Collectively, these and many other studies suggest that PPIs are not as safe as they are made out to be. Frankly, it’s bordering on criminal that the FDA continues to allow these drugs to be prescribed as frequently as they are, and for durations of years or even decades in some cases, given the overwhelmingly large body of evidence documenting the potential harms associated with long-term PPI use.

If you’re convinced you should avoid PPIs, there are some alternatives (see my previous article for a more detailed discussion of these). Always consult with your medical practitioner before discontinuing the use of PPIs and be sure to reduce your dose gradually to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.

  1. Eat a low-carb Paleo diet
    Malabsorption of carbohydrates can lead to bacterial overgrowth, resulting in the bloating and increased abdominal pressure that drives acid reflux.
  2. Resolve low stomach acid and treat bacterial overgrowth
    Contrary to conventional wisdom, acid reflux is often due to too little stomach acid, which results in bacterial overgrowth.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you taken PPIs? Did you know about the long-term dangers? Did you notice improvement in your acid reflux by switching to a Paleo diet or reducing your carbohydrate intake? Share your experience in the comments section!

445 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. My MD said i have to take PPI’s because i was diagnosed with Barretts esophageal. He said i need to do this for my life. How do i know what is correct? I do not want esophageal cancer. My lower esophageal sphincter does not close completely. I take 40 mg daily but have noticed lately some memory impairment. I cut back to 20 daily and had the worst heartburn.

  2. I have been taking protonix for 25 years , have many health problems heart, arthritis ,diabetes . How can I wean myself from this drug , please help !

  3. Hi,
    I totally agree with reducing carbs in the diet, but has anybody tried probiotics? I was diagnosed with acid reflux in 2011 and have been taking PPI ever since. It has been effective and I have been trying to take them only when needed and not every day. However, I not only get reflux but regular abdominal bloating and occasional pain.
    I have been reading articles that link PPI to a change in gut flora and that this is more likely to cause and/or exacerbate intestinal ulcers. Probiotics might restore the balance of microbes in your gut.

  4. Thought to have reflux, our daughter at the age of almost 7 was prescribed 15 mg Previcid per day for 3 months. A few days shy of this duration I stopped giving it to her because she seemed to be getting worse throughout. The same day I put her on probiotics (not even knowing at the time what a good idea this was.) Of course, it was 2 more years of torture before we found out that we were all gluten intolerant and her problem turned out to be too little acid instead of too much acid! Now that I have read that line in this article: “Though PPIs don’t stay in the blood for very long, their binding to the proton pumps is essentially irreversible –they will continue to inhibit the proton pump until the master antioxidant glutithione is able to facilitate dissociation,” I need to know what affect this may still have on her now years later at the age of 16. As we have all been stringently gluten free for almost 7 years and had good natural supplements along with a strict anti-inflammatory diet in the beginning months to heal our digestive systems, I would like to know whether you think our daughter could be having adverse affects even now due to the Previcid.

  5. Anyone taking these drugs should look for an alternative urgently

    My husband had a massive ulcer burst in 2012 – He was prescribed Omaprezole

    From a happy go lucky, comical, nothing ever got to him type of person, he changed to having severe paranoia and horrible thoughts, so bad that for a whole year he wouldn’t leave the house and we couldn’t leave him on his own.

    I watched him almost cry in pain with leg pain and back pain, stomach polyps , rashes etc. He went for tests but at no time did his GP suggest that he should stop taking Omaprezole to check whether these could be the cause

    He was not monitored by his GP. On the few occasions I managed to stop him taking them, he went back on them because the acid reflux was so bad. Little did we know that the Omaprezole was very likely making it worse.

    He raised the question of the Omaprezole with his GP on a couple of occasions but was told to continue taking them.

    He is no longer here due to paranoid thoughts going around his head and he took his own life.

    We had no reason to believe these pills could cause such bad effects but having read more and more into it, the comments various people have made whilst taking these pills, has made me realise that the effects on him over the last 6 years have been down to these killer pills.

    I knew him well – I had lived with him for 32 years before these horrible events started happening and could not believe what was happening to him.

    Although I tried and tried to get him off them, I now have to live with the regret of not doing more research on these killer pills than I did and not taking them away, making him look for alternatives . If I had, he would still be here.

    So anyone who is taking them, please seek an alternative urgently.

  6. For anyone taking these drugs, I urge you to find an alternative. I can’t go into detail but my husband was prescribed these 7 years ago. He changed from a happy go lucky jolly person to almost crying in pain with crippling arthritis, severe anxiety and psychotic thoughts. He should have been regularly more informed by his doctor but he wasn’t -when he asked whether they could be affecting him he was told to carry on taking them . His acid reflux was getting worse, he could hardly walk some days with the pains in his knees and back, the slightest problem caused him severe anxiety. He was a different person. He is no longer with me and nothing will ever convince me that if he had come off these killer drugs years ago, I would still have him here with me. It is criminal that these drugs are still being prescribe so I would urge anyone who is taking these to find an alternative without delay

  7. Hi, I was prescribed Pantoprazole 40mg for non-existent heartburn and without any physical examination by a nurse practitioner based on a hunch. After 21 days I stopped the meds on Feb.16 when I found out what this medication does and the potency of it. About 2 weeks after stopping the PPI I developed a terrible rash in my face that lastet until the end of March when I finaly saw some improvement.The rash looked like acne pimples but they were itchy at times and my cheeks were lightly swollen. My skin felt tight and it was slightly giving me a burning sensation. The rash also gave me a very painful infection on my lower eye lid, which also infected the skin direct under my eye.

      • Yes. Absolutely. I am also allergic to penicillin, which also gives me a rash in my face; although not as bad as PPI did. Through my research on German websites I found out that PPIs are not first processed in the stomach but in the small intestines. From there they go into the blood stream and then attach themselves on the proton pumps in the stomach to reduce acid production. The PPI studies were done on volunteers in a university in Norway and Denmark.

  8. Hi, I was diagnosed with GERD early this year. Before that have been treated for heart burns and H.pylori 8 times last years. I was put on Nexium 40mg everyday and now am feeling weak, headaches, diarrhea, i have had severe sore throat twice, persistent dry coughs at night in a span of two months since i started taking the medications. I have consulted the doctors on this but suggested i should continue taking the medication. I came across your article online kindly i need help. Thanks

  9. Hi, my nurse practitioner prescribed Pantoprazole magnesium 40mg because I was complaining about stomach pain, a horrible taste in my mouth and a chest cough. I was fighting the flu and I was coughing a lot. Luckily I only took this med 21 days when I found out what it does. I also researched articles about excess and low stomach acid and the symptoms were mostly all identical. I stopped taking the med as I could not get rid of my cough and constantly had to clear my throat. One day after I stopped the meds things slowly started to improve and after 4 days my cough was almost gone. I had no appetite while on the meds but this also drastically improved on the 4th day. My body is mostly alkaline so I found it odd that I would produce excess stomach acid. I now take 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar in a little water before bigger meals and digestive enzymes. I also watch what I eat and when I eat it. I start to feel much better after the meals. However, my digestive system still adjusts to get rid of the PPI meds and bring everything back into balance. Never again PPIs!

  10. I have weaned myself of PPI’s and cannot believe the difference in my health! I was so ill I believed I was slowly dying. Now that my gut is getting back to an acid environmet my gut can heal and all the nasties are being got rid of slowly but surely. I cannot tell you in a short post how my diet has improved and increased so getting nourished again and feeling so much healthier, putting on weight, sleeping better, more energy and even my emotional health is improving. I am on absolutely ZERO medications now – even off my bp meds now. (My bp was always sky high on ppi’s.) I am now working on building up my health again with natural supplements and of course very, very good delicious foods! OH I CAN EAT AGAIN!!!

    • Did you stop cold turkey? I have been on pips for six months and my knees hurt so bad I can hardly walk. I am down to one 20 mg per 48 hrs. My heartburn comes back at that time.

  11. I just started taking these this week and after reading this article and comments think I should stop . Felt nauseous and shaky all day .

    • Karen, if you start you will be in a vicious downward spiral and cycle and will think you cannot come off them. The reason being that when you try to stop it gets far far worse with rebound. Most people who try to stop fall into this trap and so just stay on them thinking they need them for life. There is loads of info out there on the dangers of ppis these days, Chris’s article being one of the most informative and easy to read. I also found stuff on youtube. I came off one granule (in capsule) at a time after trying umpteen times. I got that help from someone struggling with the same situation on youtube. None of the doctors I visited (and I visited many in desperation) was able to help me wean off ppi’s. ALL my help has come from the internet so you will not get the best advice from the allopathic world!

      • Karen silly people don’t tell you a cure, fresh cabbage and apple juice juice fresh ly made at home, red cabbage as well, kills stomach bugs and neutralises stomach acid on your rebound. Also take coconut oil a spoon morning afternoon evening as it’s a antibacterial and reduces inflammation

  12. Iv been Prescribed Esomeprazole for 15 years and have tried many times to stop taking them. The rebound is unbearable at times and I always have to go back to them for relief. Im currently trying to stop again after reducing my dose down to 20mg a day for a month I then switched to 20mg every 2 days for 3 weeks and now have just stopped taking them all together. Its very uncomfortable and rebound is unbearable at times, Iv nearly given in to it again but with the help of ranitidine and traditional antacids Im hopeful I will stay PPI free this time (although it is very hard). I will say this, I stopped taking them for 3 months the last time I gave up and the Rebound although reduced was still terrible after this time, although that time I just went cold turkey. I cant believe how these drugs are prescribed so freely and can be bought over the counter and even in the supermarkets here in the UK. These drugs cause a serious dependency and as stated it is bordering on criminal that this is allowed to go on.

    • Scott see my reply to Karen re how I weaned off ppi’s after countless failures. I failed to mention I was already off all grains, sugars and dairy (plus any foods you may be very sensitive to) due to the fact they cause inflammation for me and therefore will not help the situation). Because PPI’s have caused such an imbalance of bad/good bacteria in the gut there is no way a traditional diet can be followed till at least the gut is healed. I actually had to do years of research for myself because there was just no help out there. (I live in South Africa). I also take supplements because PPI’s have made us deficient in so many, including magnesium, so important for peristaltis. HCL (I took it slowly!) is important too. I cant do vinegars currently so I dont do the Apple Cider Vinegar which many people do. You HAVE to find out your triggers and what is particular to your own case. There is no one size fits all unfortunately. I totally agree with you its criminal that doctors just dish out this stuff. In fact mine started in the UK when I went to a dr. for very painful back and she prescribed iboprufen. I told her I cant take it as it upsets my stomach. Her reply was “well then I cant help you”!!!! Stupid me in desperation decided to take a few – thats where my problems started – 2011 – and just managed to get off ppi’s a few months ago. Recently, over the Christmas period I went a little mad with the wrong foods and within a few days I started the same acid symptoms. I could very well have gone back to ppi’s thinking I cant live without them, or that it was rebound, but it is not, its the wrong foods. I am still in the process of healing my gut so cannot eat those foods that cause inflammation in me.

      • I weaned myself off ppi it took 9 months i opened the capsules and removed one tablet at a time.about every three weeks .iused gavascon on any bad days of reflux.know the doctors have meon zantac but. i ve been having kidney problems amnd other side effects

  13. Hello. Posted in July about getting off PPI. I was on them for about 6 days. Pretty sure they get rid of the lump in my throat feeling. So stopped taking those and started ACV but I still have the burps. It’s been about two months. I’m not sure how I can stop this. Some days it’s better than others. Also a diet change is probably not something I can do at the moment because I’m bordering on being underweight due to weight loss from my panic attacks. (refer to my post in July). I feel like I have no reflux just the burps or gas. And also my nose is stuffy a lot of the times especially at night. Not sure if this is related. Would love to hear any advice to stop the burping.

    • What you are describing sounds like you were diagnosed with LARYNGOPHARYNGEAL REFLUX DISEASE (LPR).
      If that’s what it is, then you should NOT be drinking ACV or anything else that has a moderate to high acidic value that will continue to damage tissues in your throat caused by acid and pepsin that made it passed the upper esophageal valve.
      Please consult your ENT doctor about this to avoid further damage if this is what you have.

      • thanks for the heads up but no they didn’t really diagnose me with anything he just thought i had reflux. no tests were done. main things i’m still getting is feeling sick after eating and burping after drinking anything. the lump in the throat feeling is long gone, that only lasted shortly after a bad panic attack. i’m not sure what happened but my body hasn’t recovered from it I still burp after anything I digest and my heartbeat is very noticeable when laying down. I don’t feel like there’s any damage done to my throat I can still sing and talk as good as i used to but i don’t feel as good. i’m not sure what it is but it’s not healing.

        • and btw i’ve gained back all of my weight. it isn’t the worst thing in the world but it is a bi*** to deal with especially at night trying to sleep.

        • I had a lot of burping and also very noticeable heartbeat when resting. Turned out i had a 95% blockage of the LAD. Had a double bypass and both symptoms went away. Do you have any other symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain of any level( mine wasnt bad at all)?

    • Sonic, sorry you HAVE to change your diet even if you are underweight. The stuffy nose is a sure sign you are eating something you should not be eating which means your gut cannot heal whilst you are eating the wrong foods. The most common triggers are grains, dairy (unfortunately) and sugars. I too lost loads of weight but I am putting on again now that I have managed to get off the ppi’s. My gut was in such bad shape I couldnt even eat raw veggies but I have been able to re introduce them recently – so my food choices are increasing as my gut is healing. You may even find that after staying off certain foods for some time ( NOT a few weeks, much longer!) you will no longer have sensitivities to certain foods. Diet change is imperative for healing of the gut. Sorry if that is bad news, I know I didnt want to hear it! Took me a long time to accept it!

      • Yeah i’m thinking of doing a fast where I only eat vegetable broth for a day on one of my off days. actually i’ve been feeling a bit better since i commented last. drinking more water is helping with the heartbeat thing at night. and the burping has gone down some.

  14. I’ve been taking Dexilent for several years now. But recently have heard of the negative effects from taking it. While on vacation I was so busy I stopped taking it. When we got home I started up again and the acid reflux was bad! I felt like it was worse after taking it. So I just stopped using it. Now I feel like I have constant heartburn. Any suggestions as to what I should do? Should I go back on the Dexilent and slowly go off? Or should I just stay off? Should I take probiotics for my stomach flora? Are there any alternatives that I can use to calm down the reflux?

    • Go back on the PPI. Then, slowly wean yourself off by taking it every other day and then every third day. Then I would go on one of the H2 blockers like Zantac.

    • I weaned off exactly like Jeff said but not everyone can do it that way. If it doesn’t work, take the Zantac the days you don’t take the PPI. You can also check out something called Enterade, which I’m drinking now twice a day and they give it to patients with cancer because their stomachs get all messed up because of the chemotherapy. In my case my doctor recommended it because of my gastritis. It has aminoacids but what I don’t like is that each bottle has about 230 mg of sodium. It’s about $5 per bottle and you can only buy it online. For now I’m getting it for free from my doctor.

  15. I very concerned about my 86yr old Mother in Law. She has been taking Lanzaprozol for many years over the last 18 months she has become very tired all the time she can sleep most of the day away. She says she has no energy. In recent months I have noticed a deterioration in her short term memory. She is also very pale. She does suffer from depression and although on antidepressants they don’t seem to be helping her.
    I realise that she isn’t getting any younger but in 18 months she has gone from being mobile, independent, and mentally aware to a very old old lady who shuffles about in her dressing gown all day. Could taking PPI’s be causing any or all of these symptoms?

    • Have them check her B12 levels! I took Prilosec for years and now have Pernicious Anemia (B12 deficiency) and had many of the same symptoms.

    • Ive been taking Prilosec 22yrs but in the past few yrs have become allaergic to dairy and gluten and have gallbladder polyps and fatty liver, I want to stop the Losec (UK) but everytime I taper I get this rebound acid reflux, probably cause of hiatal hernia which would keep the LES weak, I do keep trying to taper every so often and got down to almost zero but after a few weeks weird swallowing problems like a piece of bread felt like I’d just swallowed a brick got me back onto 20mg of Losec, have to lose weight and try again.

  16. I have been on Prevacid for GERD due to a hiatal hernia (found via scope) for 15 years. At some point, maybe ten years ago, when it was available OTC and my insurance would no longer pay for it, I realized the 15mg dose was all I needed. I have been feeling generally good and it has controlled my acid reflux very well. However, these recent studies have terrified me, and I am now trying to come off them. My doctor told me to taper off by taking one tablet every two days, then every three days. I did that, and have now been off them for almost a week, and this is my worst day by far. I have been taking 150mg Zantac up to twice a day to try to calm the acid, and started ACV this morning, but the acid reflux, nausea and cramping is bad. I don’t want to give up though, but don’t know how long these symptoms will last. I’m thinking of taking the Zantac 150mg morning and night just to get through the next few weeks (54 days or whatever I need to), since I figure it’s better than being on the Prevacid (have read these are much safer), and then I’ll try tapering off the Zantac. My diet is much better than it was when I started this med, so I was hoping I’d be spared this, but here we are.

    Has anyone gone through this and succeeded? I’m feeling pretty hopeless right now. Don’t know how I’m going to get through the workday feeling so nauseated and with the acid burning up to my ears. I forgot what that felt like – when the acid was so bad you could feel it in your ears.

    • Aaron I know how you feel mate, I think the proton pumps awakening and the acid rebound could last up to 90days, what I did when I reduced (prilosec 20mg 22yrs) was take out a few beads in the capsule (10%) then 50% and down to zero and anticipated the burn so I took DGL at night, slippery elm chamomile, aloe vera, flax seeds in hot water, silicon solution etc but it didnt do much, the burn still came and problems swallowing was the alert that I needed to go back onto prilosec, I need to try again soon.
      With Hiatal Hernia I realise i have to lose weight, my ideal weight is 73kg but Ive been around 105kg mark for 20yrs and so possibly shedding that weight will help the hernia to go down, so possibly in your case weightloss may help if you are overweight or have a big belly as this may push up on the LES. also I put an apple or ball on the LES area and roll it down (hurts a bit) and massage the hernia area down, try to do all the hernia healthy things like avoid lifting heavy objects, avoid constipation (straining), cardio is better than weights cause of the straining effect, although targetting the abs may be a great idea (yoga, light ab work), good posture all day, wearing braces as opposed to belt etc. Keep in touch let me know how you get on, I will do my next taper soon.

  17. I had been taking PPIs for about for 5 years. Was finally able to get off them in Feb 2016. Since then I have been taking MVI, magensium, calcium, b12. I was feeling good for a little while but for the past year or so, I have been struggling with some brain fog as well as muscle/joint stiffness/weakness. I was wondering if anyone on this board had some thoughts. Could it be that the chronic PPI use has altered the way my GI processes wheat and that I am now gluten sensitive?

      • Rhodiola in the beginning of the day for your brain. And Ashwagandha at night. Muscle joint weakness – perhaps not enough amino acids? I love Dr. Axe’s collagen powder, that helped. (Seemed I had more energy) Plus going to the gym more often helped. If not enough time, more walking seems to help along with standing still and doing side punches (keeps my back more stretched out!)

    • Hi, I can’t say weather the cause of your symptoms are the ppi’s but what you are describing to me sounds like gluten sensitivity. Have you triend cutting gluten from your diet? I have the exact same symptoms when I eat gluten. You will notice a difference within a few days of cutting the gluten; that is to say if the gluten is what’s causing it.

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