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The Dangers of Proton Pump Inhibitors

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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.  

proton pump inhibitors
Prilosec and other protein pump inhibitors reduce the acidity of the stomach, but not without side effects. istock.com/Roel Smart

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).

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) can harm your heart, brain, kidneys, and gut. There are other alternatives. #PPIs

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.

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445 Comments

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  1. This information is really helpful. I had chest pain last August and it ended up being a 95% blockage in my right coronary artery which was fixed with a stent. Following that I was put on a platelet inhibitor (I have to take that for one year) a statin for high cholesterol, 81 mg aspirin and two BP meds–one a beta blocker (really small dose) and the other a calcium channel blocker. I also take calcium for my osteopenia and fish oil and coq10. Oh, and Enbrel (a biologic injection once a week) for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
    When I was put in the meds for my heart, I was also told to take a PPI for one month–I guess to reduce stomach problems from the Plavix or the statin? I stopped the PPI after a month, but noticed stomach pain and a lot of pressure in my chest so doc told to restart the PPI for a month. Did that and since then I’ve had increasing pain and pressure in my chest. So much so that I thought I was having a heart attack two week s ago and ended up in the ER. A stress test showed negative for heart blockage and doctor told me to start up the PPI AGAIN! So, I’ve been taking it for almost two weeks and the pressure in my chest just keeps getting worse. Now that I have the info you’ve provided I’m concerned that the PPI is causing this problem. I would like to stop taking it and eat the kinds of food that are helpful in relieving or eliminating this pain. I’m sure my doctor is going to want to do an upper GI to see what’s going on, but I’m really afraid of swallowing that camera. I did it once years ago and it was horrible. Can you give me info on diet or natural remedies for my stomach/esophagus problems? Thanks!

  2. How do I “resolve low stomach acid” I read something about adding the acid back into my system but with what?

  3. I cannot take PPIs
    I get hives and intolerable itching everywhere . The doc insisted I try twice ……I cannot take the PPIs.
    I have gastritis and esophagitis.
    I had stomach ulcers which are healed with zinc carbonate slippery elm alo marshmallow and DGL and so I ate cookies bread chocolate drank coffee everyday and had to have endoscopy to see what was going on because of the pain
    But the last endoscopy showed gastritis and esophagitis which has actually been almost as bad as the ulcers
    Awful pain under breastbone stabbing pain and then waves of pain , bone itself is very sore , lots of palpitations which I am convinced are caused by the acid which comes up my gullet into my mouth I can’t eat anything with white flour, eggs, chocolate, coffee is the worst I quit smoking.
    It’s hard living like this -the pain – I can’t eat , I bought Pine Nut Oil, I hope it works
    Any thing else I can try ?

    • Sorry to hear you’re having such an awful time. Have found that the following has been beneficial to me over the years:
      natural almonds settle an acid attack, chewing fresh spinach cabbage, and carrots. You might want to try taking 3-4 okra capsules per day – the mucilage it contains will supposedly help soothe the lining of the stomach and aid in it’s healing. Something to try!

  4. Hello loved reading your comments. About a month ago I got really upset as I lost a family pet. I think the stress triggered my symptoms!
    Lump in throat
    Pain crushing in my chest and back
    Thought it was heart ache….
    Then the link of fury teeth not able to get them clean. Realised I have silent reflux. Im on PPI for a month feel Better but still an irritated mouth and lumpy throat I’m wondering …
    is my throat and dry mouth called by PPI’s ???
    I’m managing my diet on PH5 and above foods. NO Chocklate and tomatoes as well. I’ve found an amazing book called the ACID WATCHERS DIET check it out. It’s all about managing your diet and stomach no tablets !! Off to the doctors in 3 hours today after reading all your wonderful posts i want off the PPI’s after only taking them for 4 weeks I should be able to get off them ok !?!! Keep going everyone I’ve found a slice of ginger in hot water is good to relax ajust the size of the slice of ginger for your taste buds xxx Esther

  5. I’ve been wondering if Helicobacter Pylori is in other areas of the digestive tract besides the stomach. It would make sense if it was found in the upper small intestine just past the stomach because that area has to be acidic due to the acidified stomach contents passing into it. H. Pylori lives in acidic environments without issue.

    I’ve also wondered if it has an actual positive function in the body. I know that it’s a pest in the stomach lining, but too much of any of even our good gut bugs in the wrong place can kill us. So, I went looking to see if H. Pylori is found in other places than the stomach and if it is useful.

    This article states that they tested for H. Pylori in the upper small intestine of several groups. In this testing, they found a correlation between people positive for H. Pylori infection and a reduction in enteritis. They hypothesized that there may be a synergistic effect with gut bacteria in the upper small intestine where H. Pylori may tend to lower the ph of that area.
    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/408931/

    It’s a small study, and needs repeating to find anything. But with all the pressure to create a vaccine to eliminate H. Pylori, I can’t help but think that a vaccine is a wrong approach here. There usually is a reason that a symbiote exists with us.

  6. Hey all!!! I’ll soon be approaching one year since starting the process of life without PPi’s. Last March I began weaning myself off the evil drug and have been off acid suppressing drugs since May/June of 2016. It has been quite the journey. I’ve had some up’s and downs along the way but that is to be expected after taking PPI’s for a long time. ( about 11 yrs) I noticed different sensations that would bother me on a daily basis, generally for weeks. Eventually they would just go away one day. Even today, I still have things bother me but it’s nothing I can’t handle. It just takes time and is a process. I feel so much better without the PPi’s. Just remember, It takes time and we are all different in how fast we recover. I still occasionally get heartburn. If I don’t eat well I can expect some discomfort. Generally Tums will get me through and I’ll be alright. I’m always thinking ahead and trying new things to further me for the better. I have been taking Siberian Pine Nut Oil for about a week now. Not sure if it’s effective or not. They say 3 weeks of using it will give you benefits. Guess I’ll see… I’ve been reading about people taking vitamin b6/b12 tablets that dissolve under your tongue. How much does that help? I’m sure I could use some supplements after being on PPI’s for so long. Any recommendations of a brand to look into and where can I buy them? Any other supplements I should consider?

    • Hi James, when the heartburn hits, try a 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of liquid magnesium supplement. I’ve found that it quells my heartburn in about 15 minutes. And regular magnesium supplementation eliminates my GERD. I also use virgin coconut oil daily, but that kills gut bugs like H. Pylori. Coconut oil doesn’t deal with the esophageal sphincter spasming. Magnesium will. You need a balance of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Magnesium/Calcium. Most of us get calcium from supplemented foods, but magnesium is not available. I use the liquid Magnesium Chloride supplement because it soaks in quick. I don’t know if I get as much benefit from the capsules with gel or powder forms, and I know I don’t get any benefit from solid tablets.

      • I should also mention that I mix that liquid magnesium with a small amount of water to suck it down. Then chase it with a pretty good slug or two of water to kill the taste. It is pretty vile tasting in concentrate. I haven’t yet found the right dilution strategy for it.

      • J Reeds, thanks for response and advice, I appreciate it. I’ll do some research and see what I can track down. Any recommendations of what brand to use? I’d like to find something I can go buy or possibly order from Amazon. I’m open to suggestions other than those places.
        I was taking coconut oil for awhile but got away from it. Right now I’m taking Siberian Pine But Oil. Heard it had good benefits just like Coconut Oil. This is what I’m taking now, http://www.siberiantigernaturals.com/extravirginpinenutoil.htm
        I have also been taking Enzymedica Digestive Enzymes since quitting PPI’s. I think they have a huge benefit getting through all of this. They have a wide variety of great products. Anyways, again, thanks for the info. Let me know if you have any recommendations of the products you mentioned.

      • J Reeds, I have Hiatal Hernia and strating on a plan to reduce weight, BUT what can tighten that LES??? Please if you have any info I’ll look into it, it would make sense that calcium may tighten things and magnesium relaxes, so how does magnesium not relax the LES? Im going out to by it today, been on prilosec 22yrs and always try new tapering plans, one will work I suppose, could be this one, thanks mate.

  7. Hi everyone! I’m hoping someone can provide some incite. I’ve dealt with heartburn off and on since my teens (I’m now 31), though it would sometimes get better when I stopped drinking coffee.

    Last July I started experiencing terrible stomach burning and nausea. I finally had an endoscopy in December and was diagnosed with gastritis and reflux esophagitis, though both non-erosive and “mild”. In my twenties I drank alcohol quite often, took NSAIDs regularly, and right around the time this started happening I was experiencing a ton of stress.

    I haven’t had any NSAIDs, caffeine, or alcohol since July and I’ve begun meditation and doing yoga to help with stress. I’m even taking some time off work at the moment to focus on getting well.

    I’ve been taking a PPI (Pantoprazole) for about a month now. The doctor only wants me on it for 8 weeks and then we’re going to try tapering off. The esophagitis is still affecting me though. Last week I started eating a Paleo diet, though I’ve been mostly gluten free for some time now (now I’m entirely grain free).

    My question is: has anybody else dealt with reflux esophagitis and been helped by a Paleo diet while still on PPIs? Were you able to wean off them? Can I get tested for SIBO while still being on PPIs? My naturopath wants to test for SIBO, but she said I need to be off the PPI for a week or so in order for the test to come back accurate. If anybody has an experience they can share, I’d appreciate it!

    • Julia, you have a smart doctor! Please keep that one. (My mom was put on a PPI that should only be used for a few weeks at most. And left on it for 18 years. We are weaning her off despite every doc who will tell them to keep on taking the PPI or “!! You’ll get cancer !!” and “nothing has been proven about negative effects.” [um, you shut off a major body function like stomach acid digestion and you think there will be no negative effects?] )

      Start keeping a food/reaction/sleep diary. You may have more food stressors (allergens) than you realize. Some may only be a problem under certain conditions. [I can eat chocolate. But only if I got enough sleep the night before and only if I have something more substantial in my stomach. Otherwise, it gives me heartburn. I never would have found that without a diary.]

      I talk about coconut oil a lot (and I do believe it is incredibly useful not just for keeping bacteria in check but also for Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)). There are natural methods of keeping H. Pylori and other bad gut bugs in check. The typical modern diet would only eat about 20-40 foods. The human digestion system can handle hundreds. And in fact, there are several agents that reduce or eliminate H. Pylori from your gut. The worst insult in the modern diet is the added sugars. The second worst is the hydrogenated vegetable oils. Many food/spice/herb items will keep H. Pylori in check. Coconut oil is cheap and effective. (just don’t overdo it — work your way up to the 1-2 Tablespoons a day.)

      When I first went gluten-free (gf) and soda-pop free, I had a terrible time with sugar cravings. I’d eat gf pancakes and breads. Dairy was an irritant for a really long time. Rice flour is also an irritant for me.

      Reflux is happening because your esophageal sphincter is spasming. If you’ve had poor diet and nutrition issues for a long time, check your B12/B6 levels and magnesium levels. Muscles and valves in the body work on a calcium/magnesium balance –if one is missing, you have spasms or cramps or charlie horses. I found that I can’t really get much good from magnesium tablets. Either a gel form in a capsule (somewhat ok, Mg Threonate but I’ve heard that’s mainly for mg in the brain) or a liquid form swallowed (pico MgCl, amazing results but tastes vile; works everywhere in the body) work. When my magnesium levels normalized, I stopped having reflux myself (there are many causes, but this is a big one). Not only that, but my skin stopped cracking and drying in the winter and turned supple (!!), my constipation issues resolved, and I felt really good for the first time in a very long time.

      High stress levels deplete B12/B6 and magnesium because both are used to dissipate cortisol. (It’s way more complex than just that, but that’s a simple explanation.) I have found that a Paleo-style diet that is low in starches/sugars, high in green leafies and colorful veggies, moderate in grass-fed meats/fish and nuts/seeds, and pasture-raised eggs makes me feel awesome. And I started dropping weight like mad just by adding some leisurely walking with that diet. It’s actually not that hard to manage. I have one day per week where I let myself eat crappy food. It is very helpful for those impossible cravings because I put the food on my list and eat it on that day. And I find I crave crappy stuff less and less.

      SIBO testing should be done after the PPI is gone. Don’t stay on that stuff long –even 8 weeks seems long (I thought it was 14 days recommended) and could make tapering off harsh. For the acid reflux still occurring, get some DGL (degly{something something}ed licorice) tablets and chew them 20 min before a meal. Begin introducing virgin coconut oil daily, a teaspoon at a time so you don’t overdo it. It will kill SIBO too, so go slowly and increase to keep from vomiting. SIBO + coconut oil too quickly always leads to really unpleasant vomiting. If coconut oil makes you nauseous after you take it, make sure you take it with food and cut the amount back until you can tolerate it. I started with a teaspoon and increased it every few days until I reached a Tablespoon (3 teaspoons).

      If you have H. Pylori, you most likely have SIBO. If you take antibiotics, laxatives, or PPIs, you’ll end up with SIBO because all of those interrupt the gut bacteria. (It’s like noticing you have too many badgers and not enough deer in the woods so you burn down the woods and hope that when the trees grow back you’ll have more deer and trees and less badgers.) Healing your gut will heal your nutritional deficiencies because you’ll be able to digest food again.

      One last note, PPIs interfere with the vitamin Bs uptake into the body. Use sublingual B12/B6 (melt under the tongue) to get it into the bloodstream from the mucous membranes in your mouth. Taking tablet form vitamins is almost worthless with PPIs and/or SIBO.

      • J Reads,

        Thanks so much for your detailed response! Super helpful. 🙂

        The food diary idea is a good one. I was a bit hesitant because I have a history of disordered eating and I don’t want to start getting obsessive again. However, I think it would be good to get a general idea of how certain foods make me feel. Your personal example about chocolate is interesting. I experienced something like that with blueberries. Esophagitis was aggravated and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized I had eaten blueberries each time it started acting up. So no blueberries for me until it heals.

        To clarify, I had an endoscopy and was tested for H Pylori and the test was negative. I have reflux esophagitis (non-erosive). I’ve noticed acidic foods (apple cider vinegar as an ingredient in bone broth, for example) tend to bother me, as well as foods that have sharp edges like nuts. As a result I stick with nut butters (all natural, organic) and other foods that aren’t acidic or have sharp edges.

        I already eat quite a bit of coconut oil, so I’m glad I’m on the right track there.

        As far as magnesium and B12 go, I take epsom salt baths about 4 times a week for magnesium, and I take liquid B12 under the tongue. I’ll make sure to have my doctor check my levels.

        Thanks again for the response! Much appreciated.

        • Hi Julia, Epsom salt baths do contribute some magnesium supplementation, but if you have had high stress for a long time, it won’t be enough. I didn’t think magnesium supplementation was necessary since it didn’t do anything for me. Then I tried a liquid supplement and suddenly within a few days after I worked my way up to about 1 teaspoon 2x daily, changes happened. An eye twitch cleared, my skin got supple instead of dry and scaly, IBS-C just stopped being a problem, and the acid reflux just stopped too. It’s not that I’m taking that much. It’s about 600 mg MgCl, which at 12% Mg in that chemical means that I’m taking about 72 mg of Mg (with a daily requirement of 360 mg). But I’m taking it in a form that is working for my body. Delivery systems matter.

          I think it’s just enough to hit a tipping point for health. And when I stop supplementing, I suddenly have very dry skin and the IBS-C returns.

          • What liquid mg supplement are you taking? It’s not common to find a liquid mg supplement; I have tried Blue Ocean Minerals, maybe I should go give them a better shot. I was never very consistent. I have had tremendous success with Apple cider vinegar. TIA.

            • I don’t like to name brands (and I have no affiliation with any of the companies though from my posts in here you’d think I was paid by the Coconut Bureau 🙂 ). It’s a pico-ionic Magnesium Chloride version by Dr. Dean. (while her metal supplements are decent, I don’t quite believe in all of her medical stuff touted –like colon cleansing with bentonite clay which is a real red flag for me. That’s just dangerous and not doing what the customers think it’s doing.) Problem is that I take about 2 teaspoons daily and it’s pretty vile tasting. I haven’t found a good way to disguise that taste, so I began testing every capsule of either gel or powder. I already know tablets don’t work for me. Possibly because I’m celiac so I have digestion issues. I tend to do the green smoothie thing to get more benefit from veggies. I still haven’t found one that works as well as the pico-ionic liquid. I’m branching out to try other liquids now and seeing how far I have to dilute it to eliminate that taste.

      • J Reads thanks for your informative post, but Ive read that Fat weakens the LES amongst other things like chocolate, etc., also fat reduces transit time or time it takes for food to chug along, couple that with a low carb diet at least in my case speall trouble seeing as there are small amounts of carbs to soak up liquid/acids which creates a watery soup in the stomach which EASILY refluxes, whereas when I eat bread or potatoes the liquids get absorbed and there is less ‘soup’ to slosh aroung and reflux and less fat = faster transit so food+soup doesnt hang around to reflux, maybe your experiences are with those that didnt have a hiatal hernia, I have one and tried the low carb route many times, even keto (4 days) but couldnt stand the reflux even on meds, I’ll buy the mag/b6/b12 though today and see if I can start to taper (22yrs on prilosec)

  8. Cooked spinach works for me. A few years ago, I suddenly started having GERD, and the dr prescribed prilosec and to sleep propped up. I was confounded why this was suddenly happening as I had never had this problem before in 70+ years. I searched the Internet for natural solutions and when I read in a forum that spinach had helped someone, it clicked immediately. Normally, I eat spinach 4-6 times a week (a throw-back to my Popeye days), but there must have been a spinach drought because my local grocery store had been out of frozen spinach for several weeks. I live in NYC and immediately started calling around to markets to find out which had spinach and started eating spinach again. My GERD stopped immediately. I eat a lot of pickled foods, and from time to time, when I haven’t eaten spinach for a couple of days, I may wake up with a slight burning in my throat. I get up, cook a little frozen spinach in the microwave, eat it, go back to bed and no more burning. Hope this works for those of you suffering from GERD.

  9. I have been taking Add to dictionary + Domperidone for 2 years. Suddenly I started having thrush in the mouth and I was clueless. After some research I figured out that it is due to non stop intake of Rabeprazole.

    • Anil, virgin coconut oil helps kill yeasts and gram negative bacteria. To help prevent your thrush, stop taking the ‘azole and find a better method of dealing with the GERD or other problem. And try oil pulling with virgin coconut oil. The 15-20 min exposure to the virgin coconut oil should kill the yeasts as coconut oil’s lauric acid just destroys Candida. In the stomach, the coconut oil isn’t in there for as long or as concentrated a contact, so it takes regular applications (consumption) for the coconut oil to kill H. Pylori.

  10. My wife has been taking a medication called Altosec on prescrition for quite a few years for IBS. We just found out from another Dr that its having negative effect on calcium absorbtion and her bone density is headed one way if we dont find an alternative. Does anyone know of a good alternative PPI that doesnt contain Omeprazole – apparently that is the bad news ingredient that needs to be avoided

    • Apple cider vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon or baking soda in your water. The apple cider vinegar needs to contain “the mother”, a popular brand is Braggs however, Costco is carrying another brand; Vermont Valley…..or something like that. So I know there are alternatives to Braggs but make sure it has the mother in it!!

      • I will be starting this as I, too, was on pantropazole and the side effects were HORRIBLE. Took a while to dx why I was nauseous, dizzy, having heart palpitations and anxiety. I also lost 12 lbs. in less than two weeks. SICK, SICK, SICK from this PPI. I have heard about the apple cider vinegar and will definitely give it a try.

    • Mark, I looked up Altosec. It looks like it’s an injectable form of omeprazole with a dash of polyethylene glycol. IBS can be either the C (constipation) or D (diarrhea) forms. Two sides of the same coin, and they both hinge on the muscle contraction mechanism of magnesium/calcium. Too much calcium, and you end up not being able to move the waste along the intestine. Too much magnesium, and the waste dumps too quickly through the intestine. If you can find a Functional Medicine physician in your area, please get an appt.

      Getting off of the Altosec is going to be tough. You need to change your diet significantly to nutrient dense calories. IBS and Altosec means that the intestines and stomach are probably at a fraction of their healthy state nutrition absorption possibility. I would immediately begin making some small but very significant diet changes –bone broth soups, pasture raised eggs, a lot more fresh green veggies, cut out sugars/starches for a while. Please look into Paleo.

      If it’s IBS-C, try a liquid magnesium supplement of magnesium chloride (pico-ionic version works well for me), magnesium glycinate, or magnesium citrate. Stay far away from magnesium sulfate orally (epsom salts; Milk of Magnesia) because that is too brutal for a human system. You can increase magnesium slightly by bathing in epsom salts –20 min in a hot bath of epsom salts will help increase absorption without the diarrhea issues that mag sulfate usually causes.

      If it’s IBS-D, try a liquid calcium supplement in a form that can be absorbed easily by the body. I don’t like recommending brands, but I use a pico-ionic version that works really well on my mom. Calcium is added to a lot of foods, but without enough magnesium in the system, there are major absorption problems.

      If she’s having calcium leaching, she needs several basic things to help boost her absorption. Vitamin D3, I’d suggest 2000-5000 daily for a while to boost her levels. I’d also suggest that before you supplement try to get your doc to give her a 25-hydroxy D test to check her Vitamin D levels. They should be around 70, but definitely above 30 or she’s really low. B12 (1000 IU)/B6 (about 400 IU) /Folates sublingual tablets. Once again, see if you can get a B12 test before the supplementation. B12 should be above 450, but if she’s been on the PPI for a while, it’s likely going to be in that gray zone of 200-400. That’s dangerous to have B12 below 450 for long periods. Look up B12 deficiency to see what that looks like. B12 sublingual tablets because the PPI damages intrinsic factor in the stomach and interferes with normal digestive B12 absorption, so you have to do it through the mucous membranes straight into the blood stream –swallowed vitamin tablets are useless. B12 needs B6, Folates, and Vitamin D to work properly. And it’s one of the things that is depleted by stress (or lots of wild shellfish – but you have to be really overdoing it). If any of those were low, magnesium can’t be absorbed. With magnesium deficiency, you get esophageal spasms (acid reflux), constipation, can’t seat calcium in the bones and it ends up in the soft tissues of the arteries, etc. It’s used in so many things in the body, and magnesium tests are not reliable because if the body doesn’t have enough magnesium/calcium to run muscle contraction, it will break down bone matrix to get it because the heart is a muscle that has to work or the body doesn’t anymore. So, you may have mag in the blood, but that doesn’t prove it’s in the tissues.

      Likely your IBS was stress and diet and SIBO related. Lower stress, and you have a better outcome. This is quick and brief information –once again please look for a Functional Medicine doc in your area.

  11. I am a 70 year old female. I have GERD, gastritis, hiatal hernia and IBS. I have been on Dexilant for 6 years. I was originally put on it because Prilosec made me dizzy when I laid down. Two months ago I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy. Colon normal. There were 2 small polyps in my stomach that were removed and were non-cancerous. After all the press about proton pump inhibitors, I asked this new gastro Dr. (I moved across the country in 2014) about dangers and she just said stay on Dexilant. I often get stomach cramps after taking it. I never felt hungry and my stomach didn’t growl. My only clue to eat was back pain on my left side at waist. I rarely got any reflux due to the meds. A few years ago I stopped for 4 months but lived on Tums. I just stopped again 2 weeks ago. I couldn’t cut down because Dexilant is timed release. so I am taking a 150mg Zantac at bedtime. I am doing well. Each day gets better. I figure I can eventually reduce the Zantac. I take 400 mg of DGL before I eat. I suddenly have energy and my brain fog is greatly reduced. I have been struggling with depression ever since I had my 2 knee replacements – Aug 2014 and Aug 2015. The meds oxycodone and oxycontin made me hyper and stopping the caused depression. I take an antipdepressant – 25 mg of perphenazine/amitryptiline at night and levothyroxine – 25 mcg in the morning. I also started taking Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3 and magnesium plus a multiple vitamin. In just 2 weeks I feel amazingly normal with energy and my brain fog is getting less each day. I have been eating gluten free on and off for about 3 years and have reduced dairy to just yogurt. I don’t drink alcohol, coffee, soda or milk. I just drink water, herbal tea and almond milk. I avoid mint, juices, chocolate, heavy tomato sauces spicy foods. Any amount of gluten causes constipation with urinary incontinence. Also leg cramps and arthritic pain. I wonder if the PPI has anything to do with my loss of 4 inches in height the past 10 years. I have been diagnosed with osteopenia. I also have scoliosis. I am glad I found this website. I had a feeling that the PPI was a cause of my lack of energy and depression. I always wondered how a PPI could be just specific to the stomach. You explained it well. I did get some Bragg apple cider vinegar but have not taken it yet. Any suggestions?

    • Mix 1 Tbs Braggs, with half a lemon squeezed, 1/4 tsp Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp powdered ginger, a dash of cayenne pepper, 3 pkts Stevia Mix well, you will need to keep mixing as you drink. Drink 10 minutes before you eat your first meal. You will lose weight.

    • Carol, you are on your way. I would suggest that the B12 that you take be a B12 (1000 IU)/B6 (400 IU) sublingual supplement because that goes directly into the bloodstream without digestion issues. I think in your case the anti-depressants you are taking are low dose and likely decreasing your anxiety (and probably working on pain too). This is a good thing. The decrease in stress will make the depletion of B12 and magnesium less rapid. You may wish to try a liquid magnesium supplement because I’ve found that they absorb better in our damaged gut.

      Linda’s recipe helps in many ways, but if you can’t tolerate cayenne or another of the ingredients, leave it out. The Braggs is apple cider vinegar that has fermentation bacteria still in it. It’s good for the intestinal bacteria. The half lemon adds minerals and is a strong Vitamin C donor. The cinnamon decreases insulin need during a meal (great for diabetes too). The ginger has many healing elements, but one thing it does help with is pain. I’ve found it better than ibuprofen on pain relief (I took 1/2″ cube of raw ginger in a smoothie and the pain from a healing knee surgery muffled down for about 10 hours. It was like wrapping a blanket around a fire. Raw ginger is a tad strong for my stomach, though.) Cayenne pepper is a weight loss spice, though I’m not sure of the exact mechanism. The stevia is a low glycemic sweetener to get all that down because lemon juice and ACV are too strong without sweetening or dilution. Drinking all of that 10 min before a meal will take the edge off your hunger.

      • J Reads, thanks for your great posts, very informative.
        I wonder if you can sine a light on my predicament.
        Ive been on prilosec for 22yrs, suddenly became gluten/dairy intolerant 5 rs ago, I figured chronic low stomach acid = bad bacteria migrating to duodenum/small intestine + cause of low acid pancreatic enzymes not being sent to gut to break down food = leaky gut = CKK enzyme doesnt trigger gallbladder squeezing of old bile hence bile stasis (was diagnosed with cholesterolosis and fatty liver 3 yrs ago), was diagnosed with hiatal hernia about 10yrs ago via scope in China.
        So I figured loa carb wont work for me cause of my LES opening easily due to hernia, it doesnt seem massive maybe a small one but being overweight doesnt help and Im slimming down now (102kf from 115 two years ago – but plan to get to 75kg which is my ideal weight asap)
        My main concern has been the polyps in the gallbladder seeing as they can become malignant if they grow to >1cm and have to have regular check ups, I thought about intermittet fasting to deplete liver glycogen stores at I assume 16hrs and eat at 18-20hrs fasted so I get a few hrs of autophagy (self eating) so that those polyps would be cannibalised by my own body, but then read online about how low carb diet and fasting increases IGF1/HGH, you know were Im going with this right?
        I want to heal if possibly from these polyps and dont want growth hormones surging around but how do I get rid of these polyps, I hear mainly from two groups – vegan vs low carb, eggs are great for the liver cause they contain choline etc, but they are loaded with cholesterol so would be bad for my gallbladder situation, bone broth heals, no it contains Lead, carbs are good, no they turn into liver fat due to denovo lipogenesis, soooo confusing, Ive yoyo’ed between vegan and low carb and still dont know what to eat, my two concerns are GERD/Hiatal Hernia and Gallbladder polyps and I should say I have been taking prilosec and Paxil (seroxat) for 22yrs, so one affects the other, I read that Paxil relaxes the LES, Ive reduced that down to only 5mg from 20mg, but the PPI is tough one to taper, now will try the mag/b6/b12 but still not sure about diet seeing as I also want to avoid any growth of the polyps, no sure if I should start daily fasting again, I figured also that serrapeptase may work and took it in the fasting period and took digestive enzymes with my meals but heard that they shouldnt be taken together seeing as serrapeptase nullifies the digestive enzymes, I wonder if taken them far apart would avoid the conflict, I also take 8 apricot kernels, papaya and do coffee enemas as a natural anti cancer diet, also I have bee doing coffee enemas for 11yrs and wonder if these have damaged my gut, making it leaky, they are supposed to be good for clearing bile (seeing as I have Gilberts syndrome ), and ups Glutathione levels, I want to also stop those cause they are addictive but wonder if my body (liver) is used to them, I went in for Ultra sound a few yrs back and was diagnosed with gallbadder polyps and so stopped eggs, the enemas and 6 months later on next scan fatty liver appeared so I guessed the liver was used to the daily flush and clearing of old bile and became more stagnant than usual.
        I dont smoke or drink, my only vice is that I drink teas during the day with some honey/almond milk it revs my brain up to work or some almond milk and organic instant coffee, I think cause Ive reduced over the years my paxil dose my brain needs a drug to pick me up so I was wondering if Rhodiola or some herb I could take in the am instead of caffeine to give e that kick but not weaken my LES.
        Final point is that many that have depression/anxiety for which Ive taken Paxil. dont do well on low carb diet, I assume this is cause carbs = insulin hit = amino acids get sent to the body leaving Tryptophan to enter brain and affect Serotonin so how do I go low carb and keep serotonin high or normal/
        Sorry for the long post, Thanks for any idea you could give me.

        • It seems you may have multiple health problems going on, and the best person(s) to address them are doctors, with the added help of a nutritionist. IMO, asking for help on a comment board when you have so many health issues could be playing a dangerous game. I also noted your reference to coffee enemas. You may be interested in this: https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/gwyneth-paltrow-and-goop-recommend-irrigating-your-rectum-and-colon-with-coffee-dont/

          • Thankyou paula, but not sure whom to approach, some docs will have the vegan angle others more paleo type of thinking.
            Drs like Cresser, Axe etc suggest the paleo type route and Drs like Grieger, McDougall etc the vegan route and the opposite of no meat, low fat, carb type diet inculding potatoes, gluten free breads, veg and starchy veg.
            It doesnt make sense to add apple cider vinegar and HCI whilst severely reducing carbs (that absorb liquid/acid) and be default increasing fat which slows down the transition of food leaving the chances for food to reflux for longer – fat also weakens the LES so I dont get it.
            Bread, potatoes absorb acid which is bound to liquid, right? As soon as I try taking those absorbers of acid, reflux is worse and thats with PPI’s.
            Yes I think the coffee enemas may have contributed to my gut/leaky gut issues, but reading the posts on that site you sent didnt convince me, Ive been doing them 11 yrs and have more experience than those guys, but yeah I did lay off for a while and started again, will lay off again soon, hopefully for a few months.

    • All I do with Bragg’s, which I take for a variety of reasons, is one tablespoon ACV and 1 teaspoon honey in a glass of filtered or bottle spring water. I usually boil the kettle and put a splash of hot water in the glass with the honey and vinegar, stir, and they dissolve beautifully. Then add the cold water and drink! I have found that it goes down much easier as a cold or cool drink than as a hot one. I take this twice a day, morning and evening. Blessings!

    • I last posted on January 12. At that time I was about 2 weeks off of Dexilant (Dexlansoprazole). It is now 4 months later and I have stayed the course. At first I used Zantac 150 mg. at night and sometimes 75 mg twice a day. It did the trick. By 53 days I was feeling pretty good. It actually wasn’t that hard. I was on the PPI for 6 years. Now it has been about 3 weeks since I took a Zantac. I watch my diet (stay away from peppers and onions and peppermint) and eat gluten free. I only drink water and herbal tea. I have been off of caffeine for years. The main thing that triggers any reflux is bending since I have a hiatal hernia. I find a large glass of water does the trick. I realize now that PPI’s have been a boon for the drug industry. Without insurance and a rebate from the company my PPI would have cost me $300 a month. Drs. always tell patients that they have to stay on this drug for life. NOT SO! Sure there is an overproduction of acid when one stops but that lessens over time. I no longer feel short of breath and dizzy. I have cut my anti-depressant in half. I had my yearly wellness checkup this week and magnesium levels were normal. Life can be good without PPI’s. It just takes the courage to say no and take control of your life.

      • Hello Carol, I also have been on Paxil (Anti-depressant) and Omeprazole for 21yrs, I have been able to lower the Paxil dose from 20mg to 5mg and stuck on that dose, but Omeprazole 20mg find hard to stop, some say up your HCI and apple cider vinegar intake and this will shut the LES valve, this works for some but those with hiatus hernia it may not work, I have a sliding hiatus hernia and tried the HCI and ACV and ended up in hospital with a burnt esophagus. I did speak to a guy whos been on omeprazole for 18yrs and came off last year by switching to Lanzoprazole for a while and then coming off that which is easier than omeprazole, he switched to a vegan ow fat diet and says he won’t go back, so I m going to do this diet and switch to a H2 blocker next time I speak to my GP, what anti depressant are you on and how long have you been on it, may I ask|?

        • I am on amitriptyline/perphanazine. I have been on and off of it since 1982. A couple of full blown depressions but mostly been taking it in small amounts. 25/2mg three times a day is the therapuetic amount for a big depression. I had a total left knee replacement in 2014 and right in 2015. Both times the pain meds (narcotics) sent me into depression. However I didn’t need more than 1 pill a day. I now take 1/4 to 1/2 a pill each night. Very small dosage but I am sensitive to medications. My body remembers this med so it takes effect immediately. Amitriptyline is supposed to be very good for IBS which I also have. This is a very old tricyclic but it works for me. I stopped the PPI cold turkey. The Zantac worked along with DGL. I realize that the worst part is the rebound which is worse than the original reflux. I truly believe that the PPI’s continue the problem. In fact I often had more pain after taking the PPI. That pain is now gone. My symptoms were sore throat, and back pain at the waist which my GI doc said was a symptom of the hiatal hernia. What I really have to watch is bending over which triggers the back pain. Now I just drink a large glass of water to dilute any acid that travels up the esophagus. I think being off wheat is the main reason I am not having problems after eating. I have been gluten free by choice for several years and watch my diet very carefully – no onions, chocolate, acidic juices, peppermint, caffeine, etc. GF also has cured my constipation. I don’t even think about reflux anymore. I used to always carry Tums, Zantac, and take the PPI. It is so nice to really be free of all that pain and drama. Here is another person’s experience: http://www.dontdieearly-book.com/gerd/ A good book that I read several years ago is Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. Good luck.

          • Hi Carol,
            The Amytriptaline helps with nerve pain also, I know what you mean when you say the drug your body is used to to, the same with Paxil, there have been times when I taper too low and I can’t handle the stress, depression etc and when I up the dose it feels really good, my brain is used to it and works extremely well for me.
            What do you eat may I ask? Thanks for the link will check it later today, if you have anymore success stories show me please, thanks for your story cause Ive been trying to find someone like me, been on PPI’s and anti depressants for yrs and come off PPI’s successfully.
            For Hiatus Hernia if you add Fibre then you have less strain at stool and less chance of intra abdominal pressure pressing up against the hernia/LES, also losing weight will help and squatting makes passing stool easier or maybe using a small stool or baby chair to put your feet, lifting heavy things may not be good, also lie on your left side on an incline of 6 to 8 inches and not eat 3hrs before bedtime, I was thinking about taking magnesium at my last meal and then calcium citrate at bedtime with DGL, magnesium relaxes things and so would relax these valves like the pyloric valve and LES so food goes out of your stomach faster, then take calcium citrate at bedtime and calcium citrate may tighten the LES?
            How to get the buzz that you used to get from coffee or caffeine? I feel without coffee my brain stays in limbo and bored all day taking chamomile, almond milks but with coffee my brain wakes up and have loads of ideas and feels happier, is there a substitute that doesnt harm the stomach or gut?
            Maybe its just a question of getting the brain used to not having it, I like the feeling the Matcha tea gives but its caffeine again, unless I take L-Theanine which will do the same in the brain but worry cause Im taking the paxil, hmm.
            I also developed gut problems, maybe leaky or inflammed cause I started to be allergic to Gluten and dairy about 5yrs ago, and now get this ache in the duodenum and straight down to my small intestine area.
            I tried doing bone broths, eggs and meat and veg and felt sicky, the first night had nightsweats from hell, everytime |ve tried the first night I get these nightweats and I felt my body is rebelling, I told one young guy who trains athletes and is a paleo guy and he laughed he said oh these are meat sweats thats good, I checked online and found bone broths have Lead and heavy metals in them also meat causes an increase in gut inflammation that susceptible people will feel, so I wondered if I poisoned and inflamed my gut.
            Now Im juicing green drinks and veggies and friuts and want to do a juicefast to give my gut a rest, have maybe a cabbage broth seeing as it has glutamine and this can heal the gut, the problem is my wifes cooking then tempts me in the evenings to eat 🙁

            • Hi Gerald,

              Sorry it took me so long to answer. You comment has been sitting on my desk for weeks. What do I eat? Since being off of the PPI’s I actually feel hungry. While I took them I never had hunger pangs but only felt back pain (left side around waist) which told me it was past time to eat. I often forget when I am busy. I eat gluten free. Breakfast is either Cheerios, Chex, Granola (I make my own) oatmeal and Almond milk. Sometimes an egg or an English muffin GF. Lunch can be a salad, or some lunch meat, cheese, gf crackers. I also eat homemade guacamole and corn chips. Also fruit and cottage cheese. Yogurt is also one of my favorites. Dinner is gluten free pasta with gf tomato sauce (just enough to coat the pasta), gf meatballs, homemade mac & cheese with tuna or salmon, fish, veggies, potatoes, chicken, tacos, stir fry – there is a GF soy sauce called Tamari. There are also GF hot dogs. My favorite is to buy a whole chicken, quarter it and simmer it for an hour with some spices and eat it. I also make soup out of it. I eat walnuts and pecans. Food is pretty boring and now that I am retired and live alone I don’t really enjoy cooking that much. I don’t eat a lot. Overeating is really hard on the hernia and can cause a backup of acid. I just recently started drinking grape juice over crushed ice. It dilutes the acidity. I never got in the habit of drinking coffee. When I am out and feel a need for energy I drink Dr. Pepper. It is the only caffeine drink that doesn’t hurt my stomach. That and an occasional ginger ale are the only soft drinks. Living in AZ, I drink a lot of water. My weakness is ice cream. I make my own and then I know what is in it. I haven’t taken even a Zantac for months. Once in awhile, I take a Tums. I seemed to have finally found the answer to all that acid. One thing I do avoid is alcohol. Wine burns the esophagus. Onions are wicked. I use the dried flakes which I can tolerate. Things like chocolate and peppermint relax that muscle and cause reflux. I have even found a toothpaste without mint. Eating a lot of sugary things can also irritate my system. That bone broth diet sounded weird to me so I never tried it. My stomach used to be something that was always on my mind. Never left the house without carrying an antacid. Now I hardly ever think about it. It is so nice to be free of the PPI addiction.
              Carol

              • Carol, sorry for the loooong delay in relying to you, not sure what happened, never got the prompt to say I got an answer.
                Just check these posts today, thinking about taking the zantac and b6/b12/mag sound like a good idea cause all my tapering attempts have failed so far, and losing weigh is now on the cards 😉
                How you doing now?

  12. I took pantoprazole (Protonix) for about 10 years. I started taking it to control some acid re-flux/heartburn. Once started, I found it difficult if not impossible to stop taking the medication, or so I thought. As of today, I have not taken the medication for about a month. Here’s how I did it: For about 2 months I would not take a pill once a week, then for another two months I would not take a pill twice a week (not consecutive days). Then I was able to take it every other day, and then every day and then every two days. After another month I stopped all together. I still occasionally get heartburn, but simply treat it with a carbonate (sodium bicarb, or tums, etc). I started losing weight and have more energy, plus I am happy knowing I did something good for myself.

    • I should also add that in the beginning I relied on Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) for relief on the days that I didn’t take the PPI. I also changed over to eating more greens and vegetables and i drink lots of water ( 80 oz) daily. Last year I changed doctors. My new MD suggested I stop taking a PPI to avoid the adverse effects of long term use.

      • Paul,
        I found that drinking more water and eating more greens and reducing bread gives me more reflux cause there is nothing to absorb the acid that is bound in liquid, welldone by the way 😉

  13. I’ve been taking Nexium 40mg for 13yrs now and for the past 3 I’ve been experiencing severe heart palpations that come and go, which leads to bad headaches almost everyday. I’m now going to wean myself off these pills and hopefully this works. Wish me luck!!

    • Dawn, you likely are B12/B6 and magnesium deficient. Try a B12 (1000 IU)/B6 (400 IU) sublingual tablet because you can’t absorb tablet form B12 as Nexium damages your absorption of those vitamins in your stomach. Also get a magnesium supplement of either magnesium chloride, magnesium glycinate, or magnesium citrate. I’ve found liquid magnesium chloride works really well. Without the magnesium, your heart has difficulty in beating. I’ve covered that discussion in other posts here in this comments section.

      • J Reads,
        I get this weird thing happening, if I eat low carb and have a fish meal without carbs then I get palpitations, not sure if the fish coupled with morning coffee enemas do this, so whenever I have fish I need some rice or carb or I’ll get palpitations.
        Also I tried bone broths (chicken, lamb) and get left ear burning sensations and it is red only the cartilage area, this seems like relapsing polychondritis symptoms, so then I thought maybe Dr Grieger is right that bone broths contain Lead and are inflammatory or at least he says eating meat is, and noticed one lady cured herself of this condition by doing the McDonald diet. Its confusing indeed.

  14. I’ve been taking 40mg of Protonix (PPI inhibitor) for about 2 years, to treat a hiatal hernia and GERD.

    About 3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency and Vitamin B deficiency. I was having panic attacks, weakness in legs, headaches, “brain fog”, just wasn’t feeling like myself. I was prescribed a 50,000 mg “megadose” of Vitamin D to take 1x per week and a 2,000mg Vitamin B12 to take each day.

    4 days ago I was diagnosed with a kidney stone of 3mm, which I have yet to pass.

    It is rather obvious to me that the long term usage of PPIs caused the vitamin deficiency. I am thinking that the kidney stone was caused by taking the megadose of Vitamin D and not being able to absorb it properly. What do you guys think? Should I get off the Vitamin D supplements? Should I just ween off the PPIs and modify my diet (I’ve been watching my diet, but could be more strict if I knew exactly what to eat)? I have concerns about reflux bouncing back…Just looking for a plan and a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks!

    • You’re probably getting too much polysorbate 80; which happens to contain polyethylene glycol, which contains ethylene glycol, metabolizes into oxalates and forms stones. To fight any reflux issues apple cider vinegar(Braggs) will help the reflux and help break down the stone.

    • OMG, this sounds so much like myself. The Dr’s thought my heart palpations were also panic attacks and they more certainly were not. I also had to be rushed to the ER a few months back with acute kidney pain. These PPI pills are worth all the side effects. I’ve decided to wean myself off, there are so many other problems that have occurred over the years and I had no clue it was a result of thes pills. I’m on my 3rd day and have split my dose in half and cut back on my food intake. Wish me luck!

      • Good luck Dawn!

        My doctor didn’t warn me of the potential side effects of long term PPI use. I’ve found that most doctors tend to only treat symptoms and it’s up to you to research and cure the root cause. It’s not all their fault though, the whole health care system is broken.

        I think true healing will occur once I am off the PPIs for a few months and my gut returns to a natural state. Until then I’ll be avoiding my triggers foods as well as overeating and late night binging, and exercising more regularly.

        • Thanks Ben. Update: it’s been a few weeks now and I’m doing fine on 1/2 a pill a day now with a reduced intake of food as well. I’ve lost a few pounds as a result and plan on eventually working my way down to 1/4 pill and then none!! I’ve been taking Braggs apple cider vinegar and I’m doing so much better. My goal is to be off these PPI’s by early summer.

          • Update: I’ve switched from PPIs (40mg, then stepped down to 20 mg for awhile) to ranitidine 300mg (taken before bed) and have been on this routine for about a month. So far, I’ve noticed a ton of improvement. I’ve been taking Braggs when I get a twinge of heartburn, but the step down to H2s has been a good move for me so far.

    • Ben, you need the Vitamin D. But add a magnesium supplement so that the calcium can be seated in the bone where it belongs and not in your arteries. Vitamin D and B12 deficiency leads to magnesium and calcium absorption problems. Also, you won’t be able to properly absorb B12 as a swallowed tablet. Your stomach is going to lack intrinsic factor due to the PPI use. Use a sublingual tablet — B12 (1000 IU)/B6 (400 IU). B12 needs B6 to function properly. Try a liquid magnesium supplement to help greater absorption –just do NOT use magnesium sulfate (epsom salts, Milk of Magnesia) internally. You can soak in a hot bath of them, but look for magnesium chloride or magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate for better absorption.

      Mike is right about the P.E.G. causing kidney stones. So can magnesium deficiency. Also, soda pop is just the worst thing you can do to your body no matter if it is diet or regular. Just stop drinking that stuff if you do so.

  15. I was taking 20mg Omeprazole every day or so, for over 20 years.

    About six months ago, I switched to a low carb / high fat diet. I now find that I hardly ever need the Omeprazole – only when I drink beer, or eat white bread, which is now very infrequent.

  16. Hi everyone, I just did my colonoscopy and gastroscopy . The doctor diagnosed me with GERD, gastritis and duodenitis. I need advice on 1) He prescribed Dompenidine ( for bloating) and controloc 4 mg ( proton pump inhibitor) for gastritis. After reading the side effect of PPI, I decided not to take them. But what should I take to heal the erosion on my stomach lining. 2) now I understand why my dentist said my teeth showed signs or erosion – it is due to GERD. The acid reflux which also causes my malabsorption. He told me that my acid level is too high my stomach but I thought it is too low that causes reflux? I will know the biopsy result on Monday to know if there is any bacteria on my entire GI track. I plan to start my AIP elimination diet to heal my gut. May I ask what else can I do to heal?

    • Siberian Pine Nut Oil did it for me. After endoscopy showing ulcerated esophagus I took it x 3 per day half an hour before meals (15 ml) Next endoscopy showed 100% healing had taken place. I let the medics think I had taken the omezrapole they prescribed. I recommend you buy the best original Siberian Pine Nut Oil and although expensive it is worth it to get your life back on track. I should say I had a good diet previously but cut out coffee, alcohol and bread which probably helped. Good luck.

      • This is for the person who healed her/his (sorry I didn’t see a name – I’m on my cell.) esophagus with Siberian pine nut oil. You really should be honest with your MD about what healed it. He now falsely thinks omeprazole cured it and he may well include your result in with the statistics that support this drug. That’s not helping anyone else out there. I’m glad the oil worked for you and that you shared it with us, but also tell your doctor what you took. If you want to be evasive with him, at least tell him you did not take omeprazole or any other pharnaceutical.

    • Emily, try liquid magnesium supplements to help ease the esophageal spasms. I use a pico ionic liquid version, and it did amazing things for me. Magnesium tablets aren’t going to work well because your digestive tract is damaged. Virgin coconut oil can kill H. Pylori, bad gram negative bacteria, and yeast overgrowth to help heal your gut. DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) tablets taken minutes before a meal may help also. The Paleo AIP is very good at quelling irritants to your digestive tract fast. Keep a food/reaction/sleep journal to find issues. Check your B12/B6 levels and Vitamin D because if the GERD is magnesium deficiency related, then you are likely low in both of those. Reducing stress will help also. You can try a B12/B6 sublingual tablet and Vitamin D with the magnesium and coconut oil and see if it helps.

  17. My husband takes these because his stomach acid pH is much stronger (i.e. lower pH) than normal. What are the alternatives for someone with his condition?

  18. 2 questions. I’ve noticed people recommending taking coconut oil 2-3 times a day. How long should you do this process?
    Also, I have been taking Digest Basic with probiotics. I think they have done fairly well for me. I was curious if anyone could recommend any other probiotics they think might be better. Thanks!

    • Hi James,
      To kill H. Pylori, the recommended dose of virgin coconut oil is 1 teaspoon, 3x daily for 1-2 months. H. Pylori should die within a month from what I’ve seen. It is possible to later get recolonized with the bugs from a subsequent infection. Therefore, I continue using coconut oil in varying amounts in my diet to improve odds of killing it before H. Pylori has a chance to colonize. What I did was replace my cooking fats/oils with coconut oil (except for things like eggs which I still fry in grass-fed butter). I found that going full-fat and dumping artificial sweeteners for honey (though I do limit all sweets and meat intake and upped the greens/fish intake) actually has helped me lose weight. And I feel better overall. I’m almost fully paleo, but I do eat legumes if they’ve been soaked before cooking.

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