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Do PPI Drugs Cause Kidney Failure?

A recent epidemologic study revealed a higher risk for chronic kidney disease in people taking PPI medications (Proton Pump Inhibitors).  These common medications treat ulcers, indigestion, and Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD).

Many people consume these like candy.

If you take medications like Protonix, Nexium, Dexilant, or even their cousins Pepcid, Zantac, Tums, Rolaids, I recommend you stop and ask yourself…WHY do I require these medications?

Why is my digestion so bad?

Dangers of low stomach acidity

I was taught in medical school the cause of acid indigestion stems from high stomach acid.  I also learned caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, greasy foods, and eating too close to bedtime triggered the condition.

In practice, this meant briefly telling patients, “You should avoid these….and here is you PPI medication.”

Patients that routinely take these medications instead of modify their diet believe they have “fixed” the problem because the medication lowers their symptom.

Unfortunately strong stomach acidity is necessary to properly absorb key nutrients from our diet like vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats.

In the presence of low stomach acid our body slowly loses the ability to absorb vital trace minerals and co-factors needed to rebuild, repair, and grow the body.

This is the primary reason many of the PPI drugs carry a block box warning that they cause Osteoporosis (Severely weak bones).

Like osteoporosis, I wonder how much disease relates to underlying nutritional deficiencies rather than direct harm from the medication?

Factors that trigger Heartburn

In the past I have covered heartburn & indigestion related topics.  If you want greater details on treatment check out Gut Check:  Top 10 Natural Recommendations for Heartburn.

Is that post too long?

Here’s the down and dirty….

If you have heartburn, GERD, indigestion or bloating consider a trial elimination of these items:

  • Coffee, Soda, Tea (Caffeine)
  • Tobacco (Cigarettes, Cigars, snuff, nicotine patches/gums)
  • Alcohol (Beer, wine, liquor)
  • Dairy (Cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese)
  • Wheat (Bread, cereal, noodles, etc.)
  • Sugar (Pies, Cakes, pastries, candy, etc.)

If you try eliminating or severely reducing these items in your diet and you still require PPI medications, check with your doctor for additional workup.

There is no Health in a Bottle

PPI medications are probably safe…probably…but only for briefly for severe symptom management.

Now, seeing new studies linking kidney disease with PPI’s simply serves as another reminder of the benefits of fixing the cause instead of treating the symptoms!

As always, comments are welcome!



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