Heartburn drugs may destroy your bones – unless you do this...
Are you one of the millions of Americans who take a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) every day for heartburn or reflux? If so, I’ll bet you a nickel that your doctor never warned you about all the side effects that you might be exposing yourself to. A recent article says they can put your bones at risk. Researchers reported just last month on 10,620 men and women with GERD who were taking PPI drugs. GERD stands for Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease. GERD describes a situation in which stomach acid refluxes up into the esophagus, the tube that goes from your mouth to your stomach. Stomach acid is just fine in the stomach, but it is bad news in the esophagus. It can cause heartburn, constant coughing, hoarseness,
pneumonia, and even esophageal cancer. PPI drugs are drugs that shut down stomach acid production and thus stop the problem. But while they solve one problem, they cause several others. One of them is osteoporosis. When the researchers looked at the chance of getting osteoporosis in people on PPI drugs compared with people not taking the drugs, they found a disturbing statistic. The people on the drugs were 50% more likely to have osteoporosis than those not taking the drugs. The reason is that it’s not accidental that our bodies make stomach acid. It’s there for a reason. One reason is to protect us from the bacteria and fungi that are unavoidably on the foods we eat. Another reason is that stomach acid is critical for digestion. So when a PPI drug takes stomach acid out of the picture, problems are sure to result. In order for the body to maintain our bones we need a special combination of minerals, vitamins, and proteins. But all of these nutrients require stomach acid in order to be optimally digested. Specifically, I’m talking about branch-chain amino acids, vitamin K2, silicon, boron, strontium, calcium, and zinc. So when people are taking PPI drugs every day for extended periods of time, you can be sure they’ll eventually develop a deficiency of one or more of these nutrients. Hence the huge increase in osteoporosis. And that’s why the authors of the study stated in no uncertain terms, “GERD with PPI use is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.” But osteoporosis is not the only problem you can see from these drugs. There are all kinds of other problems that can happen with PPI drugs. They can cause vitamin B12 deficiency and iron deficiency. Of course, a deficiency of B12 and iron leads to fatigue. But since so many patients on PPI drugs are older, the fatigue often goes undiagnosed and is just attributed to their age. And we can only guess what other kinds of nutrient deficiencies happen with the long-term use of PPI drugs that we don’t know about yet. And don’t forget about infections.
Since the PPI drugs knock out stomach acid, they also lead to infections of the intestinal tract. If you developed diarrhea, colitis, C-difficile infection, or Candida infections since taking a PPI drug, it’s probably due to the drug. Remember that your stomach acid is the first line of protection from eating foods contaminated with infectious organisms. Without it, you’re vulnerable to these little guys. Can you just imagine the headlines if just one herb or nutrient caused even a tenth of these side effects? We’d never hear the end of it. But for Big Pharma, it’s just another day at the office. Fortunately, there’s some good news here. For one, about 60% of those patients on GERD drugs don’t really need to be on them. That’s because in these patients, the cause of the GERD can be treated naturally by changing eating habits, treating Candida infections, using herbs and special nutrients, and taking digestive aids.
REF: Chen CH, Lin CL, Kao CH. Gastroesophageal reflux disease with proton pump inhibitor use is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis: a nationwide population-based analysis. Osteoporos Int. 2016 Feb 10.
P5P is pyridoxal 5' phosphate (P5P), the active metabolite and predominant form of plasma pyridoxine (vitamin B6).
Menstrual Comfort: Clinical trials have indicated that vitamin B6 may support menstrual comfort, in part by maintaining healthy neurotransmitter function to promote healthy mood and mental functioning.
Nervous System Support: Vitamin B6 plays an integral role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and helps maintain the cellular balance of sodium and potassium. These roles serve to promote the healthy functioning of the nervous system. This vitamin may also provide specific support for wrist nerve comfort as reported in some but not all studies.*
Various Physiological Support Properties: P5P is beneficial to a number of physiological functions, providing a wide range of nutritional support. P5P is required for proper absorption of B12 and magnesium, and for the production of gastric HCl. It is an important coenzyme in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and the elongation of essential fatty acids. It is also required for the production of antibodies and red blood cells.
FISH OIL MAY BLUNT HEAD BLOWS
Head injuries can devastate lives.
Thousands of soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury or TBI provide living proof.
Belatedly, the National Football League (NFL) admitted last month that repeated concussions incurred in games cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
A number of prior studies have found very high rates of dementia among retired NFL players, compared to their peers.
And a study led by neuroscientist Daniel Amen, M.D., found that retired NFL players benefited from a brain-health protocol featuring high doses of omega-3 fish oil.
In Dr. Amen's study, former players took 5.6 grams of fish oil daily ... a bit more than the 4 grams per day The American Heart Association recommends for heart patients with high blood triglyceride levels ... see Omega-3-Based Regimen Boosted Battered NFL Brains.
Kids are the major concern
One can sympathize with pro football players who suffer brain damage from a sport they love.
But NFL players are adults who can decide whether the risks are worth the rewards, which include millions of dollars.
The only certain way for kids who play contact sports to avoid brain injury is to avoid repeated concussions.
Like football, soccer is risky – thanks to "heading” the ball – as are hockey, rugby, lacrosse, and other contact sports.
The publicity about NFL players has kept some kids out of youth football … but it’s likely that millions of will keep playing contact sports.
So schools and coaches need to find ways to reduce the number of concussions ... and minimize their brain-damaging effects.
Omega-3 fish oil may provide some protection
Growing evidence suggests that the consequences of concussions are blunted by omega-3 fatty acids ... especially DHA.
The human brain is nearly 60% fat, and DHA – the most abundant brain fat – is critical to the structure and function of brain cells.
Early studies in rodents prove that DHA can blunt and help heal the effects of brain and spinal trauma in these animals: see Omega-3 Curbed Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats.
And in 2014, NIH researchers reported that rats recovered from traumatic brain injury much better when their brain cells were high in DHA:
"These results suggest an important influence of the brain DHA status on TBI outcome.” (Desai A et al. 2014)
The first evidence in humans came in 2007, when omega-3 fish oil proved brain-saving for coal miner Randal McCloy ... see Miner’s Miracle Leads Stellar Omega-3 Summary.
Five years later, the equally well-documented experience of Bobby Ghassemi provided more evidence ... see Teen’s Brain Saved by Omega-3s?.
Now, a study in college football players suggests that kids who play contact sports should be taking ample amounts of fish oil.
Fish oil reduced markers of brain injury in college football players
The new study was conducted among football players at Texas Christian University.
Its positive results suggest that omega-3 DHA could blunt the brain-damaging effects of head blows.
Dr. Michele Kirk, team physician at TCU, co-led the placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study, designed to test the effect of DHA on brain trauma.
The TCU research team recruited 81 football players. More than 60 started taking DHA at the beginning of the summer of 2014 and were monitored over the course of a season.
Kirk and her team looked for DHA’s effects – if any – on an indicator of brain trauma called neurofilament light or NFL, and its blood levels rise with each physical impact.
The results of the study were certainly encouraging:
"If they were on the DHA, they had a 40% reduction in that neurofilament compared to those that were on the placebo,” Dr. Kirk said. "That may indicate that DHA can be protective against some brain trauma.”
DHA may be more important to teens than thought
According to Dr. Floyd Ski Chilton of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, "For the DHA to have this type of effect, that’s quite striking and quite promising.”
It’s long been known that DHA is critical to brain development, but as Chilton said, "DHA is probably a lot more important in adolescence and later development than we first thought.”
Chilton – whose research focuses on inflammation – said that seafood-source omega-3s probably help protect athlete’s brains in part by reducing the inflammation and oxidation caused by blows to the head.
Hee-Yong Kim, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health describes a broader range of benefits from DHA supplements:
"Optimizing the nutritional DHA status in neural tissues may allow significantly improved resilience for the central nervous system to injury and optimized recovery.” (Kim HY 2014)
Among other effects, dietary DHA could help normalize the levels of a key chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and thereby enhance the survival of brain cells (Kumar PR et al. 2014).
(For more about the role of omega-3s and food-borne antioxidants in raising BDNF levels, see Alzheimer’s Drug Apes Omega-3s and Berries and Chocolate Sparks a Key Brain Protector.)
The TCU findings will need to be replicated in a larger study before DHA gains mainstream medical endorsement for players of contact sports.
Omega-3s: The source matters
Our bodies can make barely adequate amounts of DHA from the omega-3s found in certain plant foods.
But the only abundant dietary source of DHA is seafood – especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines – and fish oil.
Most fish oils contain relatively low levels of omega-3s, and typically contain more EPA – the other omega-3 fat in fish oil – than DHA.
Dr. Kirk said that parents concerned about protecting children's brains should look for fish oil supplements that contain higher-than-average levels of DHA.
Acupuncture May Help Reduce Insomnia
In a study involving 47 patients with chronic insomnia, four courses of electroacupuncture therapy (a form of acupuncture) were found to be associated with improvements in sleep quality and social function during the daytime. Specifically, increases in slow wave sleep time and REM sleep time were found. One month post-treatment, the insomnia rebound rate was 23%. The authors conclude, "...electroacupuncture therapy could be a promising avenue of treatment for chronic insomnia." Additional research is warranted.
DID YOU KNOW.......
COLDS AND SMOKING
In evaluating 39,876 female health professionals, it was found that current heavy smokers had no significant increase in the frequency of colds but had a significantly increased risk of prolonged colds. There was no difference in the number of days that the subjects were confined to their homes. Nonsmoking females who were passively exposed to cigarette smoke had a slight increase in risk of both more frequent colds and more prolonged colds during the previous year.
"Active and Passive Smoking and Risk of Colds in Women," Bensenor IM, Cook NR, Lee I-M, et al, Ann Epidemiol, 2001;11:225-231
Fibromyalgia - Connection with Bacterial Overgrowth in Small Intestine?
In evaluating 815 individuals using the lactulose hydrogen breath test, 152 individuals had the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, of whom 29 who had concurrent inflammatory bowel disease were excluded. The remaining 123 individuals were used in the analysis. Of these 123 individuals, 63 were referred by a rheumatologist. Of the 63 who were seen by a rheumatologist, 52 tested positive for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Twenty-three of the 123 subjects had coexisting connective tissue disease. One hundred and seven of the 123 subjects met the criteria for irritable bowel syndrome. Out of the 123 subjects with fibromyalgia syndrome, 96, or 78%, tested positive for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth as diagnosed by the lactulose hydrogen breath test. In 25 subjects who returned for a follow up lactulose hydrogen breath test, 11 had complete eradication and 14 achieved incomplete eradication of their small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with antibiotics. The antibiotics used were neomycin in 18 subjects, augmentin in 1 subject, ciprofloxacin in 1 subject, flagyl in 1 subject, 1 subject who was treated with both neomycin and ciprofloxacin, another subject who was treated with neomycin, biaxin and amoxicillin, and two subjects who did not remember which antibiotics they took. Twenty-two of these 25 fibromyalgia patients returned for follow-up for a lactulose hydrogen breath test and 57% reported global improvement in their symptoms. Three subjects did not provide a percent global improvement. The percent decrease in abdominal pain with 68.8% in the complete eradication group, and 1.5% in the incomplete eradication group. Seventeen subjects noted their abdominal complaints improved the most, 7 patients listed pain, 3 listed fatigue, and 1 reported sleeplessness was most improved. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain were all improved. There was more improvement with complete eradication. These data suggest that bowel symptoms in fibromyalgia may be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. There have been associations made between fibromyalgia symptoms and Chlamydia species as well as Borrelia burgdorferi. In animal models, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can result in bacterial translocation to mesenteric lymph nodes and can produce systemic effects. These systemic effects are believed to be mediated by endotoxins from Gram-negative bacteria. These endotoxin effects may explain the soft tissue hyperalgesia that is seen in fibromyalgia syndrome since injections of the endotoxin into lab animals results in similar hyperalgesia. The authors conclude that the intestinal symptoms of fibromyalgia patients may be related to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can result in overall improvement in intestinal symptoms.
"Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: A Possible Association With Fibromyalgia," Pimentel M, Chow EJ, Hallegua D, Wallace D, Lin HC, J Musculoskeletal Pain, 2001;9(3):107-113.