This is one PPI call you really should know about 

Friday 19 June, 2015  

  • Do you suffer from this common stomach complaint?

  • Discover the horrifying truth about increased heart attacks from PPI use
  • It is about time the medical profession began making sense
At any gathering, my grandfather was his own worst enemy.

He used the party atmosphere as an excuse to polish off all the cheap whisky in the house (especially if it wasn't HIS house).

What's more, he couldn't resist a single treat offered to him.

Nuts, cake, sandwiches heavily laden with sauces and pickles... you name it, he washed it down.

And it would be entirely OUR fault.

'Ooh,' he'd angrily exclaim, swaying to his feet at the end of each night. 'You lot shouldn't have fed me all that grub. I'll never get to sleep tonight.'

And off he'd go to bed, grimacing and rubbing his chest and belching – nan was so lucky to have found such a versatile man.

I used to think this was just a theatrical gesture, done for our benefit. But these days I know that he was suffering a common digestive problem.

It's one that he could have avoided, had he known what I'm about to tell you...

Have you heard of GERD?

Now, we all know that going to sleep on a full stomach of spicy food can cause heartburn to flare up and spoil your night. If you suffer from night time heartburn, it may not be bad eating habits that are causing the problem...

It may be GERD.

G.E.R.D. (or Gastroesophageal Reflux) can be the result of a faulty Lower Esophageal Sphincter valve that is damaged and fails to close properly...

Or it could be a possible stomach problem such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, H.pylori bacterium...

Or your pH levels might be out of balance...

Whatever the problem is, they all increase the pressure in the stomach which forces the Lower Esophageal Sphincter valve to open just enough to allow stomach acids and gases to escape and creep back up into your gut.

If this happens regularly over a period of time, the constant attack of your stomach acids (which should be safely stored away but are escaping) can cause sores to form on your oesophagus,
especially at night when you're lying down and the acids can settle.

This condition is known as erosive GERD... a nasty disease that's best to tackle as early as possible.

Recent research though has shown a massive medical dilemma for GPs when it comes to treating this condition...

...and it is one which puts patient’s lives at risk.

Heartburn drugs linked to major heart problems

Commonly conditions like increased indigestion, heartburn, reflux and GERD are treated by a group of drugs called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs).

These include omeprazole, lansoprazole and esomeprazole and they work by preventing the stomach from producing acid that is the cause of irritation to the gut and oesophageal linings.

They are one of the most widely used prescription medications with around eight million people on them in the UK alone, in addition though they are freely available from chemists so no-one knows how much is being taken.

However, new research from a huge project in the USA(1) has definitively proven a link between these heartburn drugs and serious heart conditions.

The study carried out by Stanford University in California concluded, after examining the medical records of over three million patients, that people taking PPIs were between 16 and 21% more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Such a massive and well controlled study cannot be ignored by the medical profession.

But perhaps the findings from this research should really start to make the medics begin to look at the true cause and effect process rather than the drug led quick fix.

And once they have done that with GERD and other forms of heartburn maybe they could do the same with a few more conditions.

The vicious acid circle

Many of the issues associated with my granddad's problems, and those of all heartburn sufferers, are due to the acid produced in the stomach.

We need this powerful chemical to help us with digestion and also to protect our gut from potentially harmful bacteria in food, but it is so corrosive that our stomachs are lined with a protective layer of mucus.

Problems arise when this mucus layer is weakened and the acid begins to damage the cells in the organ wall, or where the strong muscular band at the entrance to the stomach weakens and the acid leaks back through.

What we eat plays a part in this, and gramps is the perfect example of where excess alcohol, pickles, fats and smoking (he was a devil for that one too!) especially late in the day can cause problems.

Back in the heady days of our family parties though all the food was homemade and you had to really try to be a glutton, however, nowadays the sugar-potent, synthetic and over-produced mush we are prompted to eat by the food industry is basically indigestion central.

Being able to eat plenty of wholesome fibre, fresh fruit and seasonal vegetables at the right times of day and in the right quantities used to be how we all lived before the evil fingers of big business got their way.

Our GPs should all be campaigning for a return to the days of simple home cooked food, made from local ingredients rather than turning to a prescription drug for help. If they did they might discover that the honest cabbage could be the answer...

...more of this on Sunday, make sure you keep a look out in your inbox.

Yours, as always



(1) Shah, N. H., LePendu, P., Bauer-Mehren, A., Ghebremariam, Y. T., Iyer, S. V., Marcus, J., ... & Leeper, N. J. (2015). Proton pump inhibitor usage and the risk of myocardial infarction in the general population. PloS one, 10(6), e012465



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