Widely used heartburn medications linked to increased risk of dementia

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heartburn-medication(NaturalHealth365)  Nobody likes dealing with heartburn – at best, it’s inconvenient, and at worst, it can be debilitating.  Chronic heartburn can cause esophageal damage, increasing your risk of complications such as choking, infection, or cancer.

Because of the widespread nature of chronic heartburn, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs have become a standard prescription for many Americans.  In fact, there are many brands of PPI drugs that you can currently buy over the counter without a prescription.  While these drugs work well at managing your symptoms, the long-term effects of their use are becoming more apparent.  In addition to a very real link between PPI drugs and kidney damage, new studies indicate an increased risk of dementia when using this class of heartburn medication.

Popular heartburn drugs come with a “price” too high to pay

Heartburn exists for various reasons, from a weak lower esophageal sphincter to excessive stomach acid production.  Even low stomach acid can cause chronic heartburn.  But, to be clear, if you’re suffering with chronic heartburn … your dietary habits must change to solve the situation.

For quite some time, heartburn medications focused on alleviating symptoms such as the painful acid sensation in the esophagus.  Proton pump inhibitors function by halting the overactive proton pumps responsible for excessive acid production, preventing the overflow and reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.

However, there’s a disturbing twist to these medications – their impact on the body goes beyond the initial expectations of scientists.  While antacids might cause short-term effects like altered digestion or temporary gassiness, PPIs exert a more profound influence, altering the body’s chemistry in ways previously underestimated.

Study raises concerns about long-term use of PPIs and their impact on cognitive function

Exploring the impact of heartburn treatment on cognitive health, the study examined 5,712 individuals with a mean age of 75.4 ± 5.1 years who were initially receiving heartburn treatment.  None of these patients exhibited significantly elevated dementia risk at the outset.

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Over a span of four years, the participants were closely observed during their treatment journey.  Half of them were prescribed PPI drugs, while the other half received alternative treatments.

The intriguing findings revealed a 33% higher likelihood of dementia among the PPI group.  Although this study doesn’t establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship, it certainly highlights a strong association.  Worth mentioning is the fact that the observational analysis required a minimum of 112 days of PPI use, with some patients having used this class of drugs for up to two decades.

While the exact mechanism behind the potential connection between PPIs and dementia remains uncertain, this compelling correlation raises valid concerns and prompts further inquiry.

Looking for natural ways to soothe heartburn?  Try these strategies first!

Thankfully, there’s a host of strategies you can try before resorting to the pharmaceutical route.  Taking a holistic approach to managing heartburn can not only provide relief but also contribute to overall well-being.

Here are some natural tips for finding relief from heartburn:

  1. Ginger:  Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can help soothe the digestive system.  Try ginger tea or add fresh ginger to your meals.
  2. Chamomile tea:  Chamomile has a calming effect on the digestive tract.  A cup of chamomile tea after a meal can help ease heartburn.
  3. Apple cider vinegar:  While acidic in nature, apple cider vinegar can actually help balance stomach acid levels.  Mix a tablespoon with water and drink before meals.
  4. Aloe vera juice:  Aloe vera can have a soothing effect on the esophagus and stomach lining.  Make sure you’re using pure aloe vera juice.
  5. Licorice root:  Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) has been shown to help soothe and protect the mucous lining of the stomach and esophagus.
  6. Slippery elm:  Slippery elm forms a protective layer over the stomach and esophagus, providing relief from irritation.  It’s available in powder or capsule form.
  7. Mint:  Peppermint and spearmint can help relax the muscles of the esophagus and promote better digestion.  Enjoy a cup of mint tea after a meal.
  8. Lifestyle changes:  Avoid tight clothing, large meals, and lying down after eating.  Elevate the head of your bed if you experience nighttime heartburn.
  9. Smaller, frequent meals:  Opt for smaller, more frequent meals instead of large, heavy ones.  This can help prevent excess pressure on the stomach.
  10. Hydration:  Drinking enough clean water throughout the day can help maintain proper digestion and prevent excess stomach acid.
  11. Mindful eating:  Eat slowly and mindfully, chewing your food thoroughly.  This can greatly improve your digestion and prevent overeating.
  12. Avoid trigger foods:  Certain foods like spicy, greasy, or acidic ones, as well as caffeine and alcohol, can trigger heartburn.  Identify your triggers and avoid them.

Remember, everyone’s body is different, so it might take some trial and error to find what works best for you.  If you need help, it’s always a good idea to consult with a holistic doctor or health coach before making any significant changes to your diet.

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