Are millions of Americans born with a genetic defect that produces too much stomach acid? Do we need powerful acid blocking dugs to prevent heartburn or reflux (aka as GERD)? Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is heartburn renamed by the drug companies in their continuing effort to invent diseases for the pleasure of our TV viewing. Do we not enjoy the great commercials of someone stuffing pizza, sausage, fried food, telling us viewers “its OK because I took my acid blocker.” Acid blocking drugs are the third top selling class of drugs in America and account for nearly 300 billion dollars in sales to the pharmaceutical companies annually. When these drugs first came on the market there were warnings on how powerful they were and advised only for ulcerated patients for only a period of six weeks. Now of course they are eaten like candy.
Our natural production of stomach acid is necessary to digest and convert food to the millions of biochemical pathways. Stomach acid activates digestive enzymes not only in the stomach but in your small intestines. Absorption of minerals and vitamins like calcium, magnesium and B12 initially start in the stomach, but much more action goes on in the small intestines. Once we suppress stomach acid with an acid blocker, not only do we block active enzymes, we can cause a dangerous overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestines leading to threatening infections, abdominal pain and diarrhea. It is common knowledge the acid blockers block calcium and therefore cause bone density issues. What is not so apparent is that long term blocking of synthesis of vital nutrients particularly glutathione (necessary for repair of DNA and a power antioxidant) causes depression, aggression, nerve damage, fatigue, even dementia. It may be hard for you to swallow but what effects our stomach, effects our brain. Studies have demonstrated a bidirectional conversation in which the brain speaks to the gut and the gut to the brain. These conversations have dramatic implications for new ways to heal mental illnesses and neurodegenerative diseases such as autism, alzheimers, MS and depression.
Indigestion is often viewed by doctors as a minor disorder yet the gut is literally and figuratively the center of our health. Our understanding and treatment of this highly sophisticated and integral part of the body is quite primitive and even with the explosion of scientific research goes largely ignored. MD’s often treat the symptoms of this one system, the gut, without regard to how it effects another system. It seems like they would know all our systems are intimately connected and all functions are linked.
The long term use of acid blockers is kind of a catch 22 dilemma. Once you diminished your stomach acid by use of a acid blocker, the stomach brain sends out a signal to produce more acid. It is easy to see why there is no escape for cyclical dependency. Lack of stomach acid in the US is called hypochlorhydria and it is becoming a common problem. It is the direct result of the long term use of antacids. If your doctor has convinced you that your reflux in unique, (probably because of some esophagus defect) it is because he does not fully understand how nutrition works. Seek out an naturopath. Compared to naturopaths, MD’s do not come close to understanding how food works in the body.