Did you guys know that proton pump inhibitors or PPIs (as they will know be known throughout the rest of this article) are the third best selling drug ever for big phama? In the hospital, nearly every patient is on a PPI. What do PPIs do? They lower the acidity of the stomach. The stomach makes HCL or hydrochloric acid to protect pathogens from invading your gut where nutrients and often sugar are found! In a gut with a pH of 3 or less, bacteria only last 30 minutes. PPIs raise the pH to 5 or above and then contribute to a myriad of diseases due to a breached immune barrier-your stomach!
Once the pH is abnormally raised (alkaline), bacterial overgrowth occurs because the stomach is the perfect place to have a steady supply of nutrition. Bacterial overgrowth and maleficent bacterial strains cause improper digestion of carbohydrates. The byproduct of partial digestion is gas and bloating. This causes increased pressure in the abdomen & the distention pushes against the lower esophageal sphincter, causing it to become loose. This malfunction allows acid to reflux from the stomach into the esophagus. Ouch!
A healthy acidic ph in the gut is necessary for digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health. A higher ph or more alkaline gut means calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, iron and magnesium aren’t absorbed properly. The hypothesis is because the higher pH allows guy infestation with pathogens and/or gut permeability resulting in multiple symptoms including GERD and indigestion. This leads to anemia, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, stomach cancer, inflammation and leaky gut. Studies have confirmed that PPIs are playing a large role in contraction of C Diff (complete overpopulation of the gut with a pathogen and eradication of gut flora) and likely contributing to the epidemic of H, Pylori. (We are still treating H pylori with antibiotics and PPIs-this is destruction to our gut flora.)
This means PPIs are helping in the short term and creating disastrous long term problems Studies have shown that PPIs can profoundly alter the bacterial population by halting production of stomach acid. One Italian study found small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in 50% of patients using PPIs, compared to only 6% of healthy control subjects. The prevalence of SIBO increased after only one year of PPI treatment. Millions of patients are left on this drug for years
So we briefly discussed micronutrient malabsorption due to PPIs but did you know that a pH of 3 or below (acidic) is needed for proper digestion of macronutrients too, especially of proteins. Acidity plays a crucial role in triggering pepsin which is the enzyme needed to digest proteins. When acidity is missing and alkalinity is present, pepsin is not released and proteins are left undigested. This means essential amino acids are not being absorbed by the body. This eventually leads to depression, anxiety, mood disorders, insomnia and poor immunity. Moreover, undigested proteins can enter the bloodstream through leaky gut and cause the inflammation cascade to trigger within the body. Chronic inflammation leads some to develop autoimmune disorders like diabetes, Chrohns, ulcerative colitis or rheumatoid arthritis, as the body begins to attack the foreign particles within its own body. It is continually stimulating your immune system until it becomes overactive. The body sees the inflammation as similar to an attack by bacteria or viruses. Leaky gut and autoimmune conditions go hand in hand. Studies have shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have low stomach acid. The lower the acid, the longer the patients had been diagnosed with RA. Leaky gut also ties in with food allergies, acne and skin eruptions, recurrent infections and mood disorders.
Remember that low stomach acid can cause heartburn and GERD!
Now that we have seen that we should probably avoid PPIs, how do we treat acid reflux? You must put in the work to change your life. Eliminate all sugar and carbs from the diet with the exception of low sugar fruits and vegetables. Carbs cause low acid and pathogens feed off the sugar they are converted to within your body. Apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime water, and an alkaline diet will all help correct the ph to protect immunity in the gut. HCL tablets are useful as well as long as there Is NOT concurrent use of aspirin, ibuprofen, steroids, or NSAIDS. Remember the problem is usually low acid! A complete fast for 24-36 hours can be helpful followed by a colon cleanse with coffee enemas, parasite cleanses or herbs should be attempted by an herbalist or naturopath. Remember to always chew your food slowly, do not drink extremely hot or cold liquids, drink kefir, kombucha, take probiotics, avoid sweeteners or sugar, eat small meals throughout the day, exercise (helps meals digest faster and propels food through the GI tract), eat fermented foods and relax! Bitter herbs are also helpful in producing an effective esophageal sphincter and eliminating GERD. A few of them include dandelion, ginger, goldenseal, peppermint, wormwood (great for parasites too), and milk thistle.