New Warning About Heartburn Medications

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Heartburn is one of the most common GI problems in America. It is a condition where stomach acid is regurgitated up into the esophagus giving rise to symptoms such as chest discomfort, wheezing, asthma, hiccups, and hoarseness. Acid reflux can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus and should be taken seriously.

Heartburn medications are widely available, both by prescription and over-the-counter. They work by blocking stomach acid from being produced. As a result, they disrupt the body’s ability to absorb calcium, along with other important minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. High doses of these medications or duration of use longer than 1 year have been associated with an increased risk of fractures to the hip, wrist and spine. This concern has led to a recent FDA announcement that popular heartburn medications such as Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium will now come with a warning linking them to an increased risk for fractures. The FDA has also advised that the over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors (Prevacid, Prilosec, and Zegerid) should only be taken for a maximum of 14 days.

If you are taking a proton pump inhibitor, to best support your bones, it is recommended that you take a high-quality calcium supplement, such as Pathway Bone Guardian. And, continue to engage in weight-bearing exercise, monitor your bone mineral density, and vitamin D levels.

I also think that it is critical to uncover the root cause(s) of acid reflux. Common factors include obesity, smoking, food sensitivities, eating too much or too quickly, eating too close to bedtime, stress and adrenal exhaustion, structural problems, and alcohol use. In terms of natural support, taking measures to aid in stress reduction, enhance digestion, and heal esophageal tissue are the top priorities. Helpful ingredients include: chamomile, DGL licorice, digestive enzymes, marshmallow, slippery elm, L-glutamine, and aloe. There are many great products available for stress management and digestive health. Some of my favorites include Pathway Adrenal Support, Pathway Digase, and Pathway Perma Plus.

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August 2010
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