Dr. Jay's Blog

Can Your Heartburn Medication Kill You?

Date: August 1, 2017 | Time: 5:43am | Posted By: Jay Cullinane

Many people suffer from heartburn, acid reflex or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). I have never heard of anyone dropping dead after taking any kind of medication for it. But that does not mean any of these medications are without risk of causing harm.
When people first start having heartburn, they usually take an antacid to relieve the symptoms. And it works. Well, it works for a while. The heartburn often gets worse and something more powerful is needed to have the same symptom relief. So, the next step is to take a drug that blocks the production of stomach acid. The two common types are PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) and H2 blockers. Histamine in the stomach stimulates the production of stomach acid. H2 blockers keep histamine from doing that.

These drugs are meant to be used for a short time. The Food and Drug Administration guidelines state that PPIs should be use for 4 to 8 weeks to treat the symptoms of GERD. They may be used for up to 6 months for people who are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They may be used long term for the rare condition Zollinger- Ellison Syndrome. But how many people are taking them for longer periods than are recommended by the FDA?

PPIs are more commonly prescribed than H2 blockers. PPIs include dexlansoprazole (Dexilant, Dexilant SoluTab, Kapidex), esomeprazole (Nexium, Nexium 24HR, Vimovo), lansoprazole (Prevacid, Prevacid 24HR, Prevacid SoluTab), omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC, Zegerid, Zegerid OTC),pantoprazole (Protonix)and rabeprazole (Aciphex, Aciphex Sprinkle). There are two PPIs that are combined with amoxicillin and clarithromycin to treat H. pylori infections. There are Omeclamox-Pak (omeprazole) and Prevpac (lansoprazole).

All PPIs have the common possible side effects of diarrhea, headaches and vitamin B12 deficiency with long-term use. Most PPIs also have common possible side effects of abdominal pain, flatulence, nausea and vomiting. All PPIs have the possible serious side effects of anaphylaxis, C. difficile-associated diarrhea, fractures, hypersensitivity reactions, low serum magnesium with long term use, interstitial nephritis, lupus erythematosus, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Until 2017, not much was known about how PPIs affect all cause mortality. Then a study that used data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs was published that followed new users of PPIs and H2 blockers for an average of 5.71 years. Compared to the H2 blocker users, PPI users had a higher mortality rate. PPIs did not kill anyone directly, but, they increased the risk of death. That was within six years of starting to take a PPI. The authors of the study concluded that "Limiting PPI use and duration to instances where it is medically indicated may be warranted."

This certainly sounds terrible, but, it is worse than it sounds when you look at it from another perspective.

Since antacids, PPIs and H2 blockers relieve the symptoms of acid reflex, it is assumed that too much stomach acid is being produced. What else could it be? Well, when you look at how the body works, a very different answer becomes obvious.

You produce stomach acid to breakdown protein and ionize minerals so they can be absorbed easily. There are bands of muscle (sphincters) around either end of the stomach that squeeze shut to keep the acid in the stomach.
Think of protein as if it were a ball of yarn. The stomach acid unrolls the ball. An enzyme that is produced in the stomach cuts the yarn into small pieces. When the contents of the stomach become acidic enough, the bottom sphincter opens and lets a little of the food out. The stomach acid triggers the release of bicarbonate from the pancreas to neutralize the acid and also triggers the release of enzymes to further breakdown the food, including the small pieces of protein that were broken down in the stomach.

Protein stimulates the production of stomach acid. Carbohydrates don't. The typical Western diet has a lot of carbohydrates compared to protein. So, the stomach acid production is reduced. The decreased stomach acid does not ionize minerals, including zinc, as well as it should and that decreases their absorption. Zinc is needed to make stomach acid, so, less stomach acid is made. And on and on it goes.

The sphincter at the junction of the esophagus and stomach closes in the presence of stomach acid. If you don't want stomach acid burning the esophagus, doesn't it make sense that the sphincter there should close if there is stomach acid present?

In over 90% of cases when a doctor actually runs a test to see how much stomach acid is being produced, too little stomach acid is produced in cases of acid reflux. That esophageal sphincter does not close completely because there is too little stomach acid to do the job. What little acid is there now can get into the esophagus and cause the symptoms.

If you have heartburn, acid reflex or GERD, consult a doctor who understands this. The treatment will include changing the diet and correcting nutritional deficiencies. If you don't have an ulcer or severe gastritis, a supplement of stomach acid will also be part of the treatment until you can once again make enough of your own stomach acid.

I endorse no products.

The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided is not a substitute for medical counseling. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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A Low Fat Diet Food Will Make You Fat

Date: July 1, 2017 | Time: 8:47am | Posted By: Jay Cullinane

Yes, you read that correctly. Eating low fat food will make you fat. How can that be? That's not what medical doctors have been telling you for the past 40 years!
To make sense of this paradoxical statement, we need to take a step back in time.

For centuries, the scientific method has been used to increase our understanding of how things work. The standard used was creating experiments where only one factor was changed and the results of that change were measured. If the experiment could be repeated and the same results duplicated, then, it was proved that changing that factor would always have that same result and only that result. This worked very well for physic problems. It is how the acceleration of gravity was determined. This works for some simple health issues, such as the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria causes tuberculosis.

Medical science has advanced by using the scientific method. There is a major drawback to this approach. When one answer is found, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria causing tuberculosis, humans tend to stop asking questions. Health is a complex system. Simple answers are rarely the complete answer. Medical science has never answered... How come everybody that is exposed to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria does not get full blown tuberculosis? A doctor may say that one person's immune system protected them from getting tuberculosis and another's did not. But, they never explain why someone's immune system failed to protect them. They found an infectious bacteria and know what antibiotic to prescribe and that is all they need to know. Their paradigm creates a tunnel vision.

You also have to keep in mind that the vast majority of medical doctors have not studied any nutrition. That is slowly changing, but, it is still only a small part of the education of those medical doctors. In the first half of the 20th century, many medical doctors belittled the importance of nutrition in health.

In the early investigations of heart disease, the plaques in the arteries of people who died of heart attacks were found to contain cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in fatty foods. Medical doctors without training in nutrition and with the tunnel vision of the scientific method assumed that the cholesterol in the plaques was coming from the cholesterol in the diet. What else could it be?

When the results of the decades long Framington Heart Study was released, it was found that a higher than average serum cholesterol level was associated with a higher than average risk of heart disease. It did not claim that cholesterol caused heart disease. It was only an association. The study coined the phrase risk factor to describe the association. The medical establishment with the scientific method tunnel vision assumed that this was proof that it was the dietary fat and cholesterol that was causing heart disease. They ignored that the Framington Heart Study also found that the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person's serum cholesterol.

The statin drugs used to lower cholesterol work by blocking an enzyme that leads to the production of cholesterol. That enzyme is stimulated by insulin. Insulin increases when your blood glucose (blood sugar) increases. Blood glucose increases when you eat sugar which is half glucose and half fructose or starch which is all glucose. It is sugar and starch that increases you cholesterol.

When a new medical treatment is proposed, studies are first done on an animal model of the disease. If those studies are successful, ethically designed human trials are done. If those studies are successful, the treatment can be approved for the general population.

In the 1970s, the medical establishment started advocating the adoption of a low fat diet to reduce the risk of heart disease. In 1980, the first US Dietary Guidelines for Americans was published. It advocated a low fat diet. Because of the medical establishment's tunnel vision and belittling of nutrition, no animal or human studies were done on this proposed diet change. It's only food. What could happen? A giant experiment began on the entire population.

When food manufactures removed fat from their products, they also removed most of the taste. To compensate for that (and to be able to sell low fat food) sugar and taste enhancers were added.

What was the result of this grand experiment?

The obesity epidemic began. Type 2 diabetes skyrocketed. Type 2 diabetes, of course, raises the risk of heart disease. Isn't that what the medical establishment was trying to decrease?

In May 2017, a study was published that compared rats fed a balanced diet to rats fed a high fat, high sugar diet and rats fed a low fat high sugar diet that was meant to imitate popular diet foods. Where was this study 40 years ago?

Compared to the balanced diet rats, both the high fat high sugar rats and the low fat high sugar rats had significant increases in body fat and liver fat. The rats fed a low fat high sugar diet were twice as efficient at storing fat as the balanced diet rats. The low fat high sugar rats also had more liver damage and brain inflammation.

Doing simple experiments like this 40 years ago would have halted the low fat diet advice of the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, prevented the obesity epidemic, stopped the rise of type 2 diabetes and save untold pain and suffering.

Low fat foods will not help you lose weight. They will make you fat. It's time to stop being a guinea pig of the low fat diet!

Please feel free to share the health with your friends and family.

I endorse no products.

The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided is not a substitute for medical counseling. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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