Get Healthy Ö Stay Healthy Ö Naturally


We respect your privacy.
Home About Us ANM Blog Past Issues Advisory Board Products Contact Us
Natural Health Solutions

Alzheimer's Disease Arthritis Breathe Better Cancer Diabetes Depression Detoxification Fall Prevention General Health Greater Immunity Heart Health Hair Renewal Joint Health Live Longer Lose Weight Memory Health Men's Health Mobility Problems More Energy Pain Relief Sexual Health Sleep Better Skin Care The End Stage Vision Loss Vitamins Women's Health

What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Heartburn Drugs

General Health

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Medicine

Did you know that drugs for heartburn and indigestion are among the most frequently prescribed medicines in America? Sure, these drugs can temporarily cool that burning sensation.

But hereís what your doctor probably doesnít tell you. All those antacids, proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor antagonists might just be doing more harm than good.

Antacids buffer the stomach from hydrochloric acid (HA). HA is a digestive juice essential to proper digestion. Whatís more, without enough HA, pathogenic bacteria can flourishóespecially in the intestinal tract.

HA is also essential for the activation of the enzyme pepsin. If thereís not enough pepsin in the stomach, protein isnít completely broken down.
And that can lead to stomach distress.

Whatís even more worrisome, regularly taking acid-suppressing drugs known as proton pump inhibitors just might weaken your bones and make you more vulnerable to infection.

According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, drugs like Nexium increase the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women. In this study of more than 161,000 women over age 50, scientists at the University of Washington, Seattle, discovered that those taking proton pump inhibitors had a modest increase in their risk of spine, forearm or wrist fractures in addition to total fractures.1 Taking those little purple pills also boosts the risk of bacterial infection by as much as 74%.2

Thereís also some evidence that H2 receptor antagonists like Zantac and Tagamet can increase the risk of an inflamed pancreas.

Now, while the occasional Tums probably wonít hurt you, relying on any of these acid suppressing drugs may contribute to other health problems. Plus, they donít do a darned thing to address the underlying cause of your symptoms.

When people come to me with chronic indigestion, the first thing I recommend is a good digestive enzyme supplement.

Taken with meals, these supplements boost enzyme levels so you can more fully digest the foods you eat. Look for a mixed blend of amylase, lipase and protease enzymes. Itís also smart to eat more raw fruits and vegetables, which also contain enzymes.

Hereís another favorite that often surprises my patients. Increase your acid levels with betaine hydrochloride (HCI). While it might sound counterintuitive that low HA levels can cause heartburn, this is often the case.

At least half of patients with heartburnóespecially those over age 60ódonít have enough stomach acid. To find out if you are among them, try taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar when heartburn strikes. If the pain disappears, thatís a pretty good indication that your body isnít producing enough HA. Take 600 mg of HCI at the beginning of each meal.

Here are a few more tips to quench the fire:

  • Take a multi-strain probiotic supplement with added prebiotics (including fructooligosaccharides and inulin extracted from fruits and veggies) to fight pathogens that can cause digestive upset.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals and make sure to chew your food thoroughly.
  • Try not to eat when youíre stressed. Instead take a few minutes to relax and breathe deeply before eating.
  • Avoid clothing thatís tight around the waist.
  • Donít lie down within 3 hours of eating.
  • Sleep on your left side. This keeps the stomach below the esophagus.

To heal the damage caused by GERD and acid-blocking drugs, try deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). Studies show that DGL eases heartburn symptoms and repairs the mucosal lining of the stomach.3 Simply chew two DGL tablets before eating or whenever heartburn strikes.

If youíre currently taking a proton pump inhibitor and want to switch to a safer, more natural remedy, itís important to work with your doctor. I recommend taking 500 mg of mastic gum twice a day with 75 mg of zinc carnosine for 3 to 4 weeks while you make the transition.

With so many safe natural solutions to stomach pain, itís easier than you think to cool the burn and enjoy mealtime again.

Additional Articles of Interest:

Natural Heartburn Relief
Acid Trip
Do You Suffer From Vegas Buffet Syndrome


  1. Gray SL. Proton pump inhibitor use, hip fracture, and change in bone mineral density in postmenopausal women: results from the Womenís Health Initiative. Archives of Internal Medicine. 170;765-771. 2010.
  2. Linsky A. Proton pump inhibitors and risk for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. Archives of Internal Medicine. 170:772-778. 2010.
  3. Khayyal MT. Antiulcerogenic effect of some gastrointestinally acting plant extracts and their combination. Arzneimittelforschung. 2001;51:545-553.

Home| About Us| ANM Blog| Past Issues| Advisory Board| Products| Contact Us

© Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

All material herein is provided for information only and may not be construed as personal medical advice. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The publisher is not a licensed medical care provider. The information is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy, reliability, effectiveness, or correct use of information you receive through our product, or for any health problems that may result from training programs, products, or events you learn about through the site. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. None of the information or products discussed on this site are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure any disease.

Advanced Natural Medicine does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any comments or other posted information from our readers. As such, all views expressed in the comments are solely the opinions of the individual author, and do not represent the opinions of Advanced Natural Medicine or its affiliates.

Attention Publishers, Marketers, and Webmasters!
You can republish your favorite Advanced Natural Medicine articles without charge. Leverage our powerful content on your website! Republishing our articles is simple, just include an attribution to the author(s) and the following short paragraph, in the same font size and visibility as the article: "This article appears courtesy of Advanced Natural Medicine, the natural health newsletter that lets you in on the newest discoveries and latest breakthroughs in natural medicine ď, linking Advanced Natural Medicine name to this website.