Do you have GERD, also known as acid reflux for short?
Do you take a PPI medication for acid reflux?
Do you have diabetes or prediabetes?
Are you overweight?
What’s the connection with all of these?
That’s why I’m writing this article. So many of my patients over the years have had GERD and take medication for years to control the acid reflux. But these medications were not meant to be used long term and can have side effects that lead to other health problems.
Just this month a study came across my email and this is the headline: Proton pump inhibitors increase CVD, mortality risk for adults with type 2 diabetes
Basically the article is saying that if you are an adult with type 2 diabetes, and use a proton pump inhibitor (see examples below) medication you may have a higher risk for heart problems. That’s disturbing to me because just having diabetes increases the risk of heart problems. So if you also take a PPI medication for acid reflux does that add to the risk?
Let’s backtrack for a bit and review some basics.
What are proton pump inhibitors? (aka PPI’s)
The most common PPI that my patients are on is omeprazole, the generic version of Prilosec. Some of the more commonly known brand names are Prevacid, Protonix and Nexium. These are the medications prescribed for acid reflux and to prevent stomach ulcers.
This article talks about some of the long term risks of these medications, such as bone fractures, bacterial infections and vitamin deficiencies.
What’s the diabetes and belly weight connection?
If you have diabetes and take metformin you are already at risk of low B12 and taking PPI just increases that risk.
According to this article, 40% of people with diabetes have GERD.
Why would that be?
In short it is probably one of 3 reasons, or a combination of them:
- High blood sugars over time
- Extra weight around the belly
- Not getting good nutrition
The nerves that control your digestion are automatic, meaning it all happens without you having to worry about it normally. But with diabetes, over time the higher than normal blood sugars can wear on all parts of your body, including the nerves that control digestion. Then food moves more slowly through your digestive tract. That can cause reflux, heartburn, nausea, and constipation.
If you eat alot of processed foods , greasy foods or sweets you are more likely to have heartburn. These foods can cause slow digestion, inflammation, and just don’t have the fiber, vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Too much extra weight around the belly also increases the risk of having acid reflux. This is similar to what happens in pregnancy. The extra weight makes things crowded and puts more pressure on the stomach area, so acid is more likely to back up into the esophagus, creating the heartburn feeling. I have noticed that many of my pregnant patients get relief from heartburn once they learn how to manage their carb food choices.
So here’s my straight talk on nutrition and health.
The bottom line: Poor diet and health habits are at the root of most of our chronic health problems.
But instead of really focusing on why we have the health problem we too often go for the easy way out and just take a pill to cover up the discomfort.
The problem with that solution: Everything in our body is connected. You can continue to cover up symptoms or you can get to the root of the problem.
Unless you just have a physical structure problem in your body, nutrition is often at the root of the problem.
Everything we put in our body is either healing or harming us.
We are never going to eat perfectly, but why should we think that we can continue to put harmful food and chemicals in our body and then be surprised when we end up with health problems?
Is nutrition a better option? Consider this . . .
“Your body holds deep wisdom.
Trust in it.
Learn from it.
Watch your life transform and be healthy.”
– Bella Bleue
Please don’t ever stop your medication without talking to your doctor. Nutrition is not the solution for everyone.
But if you ARE looking for help with wellness transformation through better nutrition, I would love to chat with you.