Proton pump inhibitors (also called PPIs), one of the most commonly prescribed classes of drugs in the industrialized world, reduce the production of acid by the stomach. They do this by irreversibly blocking the actions of an enzyme responsible for acid production. They are allowed for ulcer treatment and other gastrointestinal disorders characterized by excessive acid secretion The category includes drugs as Aciphex, Prevacid, Nexium, Vegerid, Kapidex, Prilosec, Dexilant and more.
Those indigestion pills are taken daily by millions, prescribed worldwide. From statistics, in 2014 Americans filled more than 170 million prescriptions for acid blockers. But proton pumps aren’t limited to the stomach; they are present in just about every cell in our body. All of the cells, with the exception of red blood cells, have mitochondria that allow the body to metabolize carbohydrates and fat to produce energy. Proton pumps are also important in the transport of various substances in the body. Although generally assumed to be safe, recent studies have shown that such drugs have numerous side effects, from an altered gut environment and impaired nutrient absorption to an increased risk for cardiovascular events, kidney disease, and dementia. Though PPIs don’t stay in the blood for very long, their binding to proton pumps is essentially irreversible, they will continue to inhibit the proton pump for longtime. Opportunistic pathogens, including Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and E. coli, tended to be more prevalent in the guts of PPI users. Those who used acid blockers also had an increased chance of acquiring Clostridium difficile, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria, and community-acquired pneumonia. The effects of PPIs on bone health is causing nutrient deficiency. PPIs also reduce production of nitric oxide, a natural substance that promotes the dilation of blood vessels and improves blood flow. PPIs may also damage blood vessel cell. The kidneys are also affected by PPIs. Collectively, studies suggest that PPIs are not as safe as they are made out to be. There are some alternatives to avoid them and not only using drugs: eating a low-carb diet and resolving low stomach acid which results in bacterial overgrowth.