Originally posted by Dr. Davis on 2015-02-26
on the Wheat Belly Blog,
sourced from and currently found at: Infinite Health Blog.
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Georgann gets rid of acid blocking medication
Tens of millions of people take prescription and over-the-counter drugs to suppress stomach acid production. Such drugs are the third most commonly prescribed drugs in the nation.
It is very common for people who engage in the Wheat Belly lifestyle to obtain relief from acid reflux/heartburn/esophagitis within several days of kissing their last bagel or bowl of bran cereal goodbye. But what to do with the acid blocking drugs that you may have been taking?
Georgann shares her experience with the Wheat Belly lifestyle and getting off acid reflux drugs.
I am reading the new book, Wheat Belly Total Health, and I had to send you a note.
Before I found Wheat Belly, I had been taking Prevacid for over 10 years. I couldn’t go more than 48 hours without it or I would be in terrible pain, pain beyond regular acid discomfort. Even after dropping wheat, it hurt terribly.
I got online and discovered others reporting severe withdrawal from these type of drugs. Determined to be drug-free, I weaned off of it. This involved going from prescription level to over-the-counter, then spreading that out until I could step away from it.
My new doctor, the very informed man who led me to your work, was amazed when I told him I broke the addiction.
I just want to say thank you so much for helping me be drug-free and giving me back personal responsibility for my own health. This is the first year in my 51 years I have not used an antibiotic for anything. I have returned to my homesteading, seasonal eating, and organic food roots from childhood. Life is better everyday. My heart goes out to those who have become dependent on acid blockers. Those drugs are an evil lie: just because you are not in pain does not mean you are well. Thanks again and keep changing lives!
Getting off such acid blocking drugs is a real plus for Georgann’s health. Taking such drugs increases likelihood of a number of health problems, including:
- Dysbiosis–Suppressed stomach acid changes bowel flora in unhealthy ways. Disruption of bowel flora composition cascades into other health consequences, such as body-wide inflammation, increased potential for autoimmune diseases, disrupted bowel habits, and increased risk for bowel cancer. While typically a post-antibiotic problem, acid blockers also raise the likelihood of overgrowth of Clostridium difficile, a very toxic organism that causes life-threatening intestinal infections.
- Vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies
- Osteoporosis, osteopenia, and bone fractures
- Pneumonia–the lack of stomach acid allows the stomach (normally a nearly sterile organ) to become colonized with bacteria. Reflux of stomach contents, e.g., during sleep, seeds the airways and lungs, leading to infections.
- Failed recovery of stomach acid production when the drug(s) are stopped (hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria).
Potential for problems are compounded by the fact that most people take these acid blocking drugs for extended periods, typically many years, while sometimes even taking more than one form (e.g., prescription drug + over-the-counter drug) for inadequately treated symptoms, which is common.
Georgann removed the cause of so much gastrointestinal disruption–wheat and grains–no longer needing the drug to suppress this effect. But, as her experience demonstrates, many people experience an acid producing “rebound” effect, i.e., a period of increased stomach acid production when the drug is stopped. She did the right thing: wean the drug off over an extended period.
Additional efforts to help you get off these drugs, as well as to know what to do with hypo- or achlorhydria, can be found in an extended discussion in Wheat Belly Total Health.