Ever heard of the antacids Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta, , Rolaids, or TUMS?
How about the proton pump inhibitors Prevacid, Prilosec, Aciphex, or Nexium? Or the H2 blockers Zantac, Tagamet, and Pepcid AC.
This could be a list of who’s who in drugs.
What do these drugs have in common (other than a HUGE marketing budget)??
They all reduce stomach acid, either by neutralizing it or blocking its production. They also earn a ton of money.
The problem with all this is that you actually need your stomach acid. You don’t need a medical degree to understand that the acid in the stomach is there for a good reason – to help you digest your food.
Drug companies have created a market for these products based on the premise that acid is the enemy, and that if you have acid reflux, then you’ve got too much acid. Keep fighting it with these miracle drugs and it won’t win.
However, scientific studies have demonstrated that this is simply not the case. It’s quite rare to have too much acid. 40 million people do not have super acidic stomachs. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. It’s much more common to have inadequate stomach acid. Decreasing stomach acid may temporarily solve the burn, but it won’t cure the problem.
Over time it will also create many more problems, and the longer you go on knocking it down, the further your health declines Finally, these drugs have many side effects, including heartburn (ironically), diarrhea, constipation, and many others. Whatever the name — acid reflux disease, GERD, or heartburn — there is a much better way than drugs.
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Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of two books on solving digestive disorders, and a nationally recognized speaker on IBS. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio. He was recently named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.