Proton Pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of medications that include Prilosec, Zantac and others now available over the counter or by prescription mostly to control the symptoms of reflux.
Many years ago I attended a lecture by Leo Galland, MD, a gastroenterologist turned holistic doctor and author of the excellent book entitled “The Four Pillars of Healing.” His position was that, when considering benefits versus adverse effects, there are no drugs that are worse than PPIs. According to Dr. Galland, reflux is always a result of undetected food allergy, improper diet, or yeast overgrowth. Change the diet and the problem is gone, but taking PPIs only masks the symptoms.
A new German study finally supports Dr. Galland’s views. As stated by the study’s authors: “until recently PPIs were regarded as very safe and associated with very few side effects.” However, it is now apparent that PPIs cause all sorts of adverse health effects such as:
- Osteoporosis-related fractures because PPIs prevent absorption of calcium and other minerals
- Diarrhea caused by the Clostridium difficile class of bacteria because the stomach that PPIs eliminate is our first line of defense against bacteria
- Community and hospital-acquired pneumonia because PPIs weaken immunity
- Increased rate of cardiovascular events
- Refractory hypomagnesemia, or severe deficiency of magnesium
- Rebound reflux symptoms, which simply means that PPIs themselves cause reflux with continued use
Von Rahden BH, et al; Der Chirurg (Sep 2011)