The Problem with Acid Blockers

The topic of proton pump inhibiting drugs, or PPIs, otherwise known as acid blockers, has been a topic near and dear to my heart recently because my father, who is very medically indoctrinated, has been on a PPI for YEARS, and is now very sick with some of the side effects, such as extreme fatigue, stomach distension, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO.  He was also diagnosed with bladder cancer, and a 2011 study showed that PPIs are linked to cancer, although the form of cancer analyzed in that study was esophageal cancer. 

So in researching this topic for the benefit of my father, I discovered that PPI’s were never intended to be used long term anyway, even by the standards of the drug companies who make them.  Yet my Dad and countless other PPI users have been on them for years. 

If you know even basic physiology, it’s not really rocket science to know that suppressing the stomach acid at all, especially for stretches of years, is a really, really bad idea.  Stomach acid is the first line of defense against pathogenic bacteria, it stimulates peristalsis, it initiates bile secretion, and of course it helps to assimilate important nutrients like B-vitamins, minerals, and protein, just to name a few.

Let’s just consider SIBO for a moment.  If stomach acid is suppressed, it allows some pathogens to survive in the stomach that would otherwise be eliminated, leading to infections of the stomach like H. Pylori.  But then that pathogenic bacteria gets transported into the small intestine, and later the bowel, and can also go systemic, leading to all different kinds of potential maladies related to that circulating bacteria. 

Likewise, suppressing the stomach acid can lead to putrefaction of food in the stomach, leading to halitosis, distension, and more problems with indigestion.

And actually, this is where the whole maddening thing about using acid blockers in the first place needs to be addressed, because the whole idea about acid reflux being a manifestation of too much acid represents a lack of understanding, in some cases, of stomach physiology. 

Think about it.  Our stomachs have these cool little muscles at the top called the esophageal sphincter, which pinches off and blocks the acid from reaching the esophagus.  That muscle is activated by, guess what?  Stomach acid!  If a patient has hypchlorhydria, or low stomach acid, that muscle’s action can be inhibited, and it might not activate like normal, resulting in what little stomach is there reaching the esophagus.  Now, even a little acid in the esophagus is very irritating, and the medical interpretation is, “Oh! You have too much stomach acid.  Let’s block it.”  No, that patient probably has too LITTLE stomach acid, but the manifestation is burning in the chest and throat.

Here’s an example that I think will be helpful and applicable.  One Thanksgiving my older sister was at our house sharing the Thanksgiving meal with us, and afterward she sat down on my couch holding her stomach and moaning.  When I asked what was wrong, she said she had been struggling with indigestion and acid reflux for a long time, and she was having another episode.  So I gave her three tablets of a product containing betaine HCl and pepsin, or stomach acid.  In about 20 minutes she felt so much better that she had to ask me what it was that I gave her.   Sometimes if the problem is mild you can accomplish the same thing with apple cider vinegar.  I have had some success with that approach as well.

Now, having a patient go off a PPI can be tricky, because the parietal cells in the stomach have been suppressed for so long that sometimes it can trigger a strong rebound effect.  So to fight that, I would recommend having a combination powder containing DGL, aloe, and glutamine.  That combination is great in helping to soothe the discomfort associated with acid reflux while the patient is weaning off the drug. 

I also had a practitioner just this past week tell me that she gives magnesium to patients coming off long term PPIs because it helps get peristalsis going again, so I thought that was good insight. 

Feel free to reach out me if you need some product guidance.

Andy Robbins is a functional medicine consult.  He has been in the field of clinical nutrition for 23 years.

Why Does Yoga Feel So GOOD?

Have you ever noticed that certain stretches feel a little bit like your muscles are being set on fire? Does it confuse you a little bit when your yoga teacher suggests that they’re creating that sensation on purpose?

Maybe I can explain.

That burning sensation, which yogis refer to as agni (the divine fire that cleanses and purifies) is a little bit like eating spicy food. When you eat spicy food, your mouth sends a signal to your brain saying, hey, some
thing’s on fire over here. A little help, please?!”

Your brain accommodates that request by sending endorphins. You learn that the pain of spicy food is going to be quickly followed by an enjoyable hit of endorphins, so you eat some more spicy food. On purpose.

Yoga can work in similar ways. Your muscles stretch, and in the process send that message to your brain. 

“Hey, look! Fire! Little help?!?” Your brain sends endorphins. 

In addition to the endorphin hit, you also leave the stretch with your muscle and myofascial tissues loosened and lubricated, so everything not only feels a little better but works a little more smoothly too.

This may be one of the reasons yoga feels so addictive. It creates positive sensations in the body, and over time it takes deeper and deeper stretches to kick in those delightful endorphins. Not to worry, though.  Yogis have anticipated the need for increasingly challenging poses and there are plenty to choose from as your practice advances.

Join Lisa Meece on Tuesdays, 9:30-10:45am for all levels Vinyasa/Hatha or 11:00-12:15pm for Yin.  

Full Schedule Here

Reiki Healing for Body & Mind

“Reiki is a key that opens the door to your heart and helps you heal your life.” – Marsha Burack, author of Reiki: Healing Yourself and Others

What Is Reiki?

Reiki, pronounced “ray-key” is comprised of two Japanese words, “rei” – translates as universal, God, Spirit, Divine, love, consciousness, a higher being or power. “Ki” is the life force energy or life-giving energy. Therefore Reiki is most simply translated as universal life force energy, or spiritually guided life force energy. 

As a master Reiki practitioner, I guide a Reiki session by engaging the recipient’s energy through breathing techniques, hand gestures, subtle movement, and various other ways to allow the receiver to heal themselves through their own pure life force energy. Continue reading

Bringing Yoga Principles to Social Media

Lately, yoga has brought my Monkey Mind into deeper thoughts.  Deeper thoughts about, you guessed it, Creation itself. Woah and Holy Moly!

Dear yoga friends, Creation is a gift and a God-given right.  Creation lives inside each one of us with the spoken and written word, in music, poetry, theatre;  Creation with the body, hands or face; or physical forms such as buildings, roads, art, or machinery; and nowadays, in the form of social media.  

Bruno Gomiero

Yogis have understood for centuries that it is not always easy to create with Intention, Mindfulness, and above all, Purpose and Love.  Especially in today’s technological era, and dare I say caustic environment, speed, not Purpose or Love, matters.   Continue reading

Get Back to Great: Beat Inflammation with the Paleo Diet

Katie Smith

Almost every chronic health issue is due to inflammation.  As a naturopathic doctor, it’s my job to find the root cause of this inflammation. 

Many people don’t even notice their inflammation responses because they don’t fully know what it feels like to not have inflammation.  I have been recommending the Paleo Diet for years because it removes inflammatory foods and increases the patient’s awareness of the foods that make them feel sluggish or ill. 

The cause of Inflammation from foods can have many sources. As an example, casein (milk protein) can cause a histamine response. Another example is wheat gluten. Wheat  gluten is hard to digest.  On top of that, wheat now has 40-50% more gluten in it than it did 50 years ago making it more difficult to digest and potentially causing leaky gut.  Continue reading

Chronic Stress & the Three Stages of Adrenal Fatigue 

Ben White

Stress is a natural and healthy reaction to everyday life problems. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is healthy and necessary when released at appropriate times.  

Stress factors such as mental/emotional stress, sleep cycle disturbances, blood sugar imbalances, and inflammation trigger the release of cortisol.  In appropriate doses, this is a healthy response, but when these factors compound for prolonged periods of time, cortisol is released too frequently and causes physical, mental and emotional symptoms. 

Without a proper balance between cortisol and DHEA (the hormone that balances cortisol), cortisol becomes a burden on the body. Overtime, this can result in adrenal fatigue.  Chronic stress release of cortisol takes its toll on the body in three stages of adrenal fatigue: Hyper, Dominant, or Hypo.   Continue reading

SWEAT SWEAT SWEAT! 6 Health Benefits of Infrared Saunas

Sweat.  Not cool. 

If I could avoid getting sweaty, I totally would.  

I’ve never liked steam saunas.  I don’t understand the attraction to actually wanting to sweat.  My personal record was about five minutes, which was a major triumph of the will for me.  

The infrared sauna is totally different.  I sweated more in that 30 minute session than I ever have before (including 101 degree temperatures during cross country season), and I found that I was really enjoying it!   Because the infrared sauna uses dry heat, it warms from the inside-out, instead of the other way around.  No suffocating, sticky blanket of sweat like in a steam sauna or when exercising.  Just soothing, dry heat. Continue reading

3 Therapeutic Massage Methods for Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects over five million Americans. It is characterized by intense pain in the joints and muscles, chronic fatigue, and muscle cramps. It can lead to long term issues such as depression, insomnia, and migraines.

Massage therapy is an important part in relieving symptoms caused by fibromyalgia.  When working with a client with fibromyalgia, I use a combination of various techniques of body work in order to remove tender points, ease muscle soreness, and increase relaxation.

Thai Massage

Thai massage is gentle assisted stretching of the body. Stretching with the assistance of the body worker can help to gently relax the muscles. It’s also helpful in regaining range of motion and increasing fluid flow throughout the body.

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Diet Coke, Yoga, and the Mind-Body Connection

There was a time when diet coke was my very favorite drink in the whole world.  I would stop at the Safeway for a 44 oz diet coke on the way to the office, and then refill it at lunch, and even more at dinnertime.  Every morning, I looked forward to that familiar first sip, the bite of the carbonation, the sharp refreshing taste, the complete lack of calories. 

It was like we were meant for each other.  A mutually beneficial relationship.

Like any good American woman, I understood at a visceral level that calories were my enemy, and to the extent sugar-free stuff helped me avoid them, without actually giving up things I liked to eat, I blessed whomever it was who came up with the stuff.    Continue reading

Top 10 Most Useful Essential Oils from Veriditas

Whenever ailments pop up, essential oils can help.  From upset tummy to grogginess, there is an essential oil or blend of oils you can use.  Here are our top 10 essential oils for every day uses.  

For your skin: Calm Skin Dropps

  • Soothing relief for dry, itchy, patchy skin while gently bringing skin back to its natural balance.
  • Application: apply to affected area 2-3 times per day. If dry, use olive oil, shea or a healing salve after application.
  • Use daily for 1-3 months to help balance ongoing itching, irritation, flaking or redness.
  • A gentle and effective remedy for children and elderly folks.
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