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Acid Blockers and Malnutrition – The Myth of Too Much Acid

Acid Blockers:  Your prescription for Malnutrition, Osteoporosis, Visual Disturbances, Heart Disease, Dementia, Stomach Cancer and much more.

Acid Blockers or proton inhibitors range from mild antacids, which neutralize stomach acid, to the powerful proton pump inhibitors that prevent stomach cells from producing stomach acid.  We know them as the “little purple pill—Nexium®, Pepcid®, Aciphex®, Protonix®, or as calcium supplements (i.e. Tums®.)

What is Acid Reflux?  Acid reflux is plain old indigestion.  Because of the pricey medicines advertised to patients, acid indigestion was given a new name; acid reflux.

What is the cause of acid reflux?  There are many causes of indigestion.  The main one being poor diet, structural problems, obesity, hypochlorohydria (inadequate stomach acid), processed foods, consumption of vegetable oils—specifically hydrogenated oils, consumption of sugar, excess alcohol intake, smoking, loss of digestive enzymes, inadequate chewing, and large meals.

How do these factors cause the “hyperacidity?”
Let’s say we just consumed a huge processed meal, such as French fries, extra large soda, and 2 hot dogs on white buns.  The arrival of this large mass in the stomach contains foreign chemicals and preservatives that the stomach does not recognize.  Let’s add to that, insufficient chewing [digestion of foods starts in the mouth by proper chewing and salivary enzymes] and insufficient enzymes [which anyone eating the standard America diet has] will cause this mass to lay in the stomach—giving rise to fermentation and bacterial action.  Fermentation expands and gives rise to gas and distension.  As these gases rise, they are trapped in the esophagus causing distension and mimicking chest pain.  This pull and tension of the overloaded stomach insults the gastro-esophageal valve to the point where it is pulled open.  This overstretched valve allows stomach acid and its contents along with the gases to come up into the esophagus.  The esophagus, unlike the stomach, does not contain acid secreting cells, and thus it is very sensitive to this acid.  This action causes a burning sensation in the esophagus, which can mimic signs of a heart attack.

Physiology of the stomach
The stomach is a vat of acid.  Specialized parietal cells secrete this acid.  This acid is required to break down proteins [meat, fowl, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, and legumes] into its small units of amino acids.  When acid production is neutralized or cellular function inhibited, food cannot be digested.  Instead, it will remain in the stomach rotting, fermenting and putrefying by bacterial action.  Thus, undigested carbohydrates “ferment”, undigested fats become “rancid”, and undigested proteins “putrefy” meaning the rot or decay.  All this gives rise to gas, bloating, and indigestion and ultimately malnutrition.  

Consequences and side effects associated with use of acid blockers.
Long term health complications related to acid blockers are many and very severe.   They include nutrient deficiencies, increased risk of stomach cancer, low immune function, poor digestion of proteins, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, pernicious anemia, poor eye sight, paralysis, severe neurological problems and dementia to name a few.

How do we successfully manage this condition?
We obviously need to work on diet.  This is typically done in a 3 step process once we determine each patients needs.  Taking the proper high quality supplements needed to ensure proper digestion is occurring is also critical.  Our patient evaluation process enables us to determine the specific nutrients the body will best respond to, and this allows us to have a very good success rate.

Should I stop my medications?
The answer to this question is no.  Don’t just stop taking your medications, but after we start a patient on our health program, it can be very easy for patients to no longer require the medications.  If you have an active ulcer, medication must be continued until endoscopy shows that healing is occurring.

Health starts in the digestive tract and death starts in the colon.  Our basis for dietary recommendations is to give us energy and support life.  The inability to digest our food and assimilate its nutrients is a sure prescription for diseases.  According to the National Academy of Science, 95% of all disease is caused by diet, the environment, and lifestyle.  Only 5% can be attributed to our genes.  In essence we cannot blame our parents or grandparents for certain conditions.  This is a way of shunning responsibility for our own health.  Don’t wait for the government or your family doctor to take care of your health, and don’t wait for HMO’s to pay for your surgeries and drugs once you are sick.  There is no day but today to take charge of your health and restore your vitality and health so that you may life a productive, healthy, and long life.

This information was taken from Juliana Mazzeo MS, CDH, Medical Nutritionist


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