Skip to content

Dangers of Acid Inhibitors

Acid reflux involves stomach acid leaking upward, into the esophagus. The backwash of stomach contents and stomach acid can irritate the lining of your esophagus. When acid reflux happens repeatedly over time, it can cause Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are often prescribed by physicians to help patients treat symptoms like heartburn or stomach discomfort. Acid inhibitors / Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) work by reducing the amount of stomach acid made by glands in the lining of your stomach and are FDA approved for short-term management, 2-4 weeks, with no more than 2 treatment cycles per year.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) include lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (AcipHex), and esomeprazole (Nexium).

Unfortunately, most people never come off these prescriptions per their physicians’ recommendations, which can contribute to serious health problems later. Infants, children, teenagers, and elderly are often prescribed PPIs too.

In 2020 more than 57 million prescriptions were written for the PPI. It’s big business, one PPI, esomeprazole (Nexium) in 2013, was the second-best selling drug in the industry, generating over $6.1 billion in sales worldwide.

Problems associated with the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors have previously been reviewed in 2001 Pharmacology & Toxicology. Side effects related to the direct effect of acid suppression or PPI-induced hypochlorhydria has been associated with an increased risk of infections, malabsorption of nutrients, minerals such as magnesium and calcium and vitamins like B12 and decreased absorption of medications. 

Remember the FDA approved PPI’s for short-term management, 2-4 weeks, with no more than 2 treatment cycles per year.

Long term PPI use increases the increased risk of kidney disease, osteoporosis, pneumonia, cardiac arrhythmias, heart disease, stroke, dementia and contracting the Clostridium difficile (C. diff) bacterium. A meta-analysis of 18 observational studies including over 240,000 fracture cases found that PPI use was associated with a 33% increase in the relative risk for a fracture at any site (hip, spine, arm, leg etc. PPI treatment also induces ECL-cell hyperplasia and can provoke gastric polyp formation and subsequent development of ECL carcinoids and cancers has been described in numerous case reports.

A study reported in the July-September 2019 Methodist Debakey Cardiovascular Journal, “The long-term use of PPIs may have significant adverse effects, in part mediated by their effect of accelerating vascular aging.” The study suggested “chronic use of PPIs is associated with vascular dysfunction and an increased risk of myocardial infarction, dementia, and renal failure.”

Reported in the June 14, 2019 World Journal of Gastroenterology, “Long-term reduction of gastric acid secretion, can increase the risk of an imbalance in gut microbiota composition. The resident gut bacteria are needed for multiple vital functions, such as nutrient and drug metabolism, the production of energy, defense against pathogens, the modulation of the immune system and support of the integrity of the gut mucosal barrier. Therefore, every change in the gut ecosystem has been connected to an increased susceptibility or exacerbation of various GI disorders.”

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are often prescribed for elderly patients without appropriate indication, or for longer durations than recommended. Nursing homes prescriptions for elderly residents (54.3%) were much higher than for those living independently or with family (7%). 

A German study published online in the February 2016 JAMA Neurology also suggested frequent long term PPI use may cause or accelerate dementia in elderly individuals. During seven years, 29,510 participants in the study developed some form of cognitive decline, ranging from unspecified dementia to Alzheimer’s disease. On average, participants who filled a prescription for a PPI at least once every three months were more than 40 percent more likely to develop dementia than those in the study who did not take acid inhibitors.

PPI’s are very addictive and hard to stop. A study published in the July 2009 issue of Gastroenterology, researchers from the University of Copenhagen, gave subjects (who had no previous history of acid reflux including heartburn, indigestion, and acid regurgitation) prescription-strength PPI medication for two months. After the medication was discontinued, these otherwise healthy adult patients started developing acid reflux symptoms – and were producing stomach acids at even higher rates than before. The study showed “…evidence that proton pump inhibitor therapy induces symptoms that it is used to treat.” Researchers also found that the “rebound” effect can continue for as long as three months.

Now what? To get you started be realistic this is going to take a while:

First you need to wean off PPI’s very slowly, don’t just stop! Change your diet, decrease stress, and start the healing process of your digestive tract.

Probiotics or “friendly” bacteria process nutrients and maintain a balance in the microbiome of the digestive system. 

Published in the January 2, 2020, journal Nutrients and the NIH National Library the article reported on two probiotic groups; in multiple studies, of which 79% reported positive benefits of probiotics on symptoms of GERD, and 81% saw improvements in other upper gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain, and gas-related symptoms, such as belching, gurgling, and burping. In conclusion the studies showed probiotic use can be beneficial for GERD symptoms, such as regurgitation and heartburn. 

 A study published in the September 2011 “Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology” found that participants who took probiotic supplements for 14 days experienced fewer of the common GERD/Reflux symptoms compared to those who did not take probiotics. Another study reported in the March 2014 “Journal of the American Medical Association” noted that infants who were given probiotics for their first three months had fewer gastrointestinal problems, including reflux, constipation, and colic. 

Dr. Ohhira’s Original Probiotic Formula® (Essential Formulas) is not cultured or grown in a laboratory, as are most other probiotic products. Natural crops and pure water are fermented for three years with 12 distinctive probiotic strains, including TH10, a proprietary strain discovered by Dr. Ohhira, which was shown to be six times more effective at breaking down proteins and making nutrients available than other strains known to bacteriologists. This unique rich culture medium of nutritious mushrooms, vegetables, fruits, and seaweed (pre-biotics) is encapsulated in a specially designed vegetarian capsule along with the beneficial lactic acid bacteria (pro-biotics) that have grown together over the three years, and the resulting nutrients from this fermentation process (post-biotics; the beneficial micronutrients, including needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids). Naturally occurring organic acids also promote a healthy digestive pH and encourage the growth of each individual’s unique flora. 

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® Professional Formula uses 12 select probiotic strains of LIVE lactic acid bacteria in a longer 5-year fermentation process. The last 2 years of this fermentation process are in an anaerobic condition to encourage bifido bacteria growth and development of those special postbiotics for a highly concentrated formula optimized for individuals with more complex digestive and immune health goals.  

For Adults (Dr. Ohhira’s Original Probiotic) chew & then swallow 1 capsule 2 x day (best ½ hour before a meal) or when feeling acidity. For intensive usage can take up to 5 capsules per day as needed. Children open capsule and squeeze 1/2 probiotic paste into small amount of food 1 x day (save the other ½ for next day). 

DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) stimulates and accelerates the natural protective factors in the digestive tract by increasing the number of mucus-secreting cells, improves the quality of mucus which acts as a protective coating against acids and enhances microcirculation in the gastrointestinal lining. One study found that 350 mg of chewable DGL taken along with aspirin reduced the occurrence of aspirin-induced gastrointestinal bleeding.  Other studies have shown DGL to be as effective as the pharmaceuticals Tagamet and Zantac for the treatment of peptic ulcers without side effects. The glycyrrhizin compound found in licorice and associated with high blood pressure has been removed. Chew 1-2 tablets 15 minutes before meals and before bed or more often when needed.

Acid Soothe™ (Enzymedica) contains enzymes, papaya leaf and other botanicals to improve digestive function by breaking down foods and absorbing nutrients better as well as ease symptoms associated with occasional gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Zinc carnosine is included to optimize the mucosal lining of the stomach, acting as a buffer to gastric acid. Thera-blend is an exclusive process that combines multiple strains of enzymes that work in specific pH levels, resulting in superior performance in the body. Recommended: One or 2 capsules or chewable tablets at the end of every meal and before bedtime.

***Remember there are no quick fixes! You also need to change your eating habits and your diet. Don’t eat large meals or lie down right after a meal. Don’t woof down your meal, eat slowly and chew well. Don’t skip meals. Keep your meals light and preferably non-acidic, non-fatty, low in spice. Coffee is very acidic, even if it is decaffeinated. Tea or alcohol can be problematic too. Try not to eat your evening meal too late and try to decrease or stop snacking after dinner. Don’t eat raw vegetables or fruits at night, they are harder to digest.

Please refer Jane’s Blog on to friends and relatives. Let’s share Good Health!

There can be many factors for developing acid reflux, GERD or Barrett’s Esophagus and many more ways to help reverse the damage. For specific personal guidance to help you achieve a healthy functioning digestive tract make a Holistic telephone or in-office appointment at the Tree of Life Wellness Center. For more information call 508-336-4242.

Zoom Holistic appointments are coming soon!

Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center

Host Holistic Healthline Radio “Listen Live” every Saturday 8-10 am EST at

Recorded programs podcast archived on