Proton pump inhibitors work to reduce the damage, felt as heartburn, which is caused by acid in the esophagus and stomach.
The amount of prescriptions written for this class of drugs has skyrocketed in recent years, which is something of a concern for many health experts – especially in light of new research from Johns Hopkins University.
The research shows that proton pump inhibitors (PPI), which are released under brand names like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid, raise one’s risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Benjamin Lazarus of Johns Hopkins University says:
“A causal relationship between PPI use and CKD could have a considerable public health effect given the widespread extent of use.
More than 15 million Americans used prescription PPIs in 2013, costing more than $10 billion.”
Lazarus goes on to state that up to 70% of prescriptions written for this class of drugs are written without any concrete evidence of the patient actually needing the drugs. He also states that 25% of long-term PPI users could stop taking the drugs altogether without noticing any effects.
Another study conducted by the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science found that people taking PPIs were also almost twice as likely to die prematurely.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure how PPIs create an increased risk for fatal kidney damage but they do have a few theories.
Dr. Arora from the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine says the kidneys could become damaged over time due to the tissue inflammation caused by PPIs.
PPIs can also cause magnesium levels in the blood to decline. This can cause damage to the kidneys.
“According to U.S. data, 90% of the prescriptions for PPIs are not related to FDA-approved indications,” Dr. Arora said. “We are using this medication right and left, and it may be counterproductive for many patients.”
So how can you treat heartburn naturally?
According to WebMD, the cause of heartburn goes far beyond the foods you eat. Some people, such as those who suffer from acid reflux, will experience heartburn regardless of what they eat.
Thankfully, there are several natural remedies out there that can treat even severe heartburn. Speak with your doctor before trying any of these, just to be sure your heartburn is not an indicator of a more serious issue.
Once you’ve done that and are presented with treatment options, try these 4 quick remedies…
1. A Spoonful of Baking Soda
A teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a glass of fresh water can help treat heartburn because it is a base substance. Its pH is higher than 7.0 and therefore, it will neutralize stomach acid.
2. Aloe Juice
Aloe can work wonders for treating burns on the outside of your skin – but it can also help relieve heartburn.
Just drink half a cup of aloe vera juice at room temperature. It also acts as a laxative, so be careful.
Bananas contain antacids that can buffer against your acid reflux. Wait until the bananas are ripe and eat one per day. It can help to eat one before bed if you notice your heartburn flaring up at night.
4. Ginger Root Tea
Drinking a cup of ginger root tea 20 minutes before a meal can act as an acid buffer for your stomach. All you’ll need are 3 quarter-sized slices of ginger and two cups of water.
Simmer the two together gently for about 30 minutes, then drink.