This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
A recent study shows that over-the-counter antacids, which are commonly used to treat heartburn, can raise the risk of a heart attack by 16 to 21 percent if taken daily.
The class of drugs that poses a health threat is known as protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) and is frequently prescribed for a broad scope of maladies, including gastro-esophageal reflux. Scientists undertook the latest research because prior investigations revealed PPIs have a troubling side effect. “Our earlier work identified that the PPIs can adversely affect the endothelium, the Teflon-like lining of the blood vessels,” notes senior author Dr. John Cooke. “That observation led us to hypothesize that anyone taking PPIs may be at greater risk for heart attack.”
PPIs Raise Heart Attack Risk by 16 to 21 Percent
In the study published in the journal Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE), researchers evaluated databases involving 2.9 million patients. They compared the heart attack risk of people who took PPIs with the heart attack risk of those who took other medications for stomach disorders. The findings showed patients who took PPIs had a 16 to 21 percent higher risk of having a heart attack.
“People who take medication to suppress stomach acid are at greater risk of developing myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack,” said lead author, Nigam H. Shah. “By looking at data from people who were given these drugs primarily for acid reflux and had no prior history of heart disease, our data-mining pipeline signals an association with a higher rate of heart attacks.”
The research indicates that people should exercise care in using medications that don’t require a prescription. “Our report raises concerns that these drugs — which are available over the counter and are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world — may not be as safe as we previously assumed,” concludes principal investigator Dr. Nicholas J. Leeper.
Apple Cider Vinegar Is a Natural Alternative
Quite a few books have been written about the benefits of apple cider vinegar — and with good reason. It is a time-honored cure that reportedly has helped many people with indigestion, bloating and reflux as well as an array of other ailments. In an interview with Live in the Now, Kathy Gruver, Ph.D., natural health author, speaker and practitioner, shares her advice about using this vinegar for indigestion. She explains it helps by improving the stomach’s acid content.
“Many people are given antacids for an upset stomach, but often they are actually suffering from too little stomach acid rather than too much. The antacids don’t get to the root of the problem because they decrease the acid even more. When you have reflux, what you’re burping up isn’t acid but putrefied food, as it is not leaving the stomach quickly enough. That is where apple cider vinegar can help.
“I’ve used it myself and have recommended it to clients. My instructions are to take a teaspoon or two of it before a meal. It’s best to use the raw, organic, unfiltered variety. I have clients that have had amazing results. Some of them have been able to stop using their prescription drugs for reflux. I would advise apple cider vinegar for anyone except those with an active or bleeding ulcer.”