March 22

PPIs Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia in Seniors

WHAT’S A PERSON WITH HEARTBURN TO DO? PPIs linked to increased RISK OF dementia in seniors

For many people living with heartburn and acid reflux, it’s been easy to pop a couple of pills and go on with life. Until now, with more research being conducted on the popular heartburn medications known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), we are becoming increasingly aware of some of the potential dangers of these drugs. In fact, PPIs have been linked to a range of health issues including chronic kidney disease, bone fractures and now, a new study has found that PPIs are also associated with an increased risk for dementia, particularly in seniors. [The report was published on February 15, 2016 in the journal JAMA Neurology.]

PPIs are popular heartburn medications that work by lowering the amount of acid produced in the stomach. And while initial research doesn’t link PPIs as a direct cause of dementia, the fact that they are associated with an increased risk in the development of memory impairment in seniors is raising red flags.

Getting to the Bottom of Gut Problems

When processes in your body breakdown, there is a reason. While taking medications such as PPIs can help the symptom of heartburn, it doesn’t get to the underlying cause of the health issue. At Shakthi, our integrative approach looks at the whole person to identify triggers that are causing the acid build-up. We look for food sensitivities, whether the stomach is producing too little or too much acid, whether there is too much bad bacteria or an imbalance of gut bacteria caused by a person’s poor diet and/or lifestyle choices. It’s critical to find the source of the problem. Then, we can address the underlying issues causing the heartburn or acid reflux to heal the body and bring balance back to the body’s natural processes.

PPIs are just Band-Aids covering the cause of the real problem.

As it relates to an increased risk of dementia in seniors, my feeling is that, among other factors, PPIs can inhibit vitamin D absorption. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that has been shown to prevent and protect against the development of dementia. While we don’t have proven methods for preventing Alzheimer’s disease, vitamin D has been shown to help with cognitive impairment as we age.

Perhaps it’s time to ditch the heartburn pills in favor of a more holistic approach to healing the body and identifying the underlying causes of troublesome symptoms. That’s what we do best at Shakthi.

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