Consumer Alert: Popular Antacids Now Linked to Depression
In recent years the safety of a certain class of antacid drugs has been brought into question. They’re called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and are used to treat acid reflux and peptic ulcers. You may recognize them by popular brand names, such as Prilosec, Zegerid and Nexium.
Like many Americans, as much as you may have come to accept the inevitability of getting older, you probably don’t like noticing signs of aging such as wrinkles, vision loss, aching joints, fatigue and more.
But what most people — doctors included — don’t realize is these seemingly innocuous symptoms stem from a simple hidden cause that can easily be corrected.
Common Antacids Increase Risk of Depression
The results of a new study suggest that people with major depression have a greater cumulative daily dose of proton pump inhibitors than those without the disorder. This risk appears to be the greatest in individuals using pantoprazole (Protonix), lansoprazole (Prevacid) and rabeprazole (Aciphex).
According the study authors, the use of omeprazole (Prilosec) and esomeprazole (Nexium) show “only a trend significance” for depression.
While we tend to think of heartburn drugs as relatively harmless, the research team believes there are several mechanisms that may promote depression in individuals taking these medications. In particular, gut microbiota and depression are closely related. Whether you realize it or not, there is a bi-directional connection between the microbes in your gut and your neurotransmitters.
It’s called the gut-brain axis. And any dysregulation in this signaling appears to be accompanied by an increased risk of depression. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that PPIs create negative alterations in the composition of the gut microbiome.
Additionally, regular use of PPIs may lead to chronic malabsorption of micronutrients. In particular, they block the absorption of vitamin B12 and magnesium. Prior research suggests that low levels of these two nutrients may increase the risk of developing major depressive disorder.
Ultimately, concludes the authors, around 14% of depression cases could potentially be resolved by withdrawing patients from PPI use.
Easy Way to Treat Reflux without Drugs
There is a really easy way to treat indigestion and reflux without drugs. All you need to do is mix a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it before meals. (Your best bet is to avoid commercial brands and find an organic version that is raw and unfiltered.)
Not only does apple cider vinegar help reduce acid reflux and heartburn symptoms; it may also help improve the health of your gut microbiota.
If you’ve been taking PPIs for awhile, taking a daily probiotic can also help restore a healthy microbiome. (Remember! Your gut microbes talk to your brain. The happier they are, the happier you will be.)
Laudisio A, et al. Use of proton-pump inhibitors is associated with depression: a population-based study. Int Psychogeriatr. 2018 Jan;30(1):153-159.
Imhann F, et al. Proton pump inhibitors affect the gut microbiome. Gut. 2016 May;65(5):740-8.
Clapp M, et al. Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clin Pract. 2017 Sep 15; 7(4): 987.
Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”