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Proton Pump Inhibitors May Prematurely Age Your Blood Vessels

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Heart Health If you have heartburn or acid reflux, you might be taking a proton pump inhibitor—or PPI—to help relieve your symptoms. The FDA estimates that about one in 14 Americans has used PPIs.

Unfortunately, long-term use of these antacids is associated with several serious health conditions. These include heart disease, kidney problems and dementia.

Now, researchers find that these drugs may also have a negative impact on the cells in your blood vessels.

A new study discovered that long term exposure to PPIs…

“…accelerated biological aging in human endothelial cells which line the inside of blood vessels. When healthy, human endothelial cells create a Teflon-like coating that prevents blood from sticking. When older and diseased, the endothelium becomes more like Velcro, with blood elements sticking to the vessel to form blockages.”

Not only did exposure to the drugs accelerate the aging of blood vessels, it also caused cellular trash to accumulate.

In particular, PPI exposure impaired the ability of lysosomes to do their job.

Lysosomes produce acid that clears cellular waste from your body. However, PPIs impair their ability to produce enough acid to clear that waste. This buildup of unwanted debris causes the cells to age more rapidly.

“Lysosomes are like the garbage disposal of cells,” said lead author John P. Cooke, M.D., Ph.D.” They need to generate acid to get rid of cellular rubbish, and when cellular rubbish accumulates the cells age faster.”

Another type of antacid, known as an H2 antagonist, did not have the same adverse effect.

The authors note that PPIs can be effective when used in the short-term. However, they’re not intended for long-term treatment.

Cooke added that there are other approaches to long-term treatment that might be considered for GERD including lifestyle modifications or H2 antagonists—like Tagamet, Zantac or Pepcid.

Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Zegerid are some of the popular PPIs that you may be taking on a regular basis. Many PPIs do not require a prescription or doctor’s supervision, which can lead to overuse.

SOURCE: Heartburn drug damages blood vessel cells in lab finding. Press Release. American Heart Association via EurekAlert. May 2016.

 

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