Food Is Not Your Enemy

The Problem with Acid-Reflux Drugs

Like antibiotics, which doctors will sometimes even prescribe for a cold (caused by a virus, not a bacteria), just to give their patient the sense that they’re doing something to get better, doctors have been overprescribing acid inhibitors in the past few years. And this week, The New York Times published an article indicating a link between these drugs (including Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid) and pneumonia.

I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Andrew Weil speak at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition a couple of weeks ago, and he warned about the dangers of using these types of drugs long-term. Suppressing stomach acid is not necessarily a good thing, as our stomach acid is our first defense against foreign microbes. If the acid is suppressed through drugs, it can’t kill off dangerous organisms that may enter our gut (through tainted food, for instance). Dr. Weil offers some alternative treatments for reflux on his Web site, which I urge you to check out if you suffer from this disorder.


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