The slick commercials that promote proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) do not spend nearly enough time explaining their adverse effects.
As we learn and understand more about these medications, more problems are being revealed. Here’s a partial list of adverse effects from taking PPIs:
1. Increased risk of heart attack. Studies have found a 58 percent higher risk of heart attacks in PPI users. This should come as no surprise, because it is well-known that PPIs cause deficiencies of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for optimal heart function.
2. Increased risk of fractures. PPIs block acid production, which leads to poor digestion of nutrients, including minerals. This can result in poor bone mineralization and an increased fracture risk. Multiple studies have found a significantly higher risk of bone fractures with PPI use.1, 2, 3 And it doesn’t take long-term use. Increased fracture risk with PPIs was found immediately after the drug began to be used.
3. Kidney failure. One study found a 20 percent to 50 percent increased risk for developing chronic kidney disease in people who take a PPI. This same study found twice-daily dosing of a PPI was associated with a 46 percent higher risk of kidney failure. In addition, many people are placed on a PPI even after they have been told to take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), a type of medication that can also cause kidney problems. If you are taking an NSAID such as Motrin or Advil along with a PPI, you are at a much higher risk for developing kidney disease.
4. Vitamin B12 deficiency. Stomach acid is necessary for the body to break down vitamin B12 from food. Without adequate stomach acid, vitamin B12 will not be absorbed. Deficiency is common in people who take a PPI for longer than two months. Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in irreversible neuropathy, heart disease, and brain dysfunction. I discuss vitamin B12 deficiency in more detail in my book, Vitamin B12 for Health.
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