If you’re one of the growing number of Americans suffering from heartburn these days, you may also be one the millions of people taking some type of medication to treat or prevent it. While there is more than one way to medically combat heartburn, one of the leading methods is utilizing what’s known as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced after a meal. Less acid in the gut means less reflux, so your chances of any heartburn showing up decline, as well. PPI’s are proven effective, have been around for years, and are considered safe across the board – and that’s exactly what makes these pills so popular.
What Does A Heartburn Drug Have To Do With Your Kidneys?
In two separate studies, researchers say patients using proton pump inhibitors to prevent heartburn show an increased risk of kidney damage. With such a significant portion of the population taking PPI’s, any connection to adverse effects or an increased risk of collateral damage stands to affect enormous numbers of people. Unfortunately, researchers don’t understand exactly how or why these drugs damage the kidneys, only that the data strongly suggests a link between the two.
Diet Changes to Reduce Heartburn
First off, you can alter your lifestyle so that you won’t even need to take anti-heartburn pills. Some foods most commonly associated with reflux include garlic, onions, citrus, and fried or spicy dishes. Fruit juices, alcohol, and coffee also fall into this category. Change your diet to avoid or at least reduce how often you include any of these as part of a meal.
Another good suggestion is to start including foods with little to no risk of reflux into your menu. Start with incorporating plenty of green vegetables, and try adding in some whole grain breads, oatmeal, lean meats, fish, potatoes, melons and bananas. All of these foods have low acid levels, and all of them are much better for you than those spicy chicken wings you love so much.
With some time, practice, and patience you can eliminate both the heartburn and the prescription from your life.