Acid Reflux is a common problem for people and feels like there is acid coming up towards the throat from the stomach, or can be described by others as “heartburn”.  Reaching for the Ant-Acid Tablets, or taking Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) is a regular and easy reach when someone is experiencing acid reflux.

A Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) decreases the amount of acid produced by the stomach.  The less stomach acid you have, the lower your ability to break down your foods and absorb nutrients.  This causes it’s own  problems within the digestive system which I will explain in a later post.

Ant-Acids and PPI’s are limited in their ability to solve the long term issue & reduce the absorption of certain nutrients:Acid Reflux - Antoinette Byrne Nutritional Therapist

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium

Nutrient depletion can contribute to other long term chronic health conditions including osteoporosis, muscle tension or cramping, difficulty sleeping, irritability, heart palpitations, Bone spurs, arthritis, fatigue, and many other conditions.  As far back as 2012 the FDA warned that PPI’s were a contributing factor to osteoporosis, fractures of wrists, hips and spine.

Some of the strongest listed side effects for short term use of PPI’s include: constipation, headache, diarrhea, vomiting. Other more severe effects include bone fractures, heart attack, kidney problems, and End Stage Renal Disease.  You can see by putting both these lists of side effects together we have some pretty serious long term side effects.

One of the biggest selling Proton Pump Inhibitors is Nexium, a drug produced by Astra Zeneca, who reported sales of €72.5 Billion for the company between the years 1992 – 2017.  Quite an earner!

What are the reasons for taking Proton Pump Inhibitors?

One very common reason I see people taking PPI’s is to reduce the side effects of other medications.

One medication in particular is a calcium type medication given to people who have osteoporosis, osteopenia, or low bone density. These medications I see as an exercise to manage the condition.  I’ve not seen these medications increase bone density in any person who has been taking them long term.  (I am willing to be corrected on this).

Low Bone Density & PPI’s

So, if we look at the scenario of low bone density.  A person has a dexa scan and is told their bone density is low.
Conventionally Calcium medications are prescribed, (some of which have the side effect of causing brittle bones and osteoporosis)
Medications cause gastric irritation, causing acid reflux
PPI is prescribed and taken to reduce stomach acid
Reduced Stomach Acid causes malabsorption of nutrients required to increase bone health and joint health (calcium, magnesium, vitamin c)
Malabsorption of nutrients cause Bone density to becomes lower
Digestion becomes very sensitive due to the decreased stomach acid, and pains in the stomach after eating start to increase.

Stomach Ulcers & PPI’s

Stomach Ulcers are a common side effect of some medications.Acid Reflux - Antoinette Byrne Nutrition
PPI’s are often prescribed where there is a stomach ulcer to reduce the stomach acid
The ulcer is still present and is not healed or helped by the medications prescribed.
Stomach Acid Decreases, reducing nutrients which would aid the repair of the ulcer.

Use of illicit substances can have very harmful and long term effects on the stomach, and I have seen quite a few people chewing on ant-acid tablets regularly having ingested these substances.  There can be a detrimental effect on the stomach and lining.  Unfortunately, Ant-Acids and PPI’s will never solve this problem.  The issue of using illicit substances may be trauma related, and this is another area I have a lot of experience in helping people.

What is the Plan to Solve the Problem?

  1. Firstly, my Goal is to help you to use your Nutrient Intake to Increase your overall health in a natural and sustainable way.
  2. We must look at the cause of the cause.  For example, if your have low bone density we must look at this issue and incorporate this into Your Plan to Health.
  3. We will look closely at the reason the acid reflux, GERD, or heartburn developed.  The reason why these conditions develop can be easily identifiable, or may require further testing.  This is something we will discuss as part of Your Plan to Health
  4. If you have a stomach ulcer, or other identifiable problems with your stomach and digestion I give you a set plan to start healing these problems as part of Your Plan to Health.
  5. We look at your digestion, your nutrient intake, your choices of food, and see where we can make constructive but realistic changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to improve your digestive health.
  6. When the digestion is healed we look in more detail at your nutrient intake and absorption.  During these sessions we look in more detail at your overall goal with a view to making a sustainable maintenance plan for the future.
  7. We look at trauma based problems, lifestyle problems and identify problematic areas or scenarios in your life where you may need extra lifestyle support.


If you would like to make an appointment with me to discuss your Nutritional Needs and start making Your Plan to Health click here to make your Appointment at a time that suits you