Antacids Increase the Risk for Pneumonia

June 2, 2009 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Antacids Increase the Risk for Pneumonia
In their effort to suppress digestive symptoms doctors hand out antacid medication like candy, even to babies. Virtually no thought is given to the fact that these medications, by interfering with stomach acid, are lowering the front line defense system against any infection. A new study1 shows that if you go into a hospital and are prescribed Prilosec, Nexium or Prevacid you have a 30% increased risk for contracting pneumonia during your stay.

Hospitals are breeding grounds for infections. However, this information applies to the flu as well. When you breathe in any germ and swallow, it is in your gut. The first thing that kills the germ is your stomach acid. When you lower stomach acid you lower your defenses.

Antacids have some utility for some people, like dumping fire retardant from an airplane to help put out a forest fire. They are a poor excuse for managing digestive health, and potentially lead to many other problems. There are plenty of ways to improve heartburn without excessively suppressing stomach acid. Healthy digestion is a cornerstone of true health.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Antacids Increase Pneumonia Risk by 30%  JAMA.  Shoshana J. Herzig, Michael D. Howell, Long H. Ngo, Edward R. Marcantonio.

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