It seems almost like a daily occurrence, a patient stops in and states that they have been taking their proton pump inhibitor for 10 years and now they have either read that it can have some long term side effects or their prescriber tells them they need to stop taking it. Proton Pump Inhibitors such as Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Nexium and others, are indicated for gastrointestinal symptoms and are to be used for 4 to 8 weeks and then should be stopped. However, there are several conditions that require long-term treatment with these medications.
The hard part in trying to stop these products is that they can create a rebound acid secretion that reinforces the need to keep taking them
These Proton Pump Inhibitors as well as Antacids, such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, and H2 blockers, including Zantac and Pepcid, all come with short and long term issues we must be aware of.
First off, they are some of the biggest offenders leading to nutrient depletions including; B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, iron, zinc and can cause disruption of healthy gut bacteria.
Then there is altered pH. pH is a measurement of both acid and alkaline balance. Where a pH of 7 is considered neutral, the human digestive tract varies greatly in pH. Saliva has a pH between 6.5 to 7.5. The stomach where the secretion of hydrochloric acid (HCL) and pepsin takes place is much more acidic, between 1.5 to 4.0. We need hydrochloric acid to break down and absorb vitamin B 12, calcium, iron, as well as fat and proteins from food. This acidic environment acts as a first line of defense to various bacteria and viruses that can come through our foods.
Our pH can become altered from the natural aging process, unhealthy dietary choices, or from the over use of antacids. If the pH becomes to alkaline in certain areas of our digestive tract, our good gut bacteria can be destroyed, and overgrowth of bad bacteria such as C. Defficile may ensue.
When people come to me with heartburn or acid reflux, even though their body might need betaine HCL, this is not where I like to start. The reason being, they could have an active ulcer, which betaine HCL might only make worse, or they could have excessive irritation from years of reflux and heartburn, which the betaine HCL could irritate.
The common therapy for heartburn and acid reflux is antacids. Where this might be appropriate for the short term, especially in the case of ulcers, as we mentioned, the long term can lead us down the path of nutrient malabsorption, losing our front line of defense against various pathogens, and altered pH.
I like to begin with a product called Heart Burn Essentials from Pure. This can be added to current antacid therapy with the intention of weaning off the antacids, or by itself, if nothing has been tried yet.
Heartburn Essentials provides natural ingredients and enzymes which are designed to support natural gastric secretion, enhance digestion, sooth and support the integrity of the digestive tract while offering relieve for occasional heartburn and indigestion.
Stop by the pharmacy to see if we can help you with your digestion issues. Please visit my website at www.irsfeldpharmacy.com to find this and other archived articles in the blog section. Until next time, be vigilant about your health!!
I feel the reason someone should take a multivitamin is four-fold. First, is to help balance common nutritional inadequacies. The second is to support metabolic, cellular and enzymatic functions. Third is protection against toxins, and fourth is to tie this all together based on your needs, age, gender, and lifestyle factors.
I am often asked the question, “doesn’t diet give us all the nutrients that we need?” Given the state of nutritional deficiencies, coupled with needs of metabolic functions, probably not.
For instance, zinc is important for the immune system, thyroid function, helps fight age related macular degeneration, used in the production and metabolism of testosterone, and even plays a critical role in heart-beat.
The average adult dosages are between 15 mg to 50 mg daily, although aside from oysters, food sources do not have appreciable concentrations to balance lifestyle health challenges.
Most of the world population in industrialized nations are woefully low in vitamin D. Vitamin D provides, immune support, is necessary for healthy development of bones and teeth, is critical for thyroid function, cardiovascular, cognitive health and more. Lab tests suggest levels of 30 and above is adequate, research supports levels of 60 to 80 for optimal health.
It is estimated that 75% of North Americans ingest less than the RDA of magnesium. Considering magnesium is critical for heart, immune, hormone, metabolic, and cognitive health, supports relaxation, helps manage stress, and is needed for the activation of over 300 biochemical actions in the body; we need to be getting it from elsewhere.
Co Enzyme Q10 is necessary for heart, muscle and immune health, and our body’s manufacture very little. CoQ10 is not plentiful in foods, unless you eat a lot of liver. CoQ10 is depleted by numerous medications, including statin drugs, beta-blockers, and diuretics.
As I stated in the title of the article, choosing a multivitamin should be all about you. Most patients want that vitamin to be in a single dose taken once a day, I tell them for that to happen the tablet would have to be the size of a hockey puck. We laugh but then I tell them that I am serious. The minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, take up a lot of space, which adds to the size.
I am not a very compliant patient so I take my vitamins when I brush my teeth, in the morning and at bedtime, that's what works for me. Other patients have no problem taking multiple doses in a day. Finding the right vitamin and regimen that works best for you is the key and making sure it is loaded with potent quality ingredients is a must.
My go to vitamin is PhytoMulti by Metagenics because of its activated vitamins & minerals coupled with phytonutrients to protect your cells and maintain DNA stability.
Stop by the pharmacy to see if you would like more information or need help with choosing the best vitamin to suit your needs. Please visit my website at www.irsfeldpharmacy.com to find this and other archived articles in the blog section. Until next time, be vigilant about your health!!
One of the questions I like to ask my patients is “how old would you like to live to?” There is usually a short pause, then comes something like, “well if I can do the things I would like to do, I would like to live until I’m ___ years old.” It is a given that we all want to age gracefully and enjoy the years that we have, hopefully of sound mind and body. What are you doing today to make that a reality in 20 or 30 years?
Age isn’t just how old you are, it is also an acronym for Advanced Glycation End-products. They are formed when protein and excess sugar combine to form a bond. This is a naturally occurring process that can lead to the irreversible formation of AGE’s. This process leads to stiffening of tissue, think of our skin and arteries and what happens when that tissue gets stiffens. We get wrinkles and hardening of the vessels and arteries. Blood glucose that is not controlled will escalate this process leading to further complications which is yet another reason to keep our blood glucose under control.
AGE’s are a source of inflammation in our body and are direct precursors to cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
AGE formation is ongoing in our systems but they can also be consumed in the food that we eat. Our body’s best defense against AGE’s is to limit their intake. The less our body has to deal with them, the easier time we have decreasing the burden.
It is grilling season this time of year and really for many of you, all year long. Who doesn’t like a good charbroiled brat or steak? Our taste buds do but our bodies don’t necessarily like them. This cooking of food with high heat causes that reaction of proteins and sugars and the more charred your food is, the more AGE’s will be consumed. Not to rain on your parade (if I could make it rain these days, I surely would), but keep this is mind in your cooking process. With everything, moderation is the key.
Alternatives to high heat cooking include; Steaming, braising and poaching. These are cooking methods that use low heat and decrease the formation of AGE’s. Another novel cooking approach is sous vide cooking. This entails pre-packaging your food and placing it in a water bath that has a set temperature. Your meat will be cooked at the appropriate temperature all the way thru. If you are curious about this technique, here is a link to the explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sous-vide
One way to slow the AGE effect involves the use of certain supplements that have been shown to inhibit the formation of AGEs. Notable in this regard are: benfotiamine (vitamin B1), carnosine, alpha-lipoic acid, and rutin.
Stop by the pharmacy to see if you would like more information or need help with supplements to decrease AGE’ing.
If you have been reading my articles for some time, then you know that I am a fan of probiotics. One thing I have come across over the years is the belief that “I don’t have any stomach problems, so I don’t need to take probiotics.”
When you think of probiotics, it’s important to understand that the hundred-trillion of them we have in our bodies (yes we have more bacteria than our bodies have cells) make up what is referred to as the microbiota, or gut ‘biome.
Consider the microbiota much like a rainforest, rich in various types of life, continuously discovering new species, aiding and providing life to the rest of the planet (aka your body).
What I don’t want people to get caught up in is the thought that probiotics are only for the digestive tract. In fact, if you were to list all the benefits of a healthy gut microbiome, the digestive issues would only be a fraction.
The gut ‘biome is ground zero for immune and metabolic issues that go on in our body. Therefore, you probably hear terms such as “gut-brain”, “gut-mood”, or the “gut-heart” connection.
The gut ‘biome is a source of genetic diversity and influence, a modifier of disease responsible for 80% of our immune cells, while 90% of serotonin is made here. This is why probiotics are part of the Core Four foundational nutrition, which also includes a good multivitamin, Omega 3 fish oil and Vitamin D.
One of the biggest factors I believe to a healthy microbiota, thus reason for probiotic supplementation, is that it can play a major role in how effective your supplements and medications are.
Lets take a look at Berberine, which is one of my favorite supplements for metabolic support. It helps decrease blood sugar, insulin levels, lowers LDL, triglycerides, and helps to promote a healthy gut ecology.
Like many other plant-based supplements, berberine needs to be metabolized by the gut bacteria to become “active” and provide relevant bioavailability. Research has shown similar response with certain medication therapy as well.
If your plan is to utilize supplements to better your health and you don’t think you need probiotics, you might want to reconsider. Remember, we are not necessarily what we eat, but we are what we absorb.
The goal of probiotic therapy is diversity and can be gained by eating things like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, certain yogurts and other foods containing probiotics. In the event these foods are unavailable or you simply don’t like to eat them, taking a probiotic supplement will help to fill the void. Selecting one that utilizes multiple strains of relevant concentrations with guaranteed viability is at the heart of probiotic therapy.Stop by the pharmacy to see if you have any questions about product selection.