“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
French gastrone Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said that in 1826.
Today nutritionists and doctors will tell you that’s barely half the story.
Eating right is just the beginning. In reality, you are what you eat, digest and absorb. You can eat the best food money can buy, but if you don’t have the ability to digest it well, it can’t be absorbed in your body or contribute to your health.
These two tasks – digestion and absorption – begin with having good stomach acid. We need strong stomach acid to be able to break food down into its constituent parts, so that “our body can extract the nutrition it needs from it
“Stomach acid cleaves the bonds of mineral complexes attached to proteins and other food components, allowing them to be absorbed in the small intestine,” says Dr. Keith Halperin, DC.
This is why medications that clamp down on stomach acid or hydrochloric acid production can be so dangerous over the long term.
Heartburn medications could lead to your body missing crucial vitamins and minerals over time, causing symptoms ranging all the way from brittle bones and muscle cramps to irregular heartbeats and recurrent diarrhea, to name just a few. Here is list of nutrients depleted by acidity medications, the symptoms caused and what may help you cope.
The Food and Drug Administration has, over the last few years, issued warnings concerning nutrient depletion and increased risk of injury and disease that result from prolonged use of acidity medication. It is now widely acknowledged that antacids impair the absorption of calcium, leading to osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures.
In 2011, the FDA further warned that long term use of certain types of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) was shown to cause a deficiency of magnesium, which could lead to muscle cramps, irregularities in heartbeat and even seizures.
Doctors have also been warned by the FDA to watch out for infections from the bacteria Clostridium-difficile and diarrhea associated with it in patients using PPIs.This is because the lack of strong stomach acid can lead to the wrong kind of bacteria making the digestive tract their happy home.
The gaping hole that antacids burn in our nutrient absorption keeps growing. Vitamin B12, which is needed for a multitude of functions in the human body, is also depleted by PPIs. Depletion of Vitamin B12 can affect the entire nervous system, impair DNA repair, cause fatigue, breathlessness, vision loss, constipation….the list is long!
According to the latest available literature, Vitamin B12 deficiency is prevalent in nearly 16% of the American population. Considering that in 2013, nearly 15 million Americans took prescription PPIs (which excludes those who took over-the-counter antacids), that’s a lot of people losing B12 right there!
Folic Acid and Iron are other key nutrients stolen from your body by acidity medications and naturally, there are serious consequences to that as well.
Let’s face it. None of us love taking medication. We do it because we need to, to keep going. But what if you could find gentler ways to quell that heartburn? Dietary supplements can help you put a lid on acidity, without depleting vital nutrients. If you must reach for that antacid or PPI, do so for a limited time period. And finally, if you are someone who has been using heartburn medication for a long time, you may be missing vital nutrients from your body. Here’s what you can do to restore your body back to balance.