Acid Blockers Shut Down More than Stomach Acid

What you don’t know about this class of drugs can ruin your health. It can even kill you.
We’ve written before about the dangers of acid blockers and how, in many cases, they are likely exacerbating stomach pain while causing serious disease. New research gives us even more reason to stay away from these dangerous drugs.
Did you know that acid blockers don’t merely shut off acid pumps in the stomach? Dr. Frank Shallenberger in his August 2016 (Second Opinion) newsletter pointed to recent research warning that they also inhibit the lysosomes of every cell in our bodies!
Yikes. Lysosomes are acidic compartments that act as the cell’s garbage disposal. Without the ability to break down and discard cellular waste products, “garbage” builds up and inhibits the cell’s function, including energy production and detoxification.
Sometimes our cells need more acid and sometimes the opposite. But you can be sure that no drug company knows (or cares) precisely what your mitochondria need to keep your cells happy and flourishing. Each cell may have hundreds or even thousands of mitochondria.
As if this news is not scary enough, Dr. Shallenberger discusses another brand new study showing that acid blockers do not simply cause acute kidney disease (acute interstitial nephritis)—they may also be associated with chronic kidney disease.
The study in question looked at 10,482 men and women (average age of 63, with average kidney function) over a period of fifteen years. The researchers found that, compared to those who were not taking acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors), those taking them were up to 76% more likely to get chronic kidney disease. The study also found that the risk was dose-related—the more acid blockers patients took, the higher the incidence of this kidney disease.
Kidney disease is only one among many known health problems caused by acid blockers, including higher risks for dementia, heart attacks, pneumonia, heart palpitations, muscle cramps, convulsions, weak bones, and more. Some of the problems may be linked to the difficulty we have assimilating and using protein and minerals when we deliberately reduce the stomach acid (as we do with these drugs) that is either needed for digestion or for producing enzymes necessary for digestion.
And, yes, acid blockers often make the original problem—stomach pain—worse. As we’ve pointed out before, too little stomach acid is more often than not the culprit behind indigestion and stomach pain. Taking acid blockers in these cases offers temporary relief but over time just makes the problem much worse. Low stomach acid—also called hypochlorhydria—affects about half of the population, especially middle-aged and older people, the ones who typically develop stomach issues.
The bottom line: there are lots of reasons to be wary of taking acid blockers, and we recommend consulting an integrative physician before deciding to use them even on a short term basis. Did we mention that once started, they also cause dependency and can be hard to get off of?
Visit our Find a Practitioner page to find an integrative doctor near you.
Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:
SADder Than You Think
Coca-Crony: Sweet Ties to the CDC


  1. I’ve been diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus and am to take omeprazole the rest of my life. What do I do ?

    1. 1% of the persons diagnosed with Barretts actually get cancer. The cancer is somewhat rare. If it were me I would use a proton pump inhibitor at the smallest dosage. Reason being is that doctors have also claimed that the use of these inhibitor also can be a cancer risk. More water in your diet and the smallest dosage. Hope this helps!

    2. I know what your saying. I also need them – but I stopped when I read all this junk. My stomach hurts and I have acid reflux – my doctor refused to prescribe anything different so I guess I will figure it out on my own. My mother is starting down the road of dementia at 78yrs and I do NOT want to do anything that might exacerbate that in myself. Maybe you should see a Gastroenterologist if your not already.

      1. 1/2 tsp. baking soda to 1/2 cup water. Mix until the water is clear. Drink straight down. Problem solved. This has made believers out of more people than I can even remember recommending it to!

          1. Another simple remedy that works great: If acid reflux plagues your night time rest, elevate the top portion of the bed by at least 4 inches. The incline should be from your waist up. Hospital type beds or recliners are great for this problem.

      2. A tiny % of people get acid reflux from too much acid. For most, it’s too little acid. See the comments about Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. And Betaine HCL tablets work well too. If your STOMACH is hurting, that is not usually due to acid. The stomach is designed to have high acid levels and so your stomach does not hurt from high acid levels. You should probably get tested for H pylori and make sure that you don’t have ulcers.

    3. Start with 1/2 tsp baking soda (when you actively have acid reflux) and mix in lukewarm water. Drink slowly. The mix neutralizes the stomach acid. If you need a little more, use a second round.

      1. Prob, or lack thereof, is I rarely suffer acid reflux…..unless I have bacon, coffee, toast with butter and s donut then the belly growls….should I still take the baking soda everyday or only as needed ?

        1. Oh, and I keep a journal with the foods I eat that set off the reflux, I verify them a second time or maybe three, and then remove them from my diet.

      2. Beware! My father-in-law ended of up with esophagus cancer because he took the baking soda & water for years.

        1. Interesting – I was aware that excess stomach acid could lead to esophageal cancer, but not baking soda – did the doctors highlight that it could do that?

          1. The baking soda and water will not cause esophageal cancer. Excessive exposure to stomach acid can and will lead to esophageal cancer. Baking soda does have the effect of neutralizing stomach acid. Medicalatitsworse’ father-in-law was probably already suffering from esophageal cancer when he was diagnosed with it. I have very little faith in the medical profession, as many doctors do not take enough time talking to their patients about their ailments. This is probably comparing apples to oranges, but Veterinarians take more time with their patients to find out what is wrong with them. I know, I know——animals can’t talk!! That aside, if doctors took more time with their patients instead of—-Hi, how are you feeling, I’ll prescribe this, come back if you’re not better, and out the door to see the next patient, they could be making a better diagnosis of what is actually wrong if they spent more time with their patients!!

      1. May be better to go an alternative route as there are so many side effects with chemistry/drugs!

    4. I have Barrett’s too. I had heart palpitations (racing heart) with the PPI medication. I was told the same, I had to take it and I also went through HALO ablation treatment. My DO was a Naturopath before becoming a Doctor. She helped me come off of the medication very slowly. I can’t remember the whole protocol but I’m still using Vital’s DGL powder, (coats the throat & aides digestion) digestive enzymes, chewable papaya enzyme plus but American Health after every meal. I cut back on coffee, rarely have caffeine. A low carb diet works best for me, high in healthy fats. I’ve been clear for about four years now. I try to rev up my digestion, not slow it down. Find someone who understands what you are going through and will help you move beyond medication. Good luck.

    1. What was it prescribed for? I did a search for ‘Finotadine’ and could not find any drug by that name.

      1. Try “Famotadine”, – thanks for your effort and reply. (I have since edited my post)

    2. According to drugs dot com:
      “Famotidine a histamine-2 blockers. Famotidine works by decreasing the amount of acid the stomach produces.”
      The articles I have found call it an antacid. I would think with long term use anything that reduces the acid in the stomach could cause problems with absorption of nutrients from food.

  2. I took NEXIUM for 3 years and stop using it more than a year ago, No problems at all. My stomach works perfectly.

  3. for the occasional indigestion, I take American Health’s chewable Original Papaya Enzyme. Works like a charm and is good for you too!!

  4. I use 1 tbls. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in 6-8 oz water up to 3 times a day when I have acid reflux. It works great. Plus, I blend fresh aloe vera gel with un-sugared juice to heal esophagus. Don’t use the aloe peel, it will give you diarrhea.

    1. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar works great for acid reflux and it is also fermented so it has other health benefits.

    2. I use apple-cider-vinegar capsules, which are more convenient, to prevent acid reflux. Two capsules before a meal restores my stomach acid, closing the pyloric valve, which prevents acid reflux.

      1. Good point, Alan8. However, lower pH closes the Cardiac sphincter at the entrance to the stomach, not the pyloric valve. Closing the pylorus would result in a blockage and inability to empty.

        1. This is why I love this site so much! So many bright people who bring more enlightenment and we help each other. It’s nice to have people of mental prowess to share with. Yes, it was the Cardiac sphincter that my brother had trouble with… horrible what the main stream medical pharma docs have done to him…. he never would listen to me.
          He also always ate big meals

  5. The top article that says ‘recent research’ actually goes to a research article on acid blockers and MI, not mitochondrial issues. I read the entire article and there is nothing about mitochondria in the article.

  6. Back in the late 1980s I began experiencing chronic acid reflux. The medicos had me on Nexium, Previcid, Prilosec… whatever was the latest nostrum. None of them gave the slightest relief. After 3 years of that nonsense I had developed achalasia. The esophageal sphincter was permanently damaged. At the time the Heller myotomy was the recommended fix. It is a medieval, Rube Goldberg surgical procedure, with a long recovery time and a dodgy success rate in persons my age. I declined. A shot of botox to the sphincter allowed a year of relief, but it is a one time procedure. I have learned to live with this condition. There is now a new procedure that appears promising, POEM (per oral endoscopic myotomy).
    The bottom line; seek other more benign remedies before going on the acid blockers. I discovered that supplementing probiotics cured my acid reflux, but it was too late. The damage had been done. I had tried papaya enzymes, to no avail. A large glass of cool water offered temporary relief, but did not address the causal factor, which I now suspect was an intestinal candida overgrowth.

    1. I suspect candida in my own case. I find it critical to avoid eating large amounts of high-carbohydrate items. When I fail that, sometimes for social reasons, it seems to be nasty gas being generated that actually causes the reflux. I doubt my stomach churns out more acid than usual to handle the carbs.

  7. My two cents worth here is going to be, here’s another class of pharmaceuticals approved by the FDA that should be immediately removed from the market, and classified as dangerous for human use! There have been far too many pharmaceuticals approved by the FDA that should be classified as dangerous poisons, and production of these dangerous drugs should be stopped! No wonder we see adverts too numerous too mention that if you have taken certain drugs, and suffered adverse effects, and/or death of a family member because of said drug(s) to contact any number of Attorneys to sue the pharmaceutical companies for damages! AND THE WORST PART OF ALL OF THIS IS THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE DOCTORS WHO PRESCRIBE THESE DANGEROUS DRUGS IS THAT THEY ARE IN CAHOOTS WITH BIG PHARMA!!

    1. I agree. And add tylenol to the llist of otc drugs that should be banned. My daughter and my ex-husband both suffered the side-effects of chronic antacid use. Finally, after much pleading and education, they have quit using them. My daughter still suffers despite using Betaine, bone broth, digestive enzymes and probiotics. She claims Bragg’s was not helpful. Do you have a reccomendation for a specific hydrochloric acid that she could use?

      1. Unfortunately, I do not. Personally, I do not suffer from acid reflux, so I have never had to use an antacid. Your daughter’s problem probably is because of chronic antacid use. I suggest that she try this recipe; Two tablespoons (measured) of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and one-half teaspoon (measured) baking soda in a large glass of water. Stir well. Do this twice daily. This is supposed to create a balance between acid and alkaline in the human body. Let me know if this helps her.

        1. I never heard of using them together. she has used each of these remedies separately. I will tell her to try this. thanks!

      2. Type in on a search line Siobhan alternative treatment for hydrochloric acid and you may see results that will help you.

    2. But Junior, it isn’t only about Pharma, it’s also OTC items like Tums, Rolaids, etc. People grab those so easily, besides drinking water with ones meal. Drinking water washes the first step of digestion away, b/c there are digestive enzymes in ones saliva when we chew our food. Pharma is horrible and all they turn out so that people will have worse problems than they started with. If anyone chooses to, type on a search line alternative treatments for …….?

      1. I agree with you, Linda. What’s even more troubling here is that the once available only by prescrition drugs like Prilosec, etc., are now common everyday OTC drugs!! The FDA has failed miserably to protect us from the dangerous drugs that Big Pharma is concocting every day of the week!!

  8. I used the Edgar Cayce 3 day apple diet after going into the hospital with severe GERD. The ER doctors wanted me to just take Acid Blockers but I knew that wasn’t the answer. When I got home I found the Edgar Cayce apple diet online and it worked like a charm to reset my stomach and gallbladder right. For 3 days you eat nothing but unlimited apples of all varieties. On the 3rd day, you take 1/2 cup of EVOO (I washed mine down with apple juice) and go to sleep immediately after and lay on your right side. I massages my gallbladder area for 10 minutes in bed and then fell asleep. The next day I had a fresh veggie/fruit juice that I made in my Ninja, and gradually worked my way up to a salad. After doing this apple fast, I felt so much better. No more burning acid for the most part. I repeated this apple fast a few times to keep lessening the acid and today I don’t have reflux anymore. I have incorporated lemons also more into my diet (I drink a warm lemonade with some stevia in the morning on an empty stomach and also in the evening on an empty stomach as the lemon oils dissolve fat/grease. I feel so much better than I did 9 months ago.

  9. Acid reflux can be due to low stomach acid. Gluten may hurt stomach cells that make stomach acid…HCl and intrinsic factor that carried Vit B12 into intestines. Taking HCl and enzymes with meals may help and eating no gluten/dairy/soy/sugar/GMO. ….taking vitamins/good oils/minerals…probiotic…LDN..detoxing. Blocking stomach acid may hurt digestion and overload the kidney/liver with Ca/Al etc.

  10. A significant number of my patients enter my office essentially “warehoused” on PPIs. They often share exam findings of obesity, male gender and are hypertensive. They are totally unaware of the risks of these medications. Most have never been worked up for achlorhydria, or Heliobactor pylori, or food sensitivities. Many only report discomfort at night, yet the prescribing physician never suggested they raise the head of their bed up 4-6″ to prevent reflux events. As other posters note, vineger–the type is not as important but the pH is–can help make the diagnosis of low acid levels, as well as be a remedy. Also useful is testing with Betaine Hydrochloride. One capsule with meals, adding one capsule at subsequent meals until discomfort is reached, then back off to the previous comfortable level. Initially, many people benefit from deglycyrrhizinated licorice tablets chewed at least 15 minutes before a meal–this ramps up the protective mucin content of the stomach. Some patients have hiatal hernias in which acid in the esophagus is a true health risk, and can lead to Barrett’s esophagitis and cancer. Nothing is certain without a proper workup, and of course most insurance today will balk at that.

    1. I agree about DGL. I learned about it years ago from Dr. Julian Whittaker. It can be found in most any health food store. It should be chewed thoroughly and mixed well with saliva before swallowing to be at its most effective. And yes, it works like a charm.

  11. If I don’t have that particular vinegar at hand, can I use regular apple cider vinegar?

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