March 31st, 2011
By: Melissa Makris
Acid reflux, and the heartburn that results, occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. About one-third of Americans experience heartburn on a regular basis. Treatment with both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications might temporarily stop the burning, but the relief can come at a substantial health cost.
Conventional doctors generally blame excess stomach acid, or hyperacidity, for acid reflux, even though a mechanism to support this claim has not been found. A defective or weakened lower esophageal sphincter, the valve at the top of the stomach, is generally where the blame is placed, although that does not address why excess acid is the culprit.
Many holistic doctors believe that the cause of acid reflux is actually too little stomach acid, or hypoacidity. From what is known about how the digestive process works, these claims can be substantiated.
After chewing, food goes down the esophagus and into the stomach via the esophageal sphincter. The presence of food in the stomach triggers a hormone called gastrin, which controls the amount of gastric juices that are secreted.
Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is one of the main components of gastric juices. Enough stomach acid needs to be produced to reduce the stomach pH to around 1.5-2.5. This triggers protein-digesting enzymes, kills harmful microbes, and allows for proper mineral absorption.
If at any time the pH of the stomach drops too low, the hormone gastrin is inhibited and the production of HCl ceases. This negative feedback mechanism is commonly ignored, or unknown, by many conventional doctors.
Frequently, it is too little stomach acid that causes digestive distress. Too little HCl inhibits proper digestion and prolongs the time the food stays in the stomach. The longer the food sits in the stomach, the greater the chance of the esophageal sphincter relaxing and allowing acids to come up into the esophagus. Pepsin, the main enzyme responsible for protein digestion, can also irritate the stomach if present for long periods of time.
When someone takes an antacid for acid reflux, the drug dramatically increases the pH of the stomach. The stomach responds by producing more HCl in an attempt to bring the pH back down.
Encouraging more HCl production is beneficial, but the way these OTC drugs go about this actually makes the problem much worse. This is because the cells responsible for making stomach acid, the parietal cells, need to have reserves of certain minerals in order to produce the HCl. The most important of these minerals are zinc, magnesium, and chloride.
But a person experiencing frequent episodes of heartburn is more than likely already depleted in these minerals, so the parietal cells do not have enough energy to keep up the HCl production. When the antacids stop working, conventional doctors tend to recommend protein-pump inhibitors (PPI). These kinds of drugs completely block stomach acid production.
Low stomach acid, and the corresponding higher stomach pH, already leaves people vulnerable to food poisoning, ulcers, parasites, and other kinds of stomach infections. It also makes it difficult to utilize protein and critical nutrients from food.
Acid reflux medications greatly increase these nutrient deficiencies, notably B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. In fact, last May the FDA warned that long-term users of PPI`s were at increased risk of bone fractures. The agency was unable to link deficiencies in calcium and magnesium to the bone loss, however, stating “the association between the drugs and bone fractions is still not understood.” Other side effects seen from long-term PPI usage are stomach atrophy, liver damage, anemia, fungal growth in the esophagus, and cancerous stomach polyps.
July, 19 2010
By: David Gutierrez
The HIV drug Videx (sold generically as didanosine) may cause fatal liver problems, the FDA has warned.
Since the drug’s initial approval, the agency has received 42 adverse event reports linking Videx and its delayed release version Videx EC to a rare liver disorder known as non-cirrotic portal hypertension. In four of these cases, patients died from liver failure or severe bleeding. Only three patients were able to fully recover from the condition, and all of those needed a liver transplant. Patients had been undergoing treatment with the drug for anywhere from months to years.
Although it has not yet been proven that the drugs caused the liver disorder, the FDA noted that there is definitely an association between the two.
In non-cirrotic portal hypertension, blood flow through a major vein in the liver becomes constricted, causing blood to back up into the esophagus. Veins in the throat can become so enlarged that they rupture, leading to serious and potentially fatal bleeding.
Although the FDA stated that the benefits for HIV patients still outweigh the risks, it warned that Videx patients should be closely monitored for any signs of portal hypertension. Furthermore, it noted that “the decision to use this drug … must be made on an individual basis between the treating physician and the patient.”
Videx was first approved in 1991, and the delayed release version was approved in 2000. The drug is a type of antiretroviral drug known as a nucleoside analogue, and slows the proliferation of HIV to prolong the onset of AIDS and extend the life of patients.
It has previously been linked to other forms of liver damage, especially in combination with other antiretroviral drugs including hydroxyurea and ribavirin.
According to a spokesperson for manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squib, worldwide sales of the drug amounted to $71 million in 2009.
November 06, 2009
By Todd Zwillich
As many as 100,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the U.S. each year if Americans get rid of their excess body fat.
That’s according to estimates released by the American Institute for Cancer Research. The estimates suggest that heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems aren’t the only illnesses in which rampant obesity is causing havoc.
The group says overweight and obesity could be the cause of more than 6% of all the estimated 1.6 million cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
A 2007 report from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Foundation reviewed hundreds of studies and found what researchers called “convincing evidence” that obesity was tied to several cancers. Those included cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, and kidneys. It also included colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer (a form of uterine cancer).
Researchers also said it was “probable” that excess abdominal fat was a cause of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Experts took estimates of obesity’s influence on cancer and applied them to a breakdown of the approximately 1.6 million U.S. cancer cases per year.
The researchers estimate that excess body fat is the cause of 33,000 breast cancer cases each year, nearly one-sixth the total cases in postmenopausal women. Obesity could be to blame for nearly 21,000 cases of endometrial cancer and more than 13,000 cases of colorectal cancer per year.
Researchers stressed that the figures are only estimates, and that individual cancer cases can have many, inter-connected causes.
October 19, 2009
By Mike Adams
What exactly is “acid reflux disease?” Health consumers are quite familiar with the term (and the symptoms, in many cases), but few have a solid grasp of its underlying causes.
For one thing, the term “disease” doesn’t really apply to this condition. Acid reflux isn’t something you “catch” (like malaria); it’s just a pattern of symptoms with an underlying biochemical cause that can be corrected. And here, in the quotes you’ll find below, we present a wealth of information about what really causes acid reflux (and how to reverse this “disease” by changing your eating habits).
Check out the quotes below and find out what you may have never known about acid reflux…
The causes (and cures) for acid reflux “disease”
In a phenomenon known as acid reflux, food and acid splash up into the esophagus, causing heartburn, chest pains, and belching. A person with severe symptoms may regurgitate stomach acid into the throat and the mouth. Sometimes the acid reflux leads to angina-like chest pains and spasms; the symptoms may be so intense that they are mistaken for a heart attack. Over long periods of time, the constant irritation of the esophagus can lead to inflammation, scarring, ulceration, hemorrhaging, and even esophageal cancer.
The reason I mention these things now is acid reflux disease is a perfect example of how the FDA and the drug companies worked together to create a monopoly and to create a “disease,” and to create billions of dollars in profits. Let me tell you how it works, and I will tell you the cure for “acid reflux disease.” Years ago there was no such thing as acid reflux disease. The reason that today we hear about acid reflux disease is because when the FDA passed the law that “Only a drug can cure, prevent, or treat a disease,” it set up a monopoly for the drug companies in treating diseases.
When people come up to me and say, “I have acid reflux. What can be done?” I then ask, “How many drugs are you on?” They are on one, two, three, four or more. The answer is, “I’ll tell you what. Get off all the drugs, do the Candida cleanse, and then come back in two months and tell me if you still have acid reflux.” If a person were to do that, their symptoms would be gone. They don’t understand that the reason they have acid reflux is because the root cause of it has not been addressed. The root causes of virtually all disease are nonprescription and prescription drugs.
If you want to eliminate acid reflux, start eating more food that has living enzymes. Eat organic, fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. Go back to my book. Eat a raw organic apple a day. Eat a fresh salad with lunch and dinner consisting of raw organic vegetables. This will add living enzymes. This is a good start. Now let me give you some additional suggestions to help with acid reflux. 1. Raw apple cider vinegar. Take one tablespoon right before you eat each meal. This should eliminate any acid reflux.