June 1, 2015

Antacids were originally developed for individuals with abnormal acid secretion in the stomach and thus had excessive amounts causing heart burn pain and eventually erosive gastritis. They were never intended for their current use as a hedge against the chicken wing, doughnut, pizza and junk food du jour diet. Unfortunately, this is exactly how most Americans use these medicines.

The side effects of these medicines have been well documented in the past. A new wrinkle has emerged with a recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics from August 2014. The authors looked at antacid use in children between the ages of 2 and 18 years and found that 1 in 2 children diagnosed with C. difficile colitis had been on an acid suppressing medicine. C. difficile is a bacterial pathogen found in our intestines that tends to cause trouble when we use antibiotic medicines repeatedly. When this happens, the bacterium replicates in vast numbers triggering an immune reaction that irritates the bowel wall. This causes inflammation known as colitis. If untreated or the bacterium is resistant to treatment, it can be deadly.

The obvious conclusion from this study is to avoid these medicines if possible. If you are on one and can stop it, do so. The way to come off of an antacid is to change your diet to an anti-inflammatory type, reduce stress, exercise, take targeted supplements that heal the mucosa of the gut, reduce caffeine/alcohol intake, etc... For a comprehensive approach to reflux/GERD, read the excellent book by Dr. Gerry Mullin, The Inside Tract.

C. difficile colitis is nasty, be proactive and avoid it,

Dr. M