Are you exchanging heartburn for osteoporosis?

April 21, 2009
Volume 06    |   Issue 20

Don’t be quick to answer “No.” Are you taking over-the-counter or prescription medications for heartburn? If so, a new study says you might be at a higher risk for breaking bones.

This was an impressive study, as it followed more than 15,000 heartburn patients. All of them took proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). The researchers found that the PPIs significantly increased their rate of osteoporosis-related fractures.

You may not have put two and two together, but this makes perfect sense. PPIs are antacids — drugs that reduce the production of stomach acids. This also reduces the pain from heartburn and peptic ulcers. But without sufficient stomach acid, your body can’t break down and utilize bone-building nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and protein.

Osteoporosis doesn’t occur overnight. In fact, you may need to take a PPI for at least five years before it can lead to a broken hip. After seven years, it can increase your risk for any broken bone. Sadly, many people take antacids daily for decades, thinking they’re safe.

They’re not.

Fortunately, there are other solutions to ulcers and heartburn. Begin with dietary changes and supplements. These include probiotics and digestive enzymes. I’ve talked about some of these in my latest book, 456 Most Powerful Healing Secrets.

Continued Below...

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Not sure whether or not the medication you’re taking for heartburn is a PPI? Here’s a list of some

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Laura E. Targownik MD MSHS, Lisa M. Lix PhD, Colleen J. Metge PhD, Heather J. Prior MSc, Stella Leung MSc, William D. Leslie MD. Use of proton pump inhibitors and risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. CMAJ, 2008; 179 (4) DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.071330.

J. Brent Richards, MD and David Goltzman, MD. Proton pump inhibitors: balancing the benefits and potential fracture risks. CMAJ, 2008; 179: 306-307 DOI: 10.150/cmaj.080873.


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