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Top 5 side-effects of Proton-Pump Inhibitors & Statin Drugs

By: M. Moriah Mor, CHN

Proton Pumps (PP’s) are essentially present in almost every cell of the body including the stomach.  All cells, except for red blood cells, have mitochondria which is where the body produces energy by converting carbohydrate and fat to energy.  PP’s are utilized to generate an electrical charge that occurs via an Electron Transport Chain providing the mitochondria the ability to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), simply it is the body’s ability to produce energy.  PP’s assist various parts of the body to maintain their effective balance including supporting an alkaline or acidic state. For example, PP’s assist to maintain the pH of lysosomes (immune cells) at a more acid state of pH 4.5.

In the stomach, PP’s are essential in the production of Hydrochloric Acid (HCI) where it is generally at approx. pH 2.5, a critical element for protein digestion.  Proton Pumps are potassium dependent, a key nutrient necessary for healthy digestive function and overall alkalinity of the blood.  When this process is disrupted, proper protein digestion will not occur therefore, affecting the entire digestion process and the body’s ability to liberate nutrients.

In the late 1980’s the first approved for market Protein Pump Inhibitor was introduced first in Europe and then the US. The general “theory” is that heartburn is caused by excess production of stomach acid and therefore by inhibiting the Proton Pump’s function in making HCI, the PPI will reduce the acidity of the stomach and prevent the burning sensation of acid re-flux, GERD or the formation of peptic ulcers.   Unfortunately, this theory does not support the body’s innate function with the understanding that it is actually an insufficient amount of HCI that creates the acid re-flux due to an overgrowth of bacteria and a longer digestion process in the stomach.  Given that HCI decreases as we age, in-taking PPI only exacerbates the problem.

There are several Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) like Nexium that have been proven, especially with long-term use, to have many adverse, and in some cases life-threatening, side effects.  One of the primary disruptions of these PPI drugs is its effect on the depletion of potassium in the body.  Potassium plays a key role in healthy mitochondria function, digestion, immune and heart health.  Potassium at its core assists the body to liberate nutrients and assists the stabilization of blood alkalinity.  Research supports the following side effects attributed to prolonged use of PPI’s:

  • Altering the GI Tract: PPI reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach and ultimately causes a significant shift of the pH in the intestines. This decrease of microbiome in the intestine means the good bacteria colony becomes less diverse which in turn creates an internal environment that is prone to more infections and invasions leading to a weaker ecosystem of the GI tract health.
  • Impair Nutrient Absorption: HCI is essential for absorption and liberation of nutrients. Research shows an increase risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies including Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium.  It is indicated that a lack of HCI, leading to stomach inflammation, allows for the overgrowth of bacteria which has been found to compete with the body’s consumption of micro-nutrients ie. Vitamin B12.
  • Kidney Damage: Several studies as recent as 2016 showed extended use of PPI’s caused chronic kidney disease. It is not fully clear the exact process of how this occurs however, what is known is that Proton Pumps are present in the cells of the kidney and are responsible for moving protons into the urine which allows for bicarbonate re-absorption into the blood.  Bicarbonate is vitally important for maintaining proper blood pH.  Clearly, when this process is disrupted the alkalinity in the blood is affected.
  • Osteoporosis: Research shows that due to the mal absorption of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin B12, Iron and Magnesium, long-term use of PPI had a direct effect on bone/hip fractures. In addition, the lack of sufficient iron absorption also contributes to anemia.
  • Increase the risk of Cardiovascular Disease: PPI have been shown to significantly increase the risk of heart attacks. One of the primary reasons, aside from the depletion of potassium which is essential for maintaining heart and muscle contraction, PPI’s have been shown to reduce the production of nitric oxide, a natural substance that promotes dilation of blood vessels and improves blood flow.
  • Negatively Affects Cognitive Function: A study conducted in 2016 found that long-term use of PPI increased the risk of dementia. In addition, other studies showed significant correlation with the use of PPI’s to impairment of visual memory and attention.  Brain cells require Proton Pumps to transmit/carry signals and work together with neurotransmitters in messaging.  Clearly, when these PP’s are inhibited cognitive abilities would certainly be impaired.

How much money globally do people spend on PPI’s each year?

The global Proton Pump Inhibitor market is expected to exceed USD 3.24 billion between 2019-2023 according to Business Wire.

The top 5 side-effects of Statin Drugs & Global Expenditure

As of 2017 the global market for cholesterol-lowering drugs was estimated to be $19.2 billion, a trend that is expected to have a continued growth each year.

Statins are prescribed for individuals with high cholesterol to lower their cholesterol and reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.  Research supports the link between Statin drugs and side effects including muscle pain, digestive problems, liver damage, increased blood glucose / Type 2 diabetes, fatigue, mitochondria depletion and cognitive clarity.

Studies show that Statins have a direct effect on the production of the body’s natural occurring CoQ-10 enzyme.  This enzyme has several key roles in the body such as muscle cell energy production, mitochondria energy production, is a transporter of Protons (for ATP production) as well as functioning as an antioxidant in cell membranes.  Additional studies indicate Statins can cause an increase in the level of enzymes that are attributed to liver inflammation.  In addition, Statins have been shown to disrupt the absorption of Vitamin B5 which is needed for healthy cholesterol production that is utilized to make cortisol and sex hormones.

Due to Statin drugs having a half-life of 14-30 hours, prolonged use has an extremely high probability of creating more damage to the body due to bio-accumulation in the system.

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