When it comes to the coronavirus, we need every edge we can get.
Because while there are still plenty of questions about COVID-19, and precious few solid answers, one thing is increasingly clear. This virus is here for the long haul.
COVID-19 cases continue to rise. We’ve learned that it’s likely that the virus can be spread through the air. People of all ages are at risk. And folks who survive a battle with the bug may suffer from lifelong complications.
That’s the bad news.
But the silver lining is that as doctors detect more cases, our understanding of the coronavirus is increasing. Scientists are beginning to understand WHO is more likely to get sick and HOW they pick up the infection.
And if you, or someone you care about, suffer from heartburn, you’re going to want to keep reading. Because the results of a new observational study have the scientific world buzzing.
When researchers recently crunched the data from a group of self-reported surveys, the results were shocking. It appeared that common acid reflux drugs could increase your coronavirus risk by nearly FOUR TIMES.
PPIs could send coronavirus risk soaring
At least 15 million Americans take prescription proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). And millions more heartburn sufferers buy them over-the-counter.
PPIs are among the most popular medications in America. And most of the folks who pop those pills daily to prevent reflux have no clue of the risks they’re facing.
I’m not just talking about the coronavirus, either. If you’re a regular Healthier Talk reader, you’ve likely seen my warnings about these drugs before.
Proton pump inhibitors can lead to bacterial changes in the gut that alter how nutrients are absorbed. And that can leave you quietly suffering from hidden nutritional deficiencies.
Plus, PPIs are also notorious for increasing the risk of serious – and in some cases deadly- infections such as the C. diff “superbug” germ.
But the latest research revealed a terrifying new risk. Proton pump inhibitors appear to have a potential link to the COVID-19 infection that’s sickened millions of Americans and has left more than 130,000 dead.
The new study finds that taking a PPI drug daily may MORE THAN DOUBLE your coronavirus risk. And if you’re taking them twice a day, as many folks are, the risk could jump by nearly FOUR TIMES.
Now keep in mind, this was an observational study and the data that was collected from the volunteers was self-reported. That means we need to take the results with a grain of salt. And we’ll need more studies to back up these findings.
But the results were quite dramatic. And since where there is smoke there is usually fire… and there are alternatives to risky PPIs… it makes sense to pay attention.
Heartburn help without the risk
The study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, also hints at the cause for the rise in risk. It’s likely those same changes in the gut I mentioned earlier.
These heartburn medications alter the pH balance in your gastrointestinal system. So what does that mean?
Well, if you have a swimming pool, or ever worked at one in your youth, you know how closely you have to watch pH. You have a mess on your hands if it gets knocked off balance. And if it means that much to a pool, you can imagine how much more important it is to your gut.
The heartburn drugs essentially act as a neutralizer. And that can allow viral gastroenteritis infections to take hold.
Older studies have already found this change in the gut can also cause OTHER forms of coronaviruses to thrive. Some experts say it might even help these viruses spread to other places, including the lungs, which are hit so hard by COVID-19.
If you’re NOT on PPI heartburn drugs… don’t start. If you ARE, don’t quit without a plan. Because quitting PPIs can lead to a condition called “acid rebound,” in which the reflux comes back worse than ever.
But work on an exit plan with your doctor, ASAP.
Many people get quick heartburn relief from an old-fashioned remedy that’s fallen out of favor. Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a tall glass of water and drink it down.
For more severe reflux problems, others turn to DGL. This form of licorice root extract has been shown to safely tame stomach acid without medication risks.
Research shows DGL may help produce extra mucus that acts as a protective barrier against damaging acid. Just be sure to have a chat with your doctor first, as DGL may not always play nicely with other medications.