Acid Reflux Drugs Can Increase Your Chance Of Liver Disease

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Researchers have found the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) could encourage growth of a specific bacteria that increases a person’s chance of liver disease.

PPIs are commonly-used to reduce the amount of gastric acid – also known as stomach acid – produced. It also prevents acid reflux, the burning sensation caused when acid from the stomach travels up the esophagus.

The research, conducted by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in La Jolla, and published in Nature journal, indicates that PPI medications promote the growth of a gut microbe connected to chronic liver disease.

“Our stomachs produce gastric acid to kill ingested microbes,” explains senior study author Dr. Bernd Schnabl, “and taking a medication to suppress gastric acid secretion can change the composition of the gut microbiome.”

“We found that the absence of gastric acid promotes growth of Enterococcus bacteria in the intestines and translocation [transfer] to the liver, where they exacerbate inflammation and worsen chronic liver disease.”

The team explored the effects of gastric acid suppression and how it relates to alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), using mice models. After their results showed PPIs increased instances of liver disease in mice given PPIs, they moved to human studies, to confirm the effects. They analyzed stool samples from individuals diagnosed with chronic alcohol abuse.

Researchers found that the risk of being diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease within 10 years was 20.7 percent for those currently taking PPIs, and 16.1 percent for those who used to take PPIs but had since ceased this treatment.

If you are concerned you may be at risk for liver disease, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Chinese herbal medicine has treated the proper function of the liver for two millennia. Your body starts to show many signs before a progressed worsened state of the liver is manifested – so we can help before matters get worse. A trained herbalist will take your pulse and can see what kind of herbal treatment needs to be taken and for how long. A few of the telling signs of a worsening liver include: yellowing of the eyes/skin, mood swings, depression and anger, brittle nails, worsening vision, disrupted sleep, fatigue, high blood pressure, frequent headaches and irritable bowel behavior.

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