Could Antacids Turn Your Heartburn into a Heart Attack?

During the course of the year, over 60% of Americans will suffer from heartburn.

Heartburn is the main sign of acid reflux — a burning sensation in your chest that can travel up your throat.

In some cases, this pain can be severe enough to be mistaken for a heart attack.

To combat heartburn, millions of Americans take antacids. You can buy popular brands like Prilosec OTC, Nexium and Prevacid at just about any grocery or drug store.

Yet, the truth behind antacids is that the temporary relief they provide might have a deadly consequence.

That is, they might increase your chance of having a heart attack.

Are You at Risk?

A new in-depth study from Houston Methodist and Stanford University scientists revealed something as fascinating as it may be frightening.

Adults who use antacids in the form of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are between 16% and 21% more likely to experience a heart attack than people who don’t use the commonly prescribed antacid drugs.

PPIs like Prilosec OTC, Nexium and Prevacid are designed to lower stomach acid, which in turn should prevent heartburn.

But research suggests that PPIs may reduce nitric oxide production from cells that line the inside of the circulatory system.

This damage can extend to the heart.

And lower levels of nitric oxide have long been associated with cardiovascular problems.

“By looking at data from people who were given [antacid] drugs primarily for acid reflux and had no prior history of heart disease, our data-mining pipeline signals an association with a higher rate of heart attacks,” said the study’s lead author, Nigam H. Shah, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Stanford, where the work was done.

“Our results demonstrate that [antacids] appear to be associated with elevated risk of heart attack in the general population.”

The FDA estimates about one in 14 Americans have used this type of antacid.

In 2009, PPIs were the No. 3 used drug in the United States. Global sales top $13 billion each year.

Doctors prescribe PPIs to treat many diseases, like gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause severe inflammation if left untreated.

Another condition called Barrett’s esophagus develops from inflammation and can, in turn, lead to esophageal cancer.

In other words, heartburn and acid reflux can cause longer-term damage. But, PPI antacids are not a cure for either.

They are a bandage to mask the real problem.

And now, this research suggests they could cause even bigger problems for our health.

What Really Causes Heartburn?

Once food passes through the esophagus into the stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes to prevent food or acid coming back up.

Acid reflux occurs when the LES relaxes improperly, allowing acid from the stomach to flow backward (reflux) into the esophagus.

Heartburn is not caused by an overabundance of stomach acid. It is caused by a faulty valve in the esophagus.

This faulty valve is usually a result of one of these two things:

1. Hiatal hernia — when the stomach pushes upward through the diaphragm and causes the LES to open improperly. A hiatal hernia is very difficult to spot without the help of a specialist.

If you have a hiatal hernia, physical therapy on the area may work. Many chiropractors are skilled in this adjustment.

2. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection — a gastrointestinal infection causing chronic inflammation in the stomach lining. This leads to a weakened LES and, in turn, acid reflux.

H. pylori is one of the many diseases that can disturb the natural gastric balance in the gut. If you’re experiencing acid reflux, see a specialist for a gut biopsy.

There are some also general gut health guidelines you can follow to help cure H.pylori and other inflammatory gut diseases.

Stay tuned to your upcoming Saturday Uncommon Wisdom Daily editions for an in-depth look at how to naturally cure your heartburn and how to maintain a healthy gut.

Happy and Healthy Investing,

Brad Hoppmann


Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “Could Antacids Turn Your Heartburn into a Heart Attack?”

  1. My heartburn started after six months from my old habit of chewing tobacco for about thirty five years. Tums minor help, but Prilosec or Nexium really worked very good. Stopped those drugs and had a Alka Seltzer mix with one half water and the other half lemonade. Now stopped that habit as 325 Aspirin is too much. So drug withdrawal does something and four years later it’s over for a problem! When I used to work, my friends who started having heartburn and trying to find more antacid at work, ended up having heart problems. My thought was maybe heartburn comes from heart problems, not antacid causing heart problems?

  2. This is why I dont take acid reducers anymore!

    I have had severe acid reflux problems for almost 10 years and at one point I had completely given up on trying to fix it. I almost developed Esophageal Cancer and felt like the end of my life was on its way. Anyways, After years of searching I came across this blog where a guy told a story about how he cured his acid reflux completely.I read it and it has helped me out tremendously.

    Here is the story if you want to read it

    Hope I was Helpful

  3. Hi Brad, I was 34 and eating antacids like candy. My uncle told me to sip two ounces of blackberry wine, warmed in a cup, every day for 2 weeks to start and whenever I had acid pain. I’m a skeptic about most home remedies but tried it. You can feel a warm sensation in your chest as it coats your esophagus and the pain quickly fades. I’m 53 now and haven’t taken an antacid in 19 years. I keep a bottle of Blackberry Manischewitz (a kosher wine available at many grocery stores) in the fridge and only need about 1 liter per year; mostly for flare-ups from eating too much spicy food.

    Thanks for the health tips,


  4. I have been taking Nexium for 20 years. I also have a Hiatus Hernia and I have had two stents placed in my heart artery, one to probably save my life. However I am a lot closer to 90 than 80 and the heart bit didn’t emerge till 80, so on balance in mycase, I think it was a reasonable trade-off. I stiill walk hills, drive long distances, when my spinal fusion lets me, and generally make a nuisance of myself. Maybe that’s what a lot of life is about, trade-offs and not focusing too closely on the details. Let the professionals worry and hope you pick a good one. Keep the infomation coming , you do a good job. PS. Right now I am buggered with my back and that is a nuisance!

  5. Try using a teaspoon of baking soda in about 6oz of water. Drink as needed. A medical study in Britain discovered that the use of a teaspoon/ day of soda dissolved in water will stop the continued malfunctioning of the kidneys. That’s an extra bonus. I have been using soda to sweeten my stomach for about 15 years. The neutralizing response to drinking this solution is immediate.

  6. Hey Brad,

    Appreciate your efforts to address basic health issues that can create a plethora of problems for your health.

    Really is more important to me than making money! After all, if you haven’t got your health its hard to enjoy the most important things in life: family, friends, community and the things money can help you enjoy with them.

  7. Brad,
    A month or so you had a article in regards to “leaky gut and heart attacks”. I did not save that article and would like to obtain that article and do some follow up on that article. Why? About two months ago my wife experienced a heart attack and some doctor’s have indicated she may be struggling with “leaky gut” and now that I read that article on leaky gut and heart attack, I would appreciate if you can email me that article.
    Thank you and God Bless.

  8. I am an 83 year old male currently being treated for Barett’s esophagus using the radio frequency ablation “Halo” procedure. I take 20 mg of Rabaprezole twice daily before meals and would be interested to hear more on this topic.

  9. Mr. Hoppmann:

    GERD is also caused by too little stomach acid . Vinegar or citric acid should be taken with meals. A heaping teaspoon of sugar also knocks down heartburn almost immediately. Read the Water Cure books for fascinating information about how water can cure ulcers, even those caused by H. Pylori.


    Michael Ponzani

  10. You missed one of the most common causes of acid reflux; Acid reflux induced by positional exercise specifically core work. As a dentist, with a high population of surfers I can testify to the large percentage of surfers swimmers etc that suffer from acid reflux. I can provide you with recent scientific studies but my observations over the last 35 years convinced me a long time ago. Geoffrey Bell DDS

  11. Hi I’ve had GERD for more than 10 years.. it is supposedly caused by my having a haital hernia.. and over the years I’ve taken prescription strength Tagament, then ZATAC, then Prilosec , which I was told would heal the hernia.
    Now two weeks ago I had what I thought was just another GERD attack but this time when I went to the emergency room I was admitted to the hospital because I now had Troponan in my blood which is an enzyme that the body releases when you are suffering a heart attack!
    I had to have my blood work done every 6 hours until the level of Troponan had peaked so they could then preform and Angiogram to find out what action to take next either insert a sten or have open heart bypass surgury or if it was not that serious to treat it wih with medicines!
    I was lucky, since it only required taking some more medicines!
    However I wonder if I had opted for the operation of my valve many years ago if that would have been a better choice and since it was an elective surgury (i.e. not covered by my insurance) would this be a better optin for me now!

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