Heartburn Medications Linked to Fat Gain

May 20, 2010 by moi 

Recent research evaluated the impact of regular use of acid medications on body weight and BMI. In this study, 24people with GERD (reflux disease) were followed for two years and compared to twenty-four control subjects. At the beginning of the study there were no differences in body weight and BMI between the groups of people . One group of people was placed on antacid medications to treat their heartburn while the control group was simply counseled on lifestyle and diet . At the end of the two-year study , 70% of the treatment group had gained approximately 8 pounds compared to the control group whose weight and BMI were unchanged.

We don’t quite understand why antacid medications seem to cause weight gain . Some researchers believe that antacids inhibit our ability to digest and absorb proteins which contains amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine. A deficiency in these amino acids may decrease the production of important brain chemicals that regulate appetite and metabolism. For example, l-tryptophan is the building block for serotonin ; the brain chemical that allows you to feel “happy”. L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is used in the production of thyroid hormone and dopamine; two compounds the impact metabolism and satiety. Phenylalanine plays a role in the production of endorphins, a natural compound, similar to morphine, that makes you feel good. It is also possible that poor digestion of proteins may result in a functional deficiency of amino acids needed to maintain your muscle mass and thus metabolism.

Remember, many “diseases” are your body’s way of telling you that something is out of balance. Treating these “diseases” with medications often covers up the underlined problem, and in doing so, sets the stage for other health iproblems . Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the use of pharmaceuticals ; I’m against sticking our head in the sand and assuming that those medications are fixing the real problem.

Reflux disease can be an indication of poor digestion . In many people, heartburn indicates that their body does not produce enough acid rather than too much stomach acid. Many things can cause the body to decrease acid production or neutralize existing acid, such as: heart medications, calcium supplements, stress, excess fluids with meals, to name a few.

The purpose of this article is to bring light to the connection between antacid medications and weight gain. If you are currently taking these medications, I would seek out the assistance of a physician who is well schooled in natural approaches to health. Such  a practitioner could help you discover the underlined cause of your heartburn issue so that the need for the medication could go away.

One final note; abruptly stopping an antacid medication could result in a rebound effect that could cause serious reflux. Always discuss your plans with a physician prior to changing or stopping a medication. For more information I recommend seeking out a weight loss blog or weight loss podcast that can shed further light on this connection.


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