Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the 10 most widely used drugs in the world. In 2012, there were 157 million prescriptions written for these stomach-acid inhibiting drugs.1 More than likely, either you or someone you know is taking these medications.
While PPIs may alleviate the problem of excess stomach acid, many people don’t realize that these drugs are associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer, pneumonia, c. difficile infections, osteoporosis (you need stomach acid to absorb nutrients such as magnesium and calcium into bones), and vitamin B12 deficiency, among other serious diseases.2
The Rationale Behind PPIs
The stomach secretes digestive fluids with a pH2 value, which creates a highly acidic environment. These acidic gastric secretions sterilize bacteria in foods that are eaten, and are essential for the digestion and absorption of various nutrients, including protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.
Obviously, stomach acid that can digest food can also damage delicate intestinal mucosa. The body has protective mechanisms—including mucosal mucous/bicarbonate secretion and sphincter contraction of the gastroesophageal junction—to prevent gastroesophageal damage. But if the sphincter is weakened, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus. The backwash of acid irritates the esophageal lining, causing heartburn and the regurgitation of food. If the condition persists, it may cause chest pain, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, hoarseness, and disrupted sleep. Left untreated, GERD can lead to esophageal ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus, and precancerous changes known as Barrett’s esophagus. Continue reading “The Hidden Dangers of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)”
Enhancing Cellular Defense Mechanisms with Adaptogens
Aging is associated with a decrease in adaptive abilities along with increased vulnerability to stress. At the same time, aging is a complex process involving a persistent activation of some stress response systems, often involving transcriptional reprogramming, and the activation of vitagenes, which can be consider a ‘geroprotective’ adaptation.13 Environmental stressors induce specific and predictable epigenetic changes that can eventually result in an adaptive response to the stimulus. It seems likely that mild stress-induced hormetic response involves mechanisms similar to those that underlie developmental epigenetic adaptations.
The illustration below shows the involvement of hormesis in the epigenetic processes that determine age-related disorders and longevity.14
Dose–response curve depicting the quantitative features of hormesis
Hormesis is a biological phenomenon whereby a beneficial effect (improved health, stress tolerance, growth or longevity) results from exposure to low doses of an agent that is otherwise toxic or lethal when given at higher doses. Continue reading “Enhancing Cellular Defense Mechanisms with Adaptogens”
“I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.” ~Sherlock Holmes.
Conventional medicine has long been wary of traditional herbal medicine, particularly when it comes to the potential interactions of herbs and pharmaceutical drugs. However, the focus of conventional medicine always seems to be on the negative interactions of herbs and drugs, when in fact, herb-drug interactions can often be positive.
Continue reading “The Truth about Herb-Drug Interactions: An Honest Evaluation of the Benefits and Risks When Weighing Scientific Data and Clinical Experience”
Many people are concerned about environmental toxins, and I’m often asked, “What’s the best approach to detoxification?” Studies show that everyone has dozens of environmental toxins—pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and by-products from plastics—stored in their liver and fat cells. Not only do we accumulate toxins through inhaling and ingesting them, our bodies also create toxins as a normal by-product of metabolic functioning. To add to the toxic overload, a lack or imbalance of key nutritional compounds causes cellular malnourishment and dysfunction, infectious organisms produce toxins, and stress initiates allostatic overload, resulting in more toxicity.
Continue reading “Detoxify For Better Health”
Bacopa (Bacopa monniera) has long been revered in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic for improving memory—the plant is so highly valued that it’s called “Brahmi,” referring to Brahma, the creator of the universe in the Hindu tradition. Ayurvedic practitioners regard bacopa as a rasayana (restorative adaptogenic tonic), and for thousands of years have prescribed it for relieving debility (particularly mental debility), mental chatter, insomnia, depression, chronic fatigue, as a brain tonic to enhance memory development, learning, and concentration1 and to provide relief from anxiety and epileptic disorders.2 Bacopa is also recommended as a general tonic to slow the aging process. In India and Pakistan, bacopa is prescribed as a cardiac tonic, digestive aid, and to improve respiratory function in cases of bronchoconstriction.3
Continue reading “An Ayurvedic Memory Tonic: Bacopa (Bacopa monniera)”