Proton pump inhibitors are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs. They block the ability of your stomach to make acid. Common examples include Nexium, Losec, Prevacid, Zoton, and Pariet. New research has shown that taking these drugs can raise your chances of developing celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease whereby ingestion of gluten triggers inflammation and destruction of the small intestine. A strict gluten-free diet is the only cure. The incidence of celiac disease has been steadily climbing over the past decades; according to research comparing the stored blood of soldiers with people today, celiac disease has increased by up to four times in the past 50 years.

There are several possible explanations for this, but a recent study is very interesting. A paper titled “Use of proton pump inhibitors and subsequent risk of celiac disease” was published in the journal Digestive and Liver Disease. The researchers examined digital biopsy reports from 28 pathology departments in Sweden and used the Swedish National Prescribed Drug Registry to check if celiac disease patients and healthy control patients were prescribed any protein pump inhibitors or histamine 2 receptor antagonists (a different type of stomach acid blocking drug).

The results were quite significant: 16% of patients with celiac disease had a prior PPI prescription, while only 4% of controls did. The association remained strong for both genders and all ages; however, it was stronger for men and for patients younger than 20 years.

Why do proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) raise the risk of celiac disease?

It is thought to happen for at least 2 reasons:

  1. PPIs increase the permeability of the stomach, and can allow the absorption of gluten straight into the bloodstream, triggering an immune response.
  2. By reducing the quantity of acid in the stomach, all proteins cannot be digested properly, which increases the risk of an immune response in the small intestine. It is also possible that people who need proton pump inhibitors have digestive problems that already predispose them to developing celiac disease.

In most cases there are healthier alternatives for GERD and other digestive problems than proton pump inhibitors. Here are some tips that may help you:

  • If you are overweight, it is vital to lose weight, and the best way to do this is with a diet low in sugar and grains, and high in vegetables, protein and natural fats, such as in my book I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why.
    Try not to eat overly large meals, especially in the evening, as this will increase pressure inside the stomach.
  • Do not drink with your meals. Confine your fluid intake to between meals.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes around the middle and do not bend over after meals.
  • If you are constipated, reflux and bloating will be worse. If a healthy diet isn't enough to help you go to the toilet, Colon Detox capsules should help.
  • Avoid excessive coffee and alcohol. Some people find that spicy food such as chilli or curry will aggravate symptoms, so trial and error is required.
  • A diet low in sugar and deep fried foods will reduce symptoms of heartburn and reflux.
  • Consume a diet high in vegetables to reduce the symptoms of heartburn. The fiber from vegetables is usually more gentle on the digestive system than the fiber in grains. If you need additional fiber, Fibertone powder contains gentle and soothing ingredients, including slippery elm, which can give immediate symptom relief for GERD.
  • Raw juices or green smoothies can help to alkalinize the stomach between meals. Alkaline juices or smoothies contain plenty of green produce such as green apples, celery, cucumber, mint, parsley and fennel combined with carrot; these foods alkalinize your gut, thereby reducing excess stomach acidity.
  • If you are taking long-term antacid drugs such as PPIs, it is wise to sip organic apple cider vinegar during your meals to increase acid for the digestive processes. Dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar in 3 tablespoons of water and sip slowly during your meals. You may also benefit from a digestive enzymes supplement which should help to improve your digestion and reduce abdominal bloating. Taking a probiotic supplement should also help to reduce bloating.

Glutamine is an amino acid that can reduce inflammation in the lining of the stomach and good results can be achieved by taking one teaspoon of pure glutamine powder twice daily in coconut or almond milk. You can find glutamine in my Ultimate Gut Health powder.

Please don’t discontinue any medication without your doctor’s supervision.


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.