Drugs used to control heartburn or reflux are some of the most commonly used medications in the world. Recent research shows they may increase the risk of chronic liver disease. They do this by altering the intestinal microbiome. They encourage the growth of harmful gut bugs that can cause injury to liver cells.

The most commonly used stomach acid suppressing drugs are referred to as proton pump inhibitors. Some examples include Losec, Zoton, Nexium, Pariet and Prevacid. New research has shown these drugs alter gut bacteria in a harmful way, which can lead to three different types of liver disease.

This research was carried out at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, and published in the journal Nature Communications. According to the lead researcher, "Our stomachs produce gastric acid to kill ingested microbes, and taking a medication to suppress gastric acid secretion can change the composition of the gut microbiome. Since we found previously that the gut microbiome -- the communities of bacteria and other microbes living there -- can influence liver disease risk, we wondered what effect gastric acid suppression might have on the progression of chronic liver disease. We found that the absence of gastric acid promotes growth of Enterococcus bacteria in the intestines and translocation to the liver, where they exacerbate inflammation and worsen chronic liver disease."

The three liver diseases that proton pump inhibitor drugs raise the risk of are alcohol-induced liver disease, NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) and NASH (steatohepatitis, which is a more severe form of fatty liver which can be fatal). Each of these liver diseases raises the risk of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death worldwide, and rates in the USA and other western nations are rising astronomically.

The researchers concluded their study with the following statement: "Our findings indicate that the recent rise in use of gastric acid-suppressing medications might have contributed to the increased incidence of chronic liver disease. Although obesity and alcohol use predispose a person to acid reflux requiring antacid medication, many patients with chronic liver disease take gastric acid suppressive medications without appropriate indication. We believe clinicians should consider withholding medications that suppress gastric acid unless there is a strong medical indication."

It is true that being overweight and suffering with reflux and heartburn are associated with a greater risk of fatty liver.

This is because obesity is associated with a higher level of harmful bacteria in the intestines. Sugar and refined carbohydrates like bread, breakfast cereals, cookies, crisps and foods made of flour encourage the overgrowth of bad gut bugs. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a well known risk factor for fatty liver. Taking an acid suppressing drug compounds this problem. Stomach acid is your friend. It is very necessary for adequate digestion of protein and minerals, but also it’s a wonderful disinfectant for your gut. You can take stomach acid in supplement form. It is called betaine hydrochloride. It should help to improve nutrient absorption and discourage bacterial overgrowth. BactoClear capsules contain essential oils of clove, oregano and thyme. They have a powerful antimicrobial action in the gut.

Glutamine is an amino acid that can reduce inflammation in the lining of the stomach and esophagus, and good results can be achieved by taking one level scoop of  Ultimate Gut Health powder after meals in water, juice or a smoothie. Please don’t discontinue any medication without prior discussion with your doctor.

It is vital to protect your liver

You can protect your liver cells with my liver tonic Livatone Plus. It helps to make your liver a better detoxifier, clears fat from the liver and helps regenerate damaged liver cells. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a glutathione precursor that assists with reducing inflammation in the liver and repairing liver cells more rapidly.


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