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Front Page » February 15, 2007 » Senior Focus » Heartburn meds could affect bone structure
Published 3,156 days ago

Heartburn meds could affect bone structure

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Though heartburn medications have long been friends to fans of food, recent studies have shown that the very medications heartburn sufferers rely on could be doing significant, far-reaching damage.

In a recent study conducted in Great Britain, some of the more popular heartburn drugs, including Nexium and Prilosec, were shown to enhance the risk of a broken hip in people over the age of 50 who took the drugs for a year or more. According to researchers, while the drugs are busy reducing acid in the stomach, they're simultaneously making it more difficult for the body to absorb bone-building calcium, thereby increasing the risk for a broken hip.

For aging heartburn medication users, those findings are especially troubling, as statistics show that 20 percent of senior citizens who suffer a hip fracture die within one year. For women, who already face heightened chances of osteoporosis, the study is an even greater cause for concern.

While the statistics can be frightening, there are steps men and women can take to both combat digestive problems while not risking bone health in the process, says Dr. Michael Pinkus, who is an expert in alternative healthcare.

He has been a guest on over 500 radio and television shows, authored several books, and has worked with top athletes.

"We really do not have a true healthcare system in place in this country. We have a sickness care system," says Dr. Pinkus.

He feels that prescription medications may only treat the symptoms and not the cause of digestive problems. The best approach to finding relief from digestive problems while not sacrificing bone health just may be a two-pronged attack.

The first step gets at the root of digestive problems, which are often the result of an enzyme imbalance. Enzymes are necessary to break down fats, proteins, sugars, carbohydrates, fibers, starches and lactose into small particles that can be digested and absorbed. When enzymes do not work effectively or are in short supply, the result is often digestive problems.

To combat enzyme ineffectiveness or deficiency, boosting the natural enzymes in the digestive system is a good course of action. and fungi-derived enzymes perform specific functions to help the digestive system work properly.

The second part of both solving digestive problems while not sacrificing bone health is to heed the advice of the U.S. Surgeon General. In his annual report on bone health and osteoporosis, the Surgeon General advised the use of calcium supplements for individuals with calcium deficiency. Because women are naturally at a higher risk for osteoporosis than men, heeding that advice takes on an even greater importance, as both adequate calcium and vitamin D are now known to be major contributors to bone health.

While most individuals naturally produce enough vitamin D, the same cannot be said for calcium, hence the need for extra calcium. "Health is a whole other way of operating," says Dr. Pinkus. "It includes maximizing your energy, longevity and your ability to live life without pain."

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February 15, 2007
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