ACID BLOCKERS ACTUALLY PROMOTE ESOPHAGEAL CANCER? Shocking thought, huh? The long term use of acid suppressive therapy for GI complaints is something I have a major, major issue with. If someone has a bleeding ulcer, this class of drugs will likely save their lives (of course, the bleeding ulcer is likely cause by yet another class of drugs–NSAIDs!).
Short of this, long term acid suppression opens up a Pandora’s box of epic physiologic proportions. Of course, the reasoning behind the use of these drugs for reflux is to protect the esophagus from developing Barrett’s esophagus and cancer. So why is there concern that they may actually increase the risk? Because of the body’s attempt to fix the problem created by the drugs.
Listen–digestion is one of the most important functions our bodies perform. Blocking this process indefinitely affects nutrient absorption, risk of certain cancers (breast, colon come to mind), risk of infection, functional bowel disorders, allergies, skin problems…the list is quite long.
Bottom line is that we need to support digestion, NOT shut it down. This means managing stress (the KEY component to most cases of reflux), digestive support, probiotics and high intakes of cabbage if severe. Even if this is not successful, this is one of the few times I become a strong proponent of surgery to fix the lower esophageal sphincter so you can come off this class of drugs.