Surprising Finding on Newborn Acid Reflux: Be Very Scared About Prilosec

Parents of newborns are always worried about their little one. But this can lead to misguided trust in the wrong pediatrician if the little one is sick.

Excessive spitting up, crying after eating and refusing to eat can all be symptoms of what may be diagnosed as infant reflux.  The less wary pediatrician, if symptoms are creating a problem with eating enough, may recommend a prescription of Nexium or Prilosec.  The first time I heard of this practice, I was astounded that anyone would even consider giving a drug that blocks digestion to an infant.  After all–what does an infant do?  Eat, poop and cry.  Two of the 3 are intimately involved with digestion.  Using a drug to block digestion is pretty much nixing the life of an infant.

It’s bad enough in an adult.  Shutting down digestion is a very, very bad idea except in a few scenarios.  If you have a bleeding ulcer, for example, Nexium can very well save your life.  But if you’ve got a case of heartburn and use acid-blocking drugs for years on end, you are absolutely destroying your body’s essential functions and will open up a huge Pandora’s box of problems.

In infants, this concern is multiplied tenfold.  The real kicker is that drugs are only needed in rare cases because natural approaches for infant reflux can work so well.  The most recent article I had covered had to do with the use of vitamin B12 in infants with reflux and regurgitation that can be read by clicking here.  The results were pretty impressive.

Just in case you are one of those parents whose pediatrician has recommended an acid blocking drug for newborn acid reflux, this particular study should scare the bejesus out of you.  In this study, researchers looked at just how much digestion of proteins was going on in the stomach of 3 little ones.  This is important because, if there is a lot of digestion going on and we slam this process with drugs, it’s going to have an unpredictable long term effect on your infant’s long-term health.  Here’s what they found:

  • Milk from 3 was collected and compared to a small sample from the stomach of the infants (who were 4  to 12 days old).
  • Milk from the moms contained almost 200 distinct peptides (segments of proteins), demonstrating that there was some digestion of the breast milk either during lactation or between milk collection and feeding.
  • In the newborn stomach samples, 649 milk peptides were found, showing that a large amount of  digestion was occurring in the stomach.
  • A total of 603 peptides differed significantly in quantities between breast milk and the infant stomach samples.
  • Most of the identified peptides have been shown to have immunomodulatory and antibacterial properties.

So what does all this mean?  It means that, even from day one, an infants digestive process is up and running full tilt, turning proteins from foods into protective compounds that will steer the development of the immune system for a lifetime.  I cannot begin to contemplate the long-term damage that using drugs to block acid in newborn acid reflux will cause.


James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.