By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
February 18, 2016
There was a very short time in my life when I was experiencing some mild heart burn. It wasn't something that killing me so to speak, but there were many nights where I would wake up and wonder what the heck was going on. A burning sensation would be in the back of my throat, causing convulsions and all sort of issues with my breathing. I felt like I couldn’t breath properly for minutes on end, wondering what this feeling was overcoming me. It felt like death so to speak. After a good few minutes, I would always calm myself down enough to get my body feeling normal. I would down copious amounts of water to try and relive the burn in my throat, wondering what I did to really deserve the horrible feeling that overcame me. I rarely went back to sleep when this happened, for going back to sleep was either extremely difficult or I slept on my easy chair in the living room. Not once did I ever consider this to be a problem. I just considered it to be something that happened because I was an idiot. One of two reasons occurred. You see, I would eat a huge one-pound bag of Starburst from time to time, and this would usually happen when I would eat way to close to bed time. Ironically, this never happened when I ate the one-pound bag of Skittles. Now, I never really figured out why, but the combination of the sugar and gelatin might have played a role, for when this happened, it burned like hell. Who knows how much damage I did to myself during this time in my life. But this was the stupid thing…I never scaled back or looked in the mirror. I kept doing this ridiculous thing, scarfing down these monstrous bags candy, but only doing so at an earlier time. So instead of watching late night Adult Swim shows, shoveling candy in my mouth, it around six p.m. or so. Then the second problem is when I really started getting worried. Eating late was really starting to get to me, and since I loved heavy meats, the problem started becoming more frequent. I mean “heavy” as in meats like pepperoni, bacon and salami…the kind of stuff that looked highly processed and was almost dripping with fat. I used to love these things, and I always figured they were the source my heartburn problems and acid reflux problems. I mean, I had an episode where it felt like I was having a heart attack, and even when this did happen, I did nothing to really change my diet. The only thing I changed was I started eating earlier and stopped going to the Los Betos next to my job every day.
Now you probably know where this is all going. Ultimately, I had a little episode where it smelled like a shit-fueled swamp was in my stomach, and every few seconds the smell of a waste treatment plant would stay in my nose and bring me to dry heaving in some instances. I suffered through this for days before I got to my doctor, who told me to start taking a form of Prilosec to relieve me of the symptoms. Within a few days, the smell was gone and my body was feeling better. Truthfully, this never really helped me with my issues, for I actually felt somewhat invincible. For a good thirty bucks a month, I could remain eating what I wanted to eat and whenever. Even when I ate late, there was very little blowback, if any. Of course, a great many of you know the final outcome. I ultimately ballooned to 400 pounds, looked terrible, felt terrible and was kind of coerced into going into personal training. I gave up dairy, then gave up all animal products and then gave up even more. I gave up soda, severely reduced my potato chip habit and really reduced my fast food habits. I massively reduced my beer intake as well. I made so many changes that I really didn’t even need Prilosec any more, simply because I was eating so little fat and eating so much better. For crying out loud, I was making some ridiculously hot chili I called “The Heater” (which in another life was known as The Pipe Cleaner and one person even claimed she almost met God), I never felt any heartburn or acid reflux. I had cured myself with an alkaline diet that had really helped sooth my problems.
Now, I go through all of this because I am glad I am no longer on Prilosec. Sure, it was convenient use it and they solid everywhere, but I was putting myself at great risk. You see, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have a slew of problems associated with them, and I pointed out one of the biggest and scariest of them all. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2015/06/battling-heartburn-blues.html Of course, what I discovered last year was a rather loose link to heart disease, but this was something figured out from the perspective of nearly three million people. Now, the heart disease may have been related more other fact the people had terrible diets, but since that was something of survey study, we really don’t know. As I pointed out in that article, there are still some potential problems regardless when it comes to PPIs, such as causing bleeding in the stomach and issues with your spinal column. You can also open yourself up to pneumonia due to the disruption of your body’s bacteria as well mess up your calcium and B12 absorption. http://www.health.harvard.edu/digestive-health/do-ppis-have-long-term-side-effects So why do people keep taking this stuff? I mean, is it really that convenient? Well, we all might be making some new considerations now that a new issue has cropped up for PPIs. https://www.yahoo.com/health/heartburn-meds-may-raise-risk-of-dementia-170103322.html
Now consider this study for it is worth. Many of the 73,000 people were all regular PPI users, people that used the drugs for at least 18 months. Now here is the kicker….over 29,000 of those people developed some form of dementia during the seven year study that was between 2004 to 2011. Now, before you start getting rid of your PPIs and starting some kind of conspiracy group, you first have to understand the patients were all 75 or older. A logical person might insinuate that these people were already in a high risk percentage anyway, but this study indicates a rather startling issue that certainly needs to be looked at. If 10 to 15 percent of the people in a study group abnormally developed something across the board, you might be weary of reporting the said problem due to the smallish increase. But man, a near 44% diagnosis is something you make a meme out of it. I meme, that is pretty darn startling. When I first heard that 40% of the produce in America is thrown away, I thought you had to be joking. Then you see the reports, the testimony and the store managers lamenting about the losses they have to go through each and every day in regards to tossing out food. It is a mind numbing process to think about, because once you start getting into double digits in regards to anything, you definitely have a problem (at least that is what I would think).
Now like I always do, we have to remember so many little details when it come to these types of studies, the stuff no one really expresses….were these people bad off health wise. Dementia already has a variety of factors that will lead you down the road, and much of it has to do with the poor health of the said person. For example, obese women are far more likely to develop some form of dementia…adding the PPI usage was just add to that problem. And of course, this mostly pertains to the higher dosage, higher quality PPIs that would require a prescription to maintain. The study didn’t indicate if the over the counter stuff is just as problematic or not. Perhaps this would be the subject of another study, one that would allow for some more definitive answers. Either way, this definitely lends to a much bigger question in my book with an answer that constantly chirped by yours truly. YOU GOT TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!
Think of the options. Do you really want to spend the rest of your popping pills in the morning and hoping that weird sandwich you ate from that rather uncouth food truck is as safe to eat as you think? I won’t holdout against you if you have no answer to that question, because for honesty’s sake, I was clearly saying “Yes, I have no problem with taking an expensive little pull that might destroy the inner lining of my stomach and possible the lining in my throat…cuz I want my dirty food dammit!” With the exception of my B12 supplements, I don’t want my life to be characterized by taking multiple vitamins every day, spending boatloads on fish oil and even cherry extract. It’s not really purity per se, but more about thefts. I’m not a rich man and feeding into the machines that is the pill industry is not my cup of tea. I hate the idea of buying B12 to begin with, but it is certainly much cheaper than the alternatives (kombucha gets expensive after a while!)
Now, don’t let me talk you into a pure plant based diet. I still believe not everyone is ready for it and a low fat diet is probably more or less something you need to help combat the problems of acid reflux and heartburn. But here are some good healthy options you should start considering when it comes to fighting acid reflux and heartburn. Trying eating real oatmeal in the morning rather than stopping by that fast food joint you like and buying that greasy breakfast sandwich (or in the case of McDonalds, don’t buy their oatmeal bowl because those things are almost as bad!). Try eating some melon, bananas and salads. You can even turn the old Simon and Garfunkel a reality by eating parsley, rosemary and thyme, fourths types of additives actually do play something of a role in your life. You can always chew on some ginger or make some celery. Heck rice and coucous are considered good for you! Now of course, this sounds a bit like my usual eating regimen, which is probably why I have been doing so well in respect to my heart burn and acid reflux (as in, I no longer have those wretched diseases. I will ad for the sake of fairness that white meats are also considered good for the keeping the heart burn down, but c’mon?! You know what I am!
So like always, you have to score a big win for eating right….like always. Because think about those alternatives. There isa major reason why all these darn PPIs have some list of side affects. Heck, that seems to be all the darn pills most people will put into their bodies. When you ultimately realize that this sort things isn’t going to work, I say you need to teakettle leap and try something different. It has worked tremendously for me and could easily work for you!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.