Proton pump inhibitors are very popular medications used in the treatment of acid reflux and heartburn. Recently, the amount of prescriptions of these drugs has significantly increased which became a matter of concern for numerous health experts.

According to the newest research the PPI (proton pump inhibitors) which are released under some brand names such as Prevacid, Nexium and Prilosec, increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.

It is estimated that more than 15 million Americans used proton pump inhibitors prescriptions in 2013.

According to Benjamin Lazarus, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University, the extensive use of PPI considerably affects the kidney function.

He also said that almost 70% of these prescriptions were given to the patients without even specified evidence that they actually need these drugs, while 25% of the long-term users of PPIs were able to stop taking the medications without experiencing any side-effects.

The authors of another study found 173.321 patients who used PPIs and 20.270 who used PPI alternative – histamine H2 receptor blockers. Five years later, the authors from the Clinical Epidemiology Center and those at the St. Louis University in Washington analyzed these data.

They discovered that those who were taking PPI drugs experienced more kidney problems in comparison to those who took histamine H2 receptor blockers.

Moreover, a research done by Biomedical Science and the SUNY Buffalo Medicine School has shown that people who were taking PPI drugs had higher chances of premature death.

Although it is still unknown how these medications affect the kidneys, researchers have some theories:

According to Dr. Arora, proton pump inhibitors may cause inflammation to the tissue which over time leads to chronic damage.

At the beginning, there are some warning signs of acute kidney damage such as nausea, swollen feet, ankles and legs as well as decreased urination. Considering this is a silent disease, the acute kidney damage gradually erodes kidney function, thus causing chronic renal disease.

What’s more, these drugs may also cause other health issues, including gut infection, pneumonia, B12 and magnesium deficiency and even increased rates of fractures.

How to treat heartburn naturally?

You may experience heartburn regardless of the type of food you consume:

Luckily, there are numerous natural remedies which can help you to treat heartburn without medication. Before you opt for them you should consult your doctor in order to ensure that your heartburn is not triggered by another more severe disease.

1. Baking Soda

Mix baking soda with water and drink the mixture. It has high pH (more than 7.0) which will neutralize the stomach acid.

2. Chamomile tea

Prepare a cup of chamomile tea and add lemon. It will reduce inflammation and balance out the levels of acidity.

3. Aloe Juice

Apart from its ability to treat skin issues, aloe can be also used as a heartburn reliever. Drink ½ a cup of aloe juice but be careful since it has laxative effects.

4. Mustard

Mustard has alkaline properties which can neutralize the acid in your stomach thus soothing the acid reflux and heartburn.

5. Bananas

Bananas have antacids which can successfully treat your acid reflux. Make sure you eat one ripe banana per day.

6. Ginger root tea

You need three quarter-sized ginger slices and two cups of water. Simmer the ingredients for half an hour and drink the tea before your meal.