Prilosec is one of most popular drugs sold in America. It’s a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) used to treat periodic and chronic Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or what we commonly call heartburn. Its stablemate is Nexium. These two PPI’s are owned by AstraZeneca which garners over $1.5 billion in sales of these two popular drugs each year. PPI’s reduce the amount of hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach – which emerging science is now showing in and of itself is a bad idea. And if you want to understand what really causes GERD you can read this article.
It’s estimated that 60% of the American population suffer periodic bouts of GERD over the course of a year and some 30% have regular weekly bouts. This lead to close to 300 million PPI prescription being written between 2006 and 2010. It’s a $14 billion a year class of drugs. Wow that’s a lot of heart burn.
Larry the Cable Guy is an affable comedic actor who was once part of Jeff Foxworthy’s Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He has since taken his popular fans to a new place.. Ignoring the foods that give them distress in turn for taking a pill, Prilosec (Omeprazole). Prilosec is just one of the many PPI drugs out there today. Prilosec is also now an over-the-counter medication that no longer requires prescription or physician monitoring. People can just pick it up and take it willy-nilly, which is what Larry espouses.
Recently science has emerged showing that the once-thought to “only occupy the lining of the stomach” proton pump is also found in the heart. This was the discovery of a study that showed PPI users had a high rate of heart failure and science wanted to know why. I covered it in this show in July 2015 - http://superhumanradio.com/shr-1681-some-heartburn-drugs-may-boost-risk-of-heart-attack-the-determinant-of-visceral-fat-using-twins-a-review-of-fish-oil-and-blood-triglycerides.html .
More recently, in February of this year, PPI’s were shown to increase the risk of dementia. While the association is clear the pathway is not. If I had to guess it’s a result of a combination of poor nutrient absorption and gut microbe diversity changes. Or maybe there are proton pumps in the brain too?
So Larry the Cable Guy’s favorite thing to say is “when the foods you love don’t love you take Prilosec”. This is such a harmful message I would suggest Larry rethink his advice to the fans who love him so much. If certain foods give you indigestion stop eating them! Larry’s advice is like telling a person who’s wearing shoes 2 sizes too small to ignore the pain and instead freeze their feet when wearing them since they love the way they look on! It’s not just dumb… It’s dangerous.
Larry is suggesting that in order to eat that chili-dog you should ignore your body telling you that it’s not good for you and opt for a drug that will eventually give you heart failure, dementia or both.
It’s very sad when celebrities use their popular fan base to pander these kinds of harmful messages.
When the food you love doesn’t love you, stop eating that food! And stay far away from PPI’s at all costs.