Heartburn meds are messing with your microbiome

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In a paper published this week in the journal Gut Imhann et al., identify changes towards a less healthy gut microbiome in patients using Proton pump inhibitors (PPI).

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used to treat Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) and to prevent gastric and duodenal ulcers. 25% of the general population report having heartburn at least once a month, explaining the large demand for PPIs. In fact Proton pump inhibitors feature in the top 10 most widely used drugs in the world. Their use is associated with an increased risk of intestinal infections, most notably a 65% increase in the incidence of Clostridium difficile (often referred to as C. diff), infection.

In this study of 1815 adults, including healthy subjects and patients with Gastro-Intestinal diseases, the authors found that PPI use is associated with decreased bacterial diversity and profound changes in the gut microbiome. Oral bacteria and pathogenic bacteria were increased in the guts of PPi users and the observed changes were more noticeable than changes associated with antibiotics.

You can read the full article here.



Imhann F., et al., (2015) Proton pump inhibitors affect the gut microbiome. Gut. Dec. 9. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2015-310376