Are Your Purple Pills Making You Blue?
Could those little purple pills, those acid-stopping pills, be a cause of your anxiety, depression, or other mood problems? The surprising answer may be “yes”.
Medications, either prescription or over-the-counter, for heartburn or gastric reflux, are widely used. You can’t watch TV for long without being bombarded with commercials for all kinds of acid stopping remedies. These are often used for prolonged periods, even for decades.
But there is good reason to believe that prescription acid-stopping medications affect your brain chemistry. As reported in April 2008 Current Psychiatry, these medications can have some serous side effects.
So, if you are taking drugs for gastric reflux or heartburn, and you have mood problems, it all could be connected.
Gastric Reflux or Heartburn: The Stress Connection
Our body reacts to stress by reducing stomach acid, not increasing it. When under stress, the normal body response is to shunt blood away from the stomach. This suppresses digestion by reducing the acid in the stomach. Eating under stress blocks digestion. The food just sits there in the stomach’s warm, moist environment, and partially decomposes. Then you get stomach pain and acid reflux. Chronic stress causes a chronic problem.
Acid-stopping medications provide relief by reducing the acids caused by stress-related poor digestion. But over the long run, they can cause other problems, by blocking the metabolic systems involved in brain chemistry. Anxiety, depression, and fatigue may develop with prolonged use of acid stopping medications.
You need strong stomach acid to break down the protein in your food into amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for our muscles, skin, and brain chemicals. So, if you block stomach acid with medications, you also block the production of important brain chemicals.
Digestion and Brain Chemistry
Anxiety, depression, and fatigue can arise when our brain chemistry is out of balance. The brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin are two important regulators of mood in the brain. Dopamine and serotonin are made in our body from amino acids. And if you have insufficient amino acids, you will have insufficient mood regulation chemicals available to your brain. Anxiety, depression, and fatigue happen when these key brain chemicals are in short supply in the brain.
The solution is to feed your brain properly. Improve protein digestion by improving stomach acid function, and you can provide more dopamine and serotonin for your brain.
What To Do?
First, you should not stop or change in any way the use of your medications without proper medical supervision. Second, it is possible to improve your digestive function even while you are on acid-stopping medication. Improved digestion and a stronger metabolism, in addition to stress reduction are keys to this. Third, there are evidence-based nutritional and metabolic tests available to really see how your body is using the food you are eating. These tests measure your protein, fat, carbohydrate, and mineral metabolism, in addition to metabolic markers for brain chemistry.
If you have nutritional deficits affecting your brain chemistry, this can be corrected. Using targeted nutritional intervention, you can be on your way to better health, living without heartburn, gastric reflux, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.