Antacids Promote Bacteria

A new report shows that taking antacids for heartburn may promote the growth of cancer-causing bacteria.

The studies, done on mice, show that the stomach ulcer bacteria Helicobacter pylori grow more rapidly after the use of antacids. The bacteria has been recently linked to stomach cancer. Scientists think the lower acidity produced by the antacid may promote the growth of the bacteria.

After testing the strongest antacids on the market, all within the proton pump inhibitor family, the scientists found that they were the most dangerous to use for long periods of time. The drugs tested included Prilosec, Losec and Prevacid.

Mice treated with these drugs for a two-week period developed stomach inflammation, which was caused by overproduction of bacteria. The inflammation subsided when the mice were given antibiotics.

While the researchers concluded that using these drugs was safe for the short-term, patients suffering from extensive indigestion should consider anti-inflammatory drugs instead.

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