By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Proton pump inhibitors are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs. They block the ability of your stomach to make acid. Common examples include Nexium, Losec, Prevacid, Somac, Zoton, and Pariet. Research has shown that taking these drugs can raise your chances of developing coeliac disease.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition whereby ingestion of gluten triggers inflammation and destruction of the small intestine. A strict gluten-free diet is the only cure. The incidence of coeliac disease has been steadily climbing over the past decades; according to research comparing the stored blood of soldiers with people today, coeliac disease has increased by up to four times in the past 50 years.
There are several possible explanations for this, but a recent study is very interesting. A paper titled “Use of proton pump inhibitors and subsequent risk of celiac disease” was published in the journal Digestive and Liver Disease. The researchers examined digital biopsy reports from 28 pathology departments in Sweden and used the Swedish National Prescribed Drug Registry to check if coeliac disease patients and healthy control patients were prescribed any proton pump inhibitors or histamine 2 receptor antagonists (a different type of stomach acid blocking drug).
The results were quite significant: 16% of patients with coeliac disease had a prior PPI prescription, while only 4% of controls did. The association remained strong for both genders and all ages; however, it was stronger for men and for patients younger than 20 years.