Research Connects Covid-19 and Protein Pump Inhibitors
Research Seeks and Finds Connections Between Protein Pump Inhibitors and Covid-19
Protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been the subject of many studies about their side effects and risks.
This should be no surprise given the fact that millions of Americans take these drugs either by prescription or in their over-the-counter versions. PPIs are sold under a variety of names, including Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid. They are used to treat acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and more serious gastrointestinal ailments.
During the last several months, researchers sought and gathered information about a connection between the use of PPIs and Covid-19. Since stomach acid is one of the body’s most effective defenses against viruses and bacteria, what would it mean if stomach acid production was suppressed?
Can PPIs Make People More Susceptible to Covid-19? Can PPIs Make Covid-19 Worse?
Many studies have been conducted, and findings have been published. What do they say?
Initial results indicated that the current use of PPIs greatly increased the risk of severe Covid-19 “health outcomes.” According to one BMJ abstract, the risk among patients with Covid-19, “the current use of PPIs conferred a 79% greater risk of severe clinical outcomes. Those with current PPI use starting within the previous 30 days was associated with a 90% increased risk of severe clinical outcomes of COVID-19.”
The increased risk for those who reported past use of PPIs was deemed insignificant.
The severe health outcomes included things such as admission to the ICU, the need to be placed on a ventilator, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and death.
Initially, studies did not indicate a relationship between getting Covid-19 and PPIs, only the severity of illness. However, a recent nationwide survey indicates that “use of PPIs is associated with increased odds for reporting a positive Covid-19 test; the highest risk is seen among individuals taking PPIs” twice a day.
Why Can Taking PPIs Increase Your Risk of Covid-19 and Complications?
PPIs treat ailments and symptoms caused by stomach acid. They work by blocking or suppressing the production of acid. What does this have to do with Covid-19?
Stomach acid and your gut health in general can be significant factors in fighting off all viruses and infections. When you decrease the amount of acid, you are potentially limiting your body’s natural ability to fight off illnesses.
Scientists believe that one characteristic of Covid-19 is that it cannot thrive in acidic conditions. People with low amounts of stomach acid may be creating conditions that allow the Coronavirus to linger, giving it the opportunity to travel, replicate, and cause severe side effects.
Covid-19 replicates and invades the intestinal walls. With less acid protecting the intestinal walls, the greater the opportunity for Covid-19 to do damage.
What Does This Mean for You?
It means that if you take a PPI, consider speaking with your doctor about your need to do so and a safe dosage under the current circumstances. You and your doctor can weigh the benefits and risks and come to a conclusion you can all live with, keeping you as safe as possible in the process.
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