Fitness column: Redneck heartburn — fun but dangerous |

Fitness column: Redneck heartburn — fun but dangerous

Steve Wells
Staff Photo |

Many of my clients used to take antiacid drugs mainly because they used to eat poorly, failed to exercise and allowed fear, stress and anxiety to control their lives.

So you have been popping Tums and Rolaids for years, not changing any behavior and have gotten to the point that the whole handful you take now doesn’t work anymore. You finally decide to buck up and get some “extra-strength” drugs to mask your poor behavior. You are told to “try” something more powerful (prescription or over-the-counter heartburn drug) to see how they work for you. This process sounds really scientific and “medical,” doesn’t it?

About 15 million Americans take proton pump inhibitors, which suppress your body’s natural secretion of stomach acid — which you really need to digest food. So how could taking them fix anything without causing more problems?

Masking a simple-to-fix-problem with drugs makes you sicker and Big Pharma richer. That’s why Prilosec OTC uses a comedian, Larry the Cable Guy, to sell drugs to you.

The symptoms that these drugs suppress are mostly caused by our own dumb behavior and not usually a medical issue, in my humble opinion. Heaven forbid that we stop eating deep-fried, chemical frankenfood and stressing out about everything while glued to the news channel in fear.

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Basic gutology: Just about every time there is some kind of general stomach symptom, three things are happening:

1. Low stomach acid — not “high acid,” like legal drug dealers tell you on commercials.

2. Out of balance gut flora from our American diet.

3. You ate a bunch of deep-fried, processed junk while watching the news, again.

Gut symptoms have scary names like GERD and acid reflux and leaky gut syndrome to dupe you into buying drugs because they hope that you won’t fix your behavior.

In fact, physicians tell me all the time about how you all walk into the office demanding a prescription for some drug you saw on TV, while ignoring the doctor when she tells you to stop stressing out and to eat something healthy occasionally and to stop drinking so much cheap beer, maybe try exercising and so on.

Luckily, Larry the Cable Guy is an endorser of one brand (coincidently the best seller) of these popular drugs, because this is both insulting and hilarious at the same time.

Do rednecks get more heartburn than other people? The marketing team and Procter & Gamble must think so. Perhaps that’s why legal drug dealers hired Larry. These people have used one of my favorite comedians to peddle drugs to unsuspecting rednecks, and it just ain’t right.

How could I resist taking drugs with Larry on the package making me laugh? I can almost see Larry burning doughnuts with his monster truck, eating redneck food, getting heartburn — hilarious.

A pile of research indicates that these drugs (PPIs) cause several important nutrient deficiencies — a major one being B vitamins. Chronic B vitamin deficiencies often equate to a slow, difficult to diagnose, medically bankrupting death.

The reduction of stomach acid from the overuse of these drugs affects protein absorption and compromises the uptake of many nutrients, including those necessary for the uptake of B12.

Natural fixes for many “lifestyle” digestive disorders:

• Manage stress, fear and anxiety in healthier ways like exercise, prayer and meditation.

• Eat a more alkaline-causing diet (more vegetables, less fake junk).

• Eat whole, real, unadulterated foods.

• Stop eating poor quality animal products.

• Eat raw, fermented foods.

• Drink raw apple cider vinegar or sodium bicarbonate to manage flare-ups.

• Drink quality, unchlorinated, fluoridated water and not much else.

• Avoid processed foods.

I don’t mean to rip on P&G for exploiting Larry to try to dupe unsuspecting rednecks into buying drugs. People develop symptoms from drug side effects due to deceiving marketing all the time. Being part redneck myself, I know how a diet of processed, deep-fried or flame-burnt feedlot meat, cheap beer, zero vegetables and absolutely no yoga or Pilates suppresses one’s inner spiritual being, but is also kind of fun sometimes. It’s too bad that legal drug dealers can’t come up with a drug or a celebrity diet that gives people a sense of humor.

Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness.

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