According to the analysis of health insurance data for more than 8 million people in Austria, the researchers noted that prescriptions of anti-allergy drugs have skyrocketed in those prescribed gastric acid inhibitors, including proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers.
The results published Tuesday in the medical journal Nature Communications suggest that disrupting the delicate balance of acids and enzymes in the stomach can cause our immune system to get confused and trigger allergies that have not previously existed.
"We need to have the general awareness that the stomach has an important digestive function and a kind of sterilization function," Dr. Erika Jensen-Jarolim, lead author of the study and professor at the Medical University of Vienna.
"What we get from food and bacteria is actually denatured and impaired in normal gastric function," she told CNN. "When you take antacids, this function is compromised, and we have a wide open window, and many things get into the gut that are not good."
It's not clear how the medications contribute to allergies, but one explanation could be that the reduced stomach acid allows undigested foods to sneak out of our stomachs. Our immune system can turn these foods into a threat.
"Food allergens are big proteins, they are part of large complexes, and we know that everything we eat gets into the stomach and is broken down there," Dr. Caroline Sokol, a medical doctor and researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital who was not involved in the study study.
"If you do not have acid," she said, "you can imagine that you have those large chunks of protein that could get through a leaky gut wall when you show your overall immune system." Proteins that it does not normally see are at a higher risk of possibly developing an immune response against them. "Gastric acid inhibitors can also cause an" allergic bias "in patients to seasonal disturbing pollutants such as grass pollens, Jensen-Jarolim said." There is evidence that anti-acid drugs affect not only the digestive system but also immune cells and release of hypoallergenic substances. "
" Luxury mice "provided first evidence
While" there is still much to do in the future "to the connection between acid-based drugs and allergies Jensen-Jarolim says she has been studying the connection for years.
She had her first lane about two decades ago: A middle-aged man, He said that after eating caviar he had begun to gasp for the second time, with a sigh mouth and throat when his blood pressure dropped.
"It was an interesting case, because we or at least some people still know when to eat caviar, and our patient knew he was eating seven caviar for the first time (allergic reaction), so he ate she twice and knew he was doing acid treatment in both cases. "
This indicated that the man was sensitized to caviar at the first meal. With too little acid in the stomach to break food, Jensen-Jarolim said. "So that was a model case," she added, "because it's not so easy for other foods to figure out the co-factors that occur."
They The research team then fed what Jensen-Jarolim jokingly called "luxury mice" with caviar and antacid medicines and found that they, too, developed allergies. In millions of people, the new study showed the same trend for more common allergens.
"This current study can not be neglected by the community," said Jensen-Jarolim. "We have the problem that gastroenterologists will say, well, we prescribe these medications so often and nothing has happened yet." But allergies can occur years later, said Jensen-Jarolim, and "I hope they make the connection now."
"An Allergy Epidemic"
"We do not know why we have such an allergy epidemic," said they are probably many reasons why. "Gastric acid inhibitors" could possibly be one of those reasons, "she said.
" If you have a strong acid reflux, then this is a perfect medicine. The benefit-risk analysis clearly argues in favor of taking the medication. "Sokol emphasized
" But we really need to think about the use of chronic medications that people take forever, "she said 19659016] While these allergies are uncomfortable and even life-threatening, there are other reasons for thinking about taking stomach acid inhibitors, which are associated with an increased risk of stroke, kidney failure, and even early death.
"We all assume that something over Sokol says, "But of course every drug we put into our bodies carries risks."