Dr. David Minkoff’s Health Blog

The Link Between Liver Cancer and GERD – OHR #410

Warning sign of the Link between Heartburn and Liver Cancer

Liver cancer isn’t fun. It’s often fatal. The five-year survival is about 15%. Deaths have increased by 25% in the last 10 years.

Drugs like Nexium, Propulsid and other Proton Pump Inhibitors double the risk of liver cancer compared to non users. These drugs are prescribed more commonly and many are available for over the counter use for GERD or heartburn type symptoms. You could be one of the 20 million Americans that use it on a regular basis.

A recent study was published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics evaluated the link between chronic PPI use and liver cancer. A prospective study looked at 500,000 people. This study showed that PPIs users had DOUBLE the risk of liver cancer compared to nonusers. Reasons why include that these drugs increase the hormone gastrin in the stomach and this has been linked to liver cancer. PPIs also cause small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). These bacteria can cause bloating, gas, and abdominal pain that can be a driver in development of cancer.  PPIs also block nutrient absorption like zinc, magnesium, selenium and others that can play a role in cancer development.

There are better ways to stop your GERD symptoms.

  1. Eat an organic diet free of all grains and dairy products and no processed foods. If you have symptoms avoid tomatoes, spicey peppers and garlic.
  2. Don’t eat 3 hours before sleep.
  3. Use digestive enzymes with each meal like Full Spectrum Digest from BodyHealth
  4. Take a probiotic like Perfect Immune Defense from BodyHealth
  5. Take 75 mg of Zinc Carnosine twice a day between meals.
  6. Take glutamine powder in water twice a day to help heal your gut lining.
  7. Take 2 chewable DGL (deglyceralized licorice 15 min before meals.
  8. Take 2 tablespoons of aloe between meals.

For GERD, if you have persistent symptoms you should be evaluated by a physician to make sure you don’t have a more serious problem. An infection with H Pylori could be the problem and other supplements would be needed to cure that.

Drugs can be helpful sometimes. But for many things, common sense approaches are better and safer. You don’t want liver cancer, so following this advice might help you to avoid it.

Have a great week.

Dr. David I Minkoff, MD

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About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.