33% Increased Dementia Risk for Long Term Users of Acid-Blockers

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For years, proton pump inhibitors were marketed to the public for stomach relief from 'excess acid production,' without the slightest clue that they were contributing to the burgeoning epidemic of neurodegenerative disease. All that has now changed...

A recent study published in Neurology has raised fresh concerns about the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a class of widely used acid-blocking drugs. This research adds to a growing body of evidence, documented extensively at Greenmedinfo.com, which points to over 80 signals of harm associated with their use here, which incidentally includes increased heart disease risk.



The study found a significant correlation between prolonged use of PPI medications like Nexium or Prilosec and a 33% increased risk of developing dementia[1]. This association is not entirely new, as previous suspicions[2] have been substantially strengthened by this latest research, which utilized comprehensive medical records and in-person assessments of nearly 6,000 American seniors over a 20-year period[1].


This extensive analysis, incorporating multiple visits, has for the first time firmly established a connection between substantial PPI use and a rise in doctor-confirmed cognitive decline[1], signaling a strong warning regarding the brain health implications of these drugs.


The complexity of the mechanisms through which PPIs impact dementia risk makes it challenging to fully comprehend their effects. It's evident, however, that long-term use can alter various body systems that influence dementia risk, such as nutrient status, vascular and kidney health, immune function, and gut microbiome[3].


For instance, PPIs can impair the absorption of vitamin B12, which is vital for cognitive health[4]. A deficiency in B12, more likely with prolonged use of acid blockers[1], is closely linked to Alzheimer's disease biomarkers and genes associated with dementia susceptibility[5].



Furthermore, PPIs have been tied to an increased risk of stroke[6], heart attack[7], chronic kidney disease[8], and magnesium depletion[9], all of which are known to accelerate the risk of dementia.


The drugs also significantly alter digestive ecology over the years[10], potentially affecting neurological health via the microbiome-brain axis[11].


While research is ongoing to unravel the full "downstream" effects of PPIs, this study raises an important flag about the increased risk of dementia with their long-term use[1].


This raises a critical question: do the benefits of long-term PPI use outweigh the unfolding risks to brain health and overall well-being? Safer digestive aids like DGL licorice, mucilaginous herbs, and glutamine might be preferable first steps over acid suppression, if possible[12]. Even the simple act of drinking water could profoundly and immediately relieve symptoms according to this underreported research.



In cases where short-term PPI use is necessary for serious conditions, supplementing with B12, magnesium, and beneficial flora can mitigate side effects[13]. However, avoiding unnecessary extended use of PPIs is currently the safest approach.


As science continues to decode the systemic implications of chemically disrupting stomach acidity over years, prioritizing lifestyle changes and safer supplements for stomach and brain health becomes increasingly important. 


To learn more about natural ways to address GERD, visit our database on the subject here.



For natural approaches to dementia, visit our database on the subject here.






[1] Gomm et al. Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors With Risk of Incident Dementia. JAMA Neurol. 2022 Feb 1;79(2):137-143. 

[2] Haenisch et al. Risk of dementia in elderly patients with the use of proton pump inhibitors. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015 Oct;265(7):419-28.

[3] Imhann et al. Proton pump inhibitors affect the gut microbiome. Gut. 2016 May;65(5):740-8.

[4] Rushforth et al. Serum vitamin B12 in relation to cognitive functioning in adults aged 50 years and over. Age Ageing. 2021 Mar 18:afab028.  

[5] Sharp et al. Methylmalonic acid correlates with measures of neurodegeneration and barriers to care and supports diagnosis of dementia among adults with down syndrome investigated for cognitive changes. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2019 Jan-Mar;33(1):55-60.  

[6] Lee et al. Risks of Stroke and Dementia With Proton Pump Inhibitors: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Drugs Aging. 2020 Nov;37(11):825-836. 

[7] Li et al. Proton-pump inhibitors increase risk for myocardial infarction in patients receiving aspirin therapy. Ann Fam Med. 2018 Oct;16(5):371-378. 

[8] Arora et al. Proton Pump Inhibitors Are Associated With Increased Risk of Development of Chronic Kidney Disease. Gastroenterology. 2019 May;156(5):1543-1554.e2

[9] Danziger et al. Proton-pump inhibitor use is associated with low serum magnesium concentrations. Kidney Int. 2013 Sep;84(3):692-9.

[10] Bajaj et al. Linkage of gut microbiome with cognition in hepatic encephalopathy. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Jul 1;302(1):G168-75. 

[11] Dinan & Cryan, Gut instincts: microbiota as a key regulator of brain development, ageing and neurodegeneration. J Physiol. 2017 Jan 1;595(2):489-503.

[12] Mukherjee et al. , Comparison of efficacy of ginger with various antimotion sickness drugs. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1998; 42:411–415.

[13] Saltzman et al. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer; 2022.

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