Researchers developed proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in the 1970s, and in the late 1980s a dramatic shift in the landscape occurred; acid-reflux medication catapulted into the highest-selling pharmaceutical of all time over the next decade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_and_development_of_proton_pump_inhibitors. Since then, various digestive cancers have increased by SIXFOLD: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15657344/. Several MASSIVE studies connected PPI medication to a TWOFOLD increase in cancer risk: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29852782/. These findings came on the heels of several already-existing class-action lawsuits against the pharma companies for destroying the kidneys in long-term users of the acid-reflux drugs. To put it in perspective, BEING A SMOKER RIGHT NOW raises your risk LESS for adenocarcinoma than taking a commonly-prescribed acid-reflux medication long-term years ago and discontinuing.
It’s not the first time popular medical advice came to murder us. I’m not even talking about the 20 years of medical recommendations to smoke cigarettes: http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1848212_1777633,00.html. I’m talking RIGHT NOW the third leading cause of death in America is errors made by experts in medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_suggests_medical_errors_now_third_leading_cause_of_death_in_the_us. Over 250,000 people in the US die each year because of medical error. Some people hated the implications of these 2018 findings so much that they almost instantly wrote and published “rebuttals” trying to walk back the number into the thousands or tens of thousands. Authors at Yale absolutely couldn’t stand the idea; so they hurriedly wrote opinion pieces which excluded “understandable mistakes” and “questionable connections,” arguing the figure should be closer to 10,000 per year. The first glaring problem with Yale’s indoctrination speech is that we already know thousands of people die every week in America from “properly prescribed medication”: https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications . So, nice try, Yale. But we aren’t falling for it. The second problem is the John’s Hopkins 250,000-death-per-year figure already didn’t include errors like long-term PPI prescription. And, as you’ll see shortly, there are 3 MORE common recommendations which do kill patients but also AREN’T included in these stats; thus, the figure is actually MUCH HIGHER than 250,000, not lower than 20,000. I mean, I get it. If I’m Yale Medical, I don’t want people knowing that 12.5% of surgeries forget a surgical tool inside someone’s body: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retained_surgical_instruments. We wouldn’t want people to start thinking that humans are only human.
Literally, read your label. It’s not even a conspiracy. We used to joke about the ridiculously endless list of unwanted side effects rapidly worded at the end of advertisements for common prescriptions. It’s as if people thought that was ONLY a joke. Cholesterol meds kill your liver. Pain meds kill your kidneys. Anticholinergics (ie - drugs for depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s, bladder, etc.) ruin muscles, age you faster, and cause dementia.
Somehow, the warnings come across as a whisper, even though people take these medications every single day for decades. Ironically, I hear people all the time lament their occasional or even regular use of caffeine or salt. Yeah. About that. Among supercentenarians (people confirmed over 110 years of age), only 1/5th take any prescription (ie - for hypertension or a thinner like aspirin): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2895458/. ALL have caffeine and salt.
I just find it fascinating that there is a vilifying sentiment toward the ancient wonder drug of caffeine - the same caffeine which is impossibly cheap and known to have anti-aging effects - while the common medications which assuredly ruin organ health and shorten lifespan are consistently held on a pedestal. Four cups of coffee at once improves mitochondrial function in the heart: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2004408. Blue Zones creator Dan Buettner liked to call the inhabitants of Ikaria “people who forget to die”: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html. These same people always remember to eat salt and drink caffeine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23509088/.
I also find it fascinating that salt is somehow a villain, even though you cannot produce a heartbeat without it. You cannot heal tissue without it. You cannot recover. You can’t quell cramps. You cannot fend off infection. You cannot do a damn thing worth doing in life without salt. People lay blame on “age” for their lack of recovery, body aches, and low energy; but take a moment to think about how high your sodium intake was when you were a kid and how low most modern adults are trying to take theirs.
Two items that supercentenarians (people over 110 years old) have in common is caffeine use and higher salt intake. In fact, I can’t find ONE case of someone making it past 100 without coffee or tea or salt. To be clear, every story I’ve ever heard about an incredibly old person passing away is preceded by a little note that the hospital/caretaker removed salt and caffeine from their diet in the months beforehand. Good job, caretakers.
Curious. Isn’t it? Caffeine is proven beneficial. Sodium is required for cellular function. Common medications are proven detrimental. But I can almost guarantee that every person has heard some expert sing the praises of a prescription medication or fifty while vilifying caffeine and salt. Hell, check the websites of some authoritative medical organizations right now and you’ll still read this nonsense anti-science on their official guidelines.
Curious. Isn’t it?
Not really. Common medicine will kill you. But not before it robs you of your health, joy, and pocketbook first.