Easy on the antacids

An antacid a day scares the (good) gut bugs away

People who regularly take antacids, otherwise known as proton pump inhibitors, could be doing their gut more long-term harm than good. A Mayo Clinic study in the journal Microbiome found that heavy use of antacids—even the over-the-counter brands—may result in diminished diversity of gut bacteria, leaving users at increased risk of infections, pneumonia, vitamin deficiencies and bone fractures. So, here are nonpharmacological ways to help control acid reflux:

• Eat smaller portions.

• Don’t lie down for at least two hours after eating.

• Avoid late-night snacks.

• Slightly elevate the head of your bed.

• Avoid alcohol, tobacco and foods that trigger symptoms.