Brittle bone risk with stomach drugs


Manitoba: Long-term use of medication for indigestion and heartburn may increase the risk of the bone disease osteoporosis, new research has found.

The drugs, prescribed by doctors or bought over-the-counter, are used by millions around the world.

The research, carried out by experts at the University of Manitoba looked at a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs. They found that using them regularly for five years increased a person’s change of a hip fracture by 44 per cent.

The brands includelansoprazole and omeprazole, also known as Zanprol, which is used to treat indigestion, heartburn and peptic ulcers. These drugs are only meant to be used for short periods.

Patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder, a more serious condition involving chronic heartburn that affects one in three Britons at some point in their lives, have to take them daily for up to two months. But many end up staying on the drugs permanently to keep heartburn symptoms at bay.

The researchers used statistics from more than 60,000 adults aged over 50, including nearly 16,000 who had suffered a fractured hip, spine or wrist due to osteoporosis.

When they analysed prescription records, they found those with hip fractures were 62 per cent more likely to have used PPIs for five years or more than those with healthy hips.

Among those on the drugs for seven years or more, the risk of a fracture soared by more than 400 per cent, according to the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Scientists believe that by blocking acid production, the drugs stop the body from absorbing calcium needed to build strong bones.

Doctors advise patients with severe stomach problems, such as bleeding ulcers, the benefits of the drugs will still outweigh the risks. But those using the drugs routinely to control mild indigestion should seek medical advice.

Manchester Royal Infirmary published research earlier this year showing PPIs may also increase the risk of acquiring the superbug Clostridium difficile. Other studies have also linked the drugs with an increased risk of pneumonia.

Love your gut – the key to good health!


London: To mark the 10th anniversary of Gut Week, which is taking place now until the 20th July, a new website has been launched urging people to get in touch with their digestive systems and look after their gut health. aims to get people thinking and talking about digestive health. Around a third of people in the UK regularly suffer from digestive symptoms[1] – yet the subject remains taboo, with a widespread reluctance to recognise and confront gut health problems.

Gut Week is a joint campaign, run by digestive health charities Core, The Gut Trust and St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow in association with Yakult.

Campaign supporter, This Morning’s Dr Chris Steele believes < ahref=""> will help get people thinking more about digestive health. “It can be hard for many people to seek medical advice over bowel problems as they feel embarrassed or don’t know what to say,” said Dr Steele.

“There is no substitute for seeing your GP or practice nurse, but if people need to check their symptoms, learn what terminology to use or just use it to learn more about their bodies, then this new site could be the first step they take on the path to better digestive health.”

The need for a comprehensive site for digestive problems has become vital. Recent research has shown that just 11% of people would willingly discuss bowel habits with workmates, whilst 40% would not seek medical advice even if they detected a change in bowel function[2]. However, over a third of us say we do use the internet to gain health advice[3] . offers simple, accessible, practical help and advice on digestive health, including:

· A wide range of tips for achieving and maintaining good digestive health, from experts such as Nicki Waterman and Dr. Nick Read;

· Advice on potentially serious digestive symptoms to watch out for – and what to do if any warning signs are detected;

· A practical guide on communicating gut problems to your GP

· A monthly ‘Ask the Doctor’ column, where experts will answer your digestive queries online;

· A complete guide to each of the components of the digestive system (there are more than you think!), with details on the vital role played by each one;

· Fascinating digestive facts (did you know if all the bacteria in your intestines were all lined up side by side, they would stretch twice round the equator?);

· A comprehensive overview of many of the most common digestive complaints, with information on causes and symptoms as well as prevention and treatment;

· ‘Gut-friendly’ recipes from Love Your Gut supporters such as Antony Worrall Thompson;

· Profiles of the many celebrities and experts who support the Gut Week campaign, including amongst others Gaby Roslin, Denise Welch, former Olympic swimmer James Hickman, Antony Worrall Thompson, Ian Marber (The Food Doctor) and This Morning’s Dr. Chris Steele.

· Fun educational activities including the exclusive ‘Gut Game’ where you will find yourself in charge of a sandwich as it makes its way through the gut!

Fast food harms the liver


Too much fast food and too little exercise can harm the liver in just one month, research suggests.

A small study found that people who ate junk food twice a day experienced varying degrees of damage to their liver.

They also put on large amounts of weight in a relatively short amount of time.

Twelve men and six women – 17 of whom were students – were recruited for the study, published online in the journal Gut.

They were all healthy and slim, but for the study they ate at least two fast food meals a day, preferably from well-known fast food restaurants.

Exercise was also restricted to under 5,000 steps per day each.

Blood samples were taken at the start of the study, two weeks into the study and after four weeks.

Participants were urged to greatly increase their daily calorie intake, and only stopped the trial early if they gained 15% in weight.

Another group ate a normal healthy diet and acted as controls.

Digestive problems – ask an expert in a live webchat


London: Do you suffer from digestive health complaints? Have you ever eaten anything and felt bloated or sick? If so you may be intolerant to certain types of food. Thankfully such complaints can be tackled by making simple changes to your diet, so you may not need to spend time sitting in the waiting room at the doctors or put up with unnecessary discomfort.

To give you some helpful advice on food intolerances Dr Sarah Jarvis is holding a 30-minute digestion clinic online on Friday 18 January at 2pm. She will be talking about the difference between allergies and intolerances and answering all of your questions on digestive health. She’ll also be talking about the Lactofree Elimination Challenge Diet, which is a great starting point for testing your tolerance to lactose.

Digestive complaints are actually quite common in the UK, for example up to 1 in 7 people suffer from Lactose Intolerance alone. Common symptoms include bloating, stomach cramps, nausea and abdominal pains, which can prove difficult to live with. Sarah will be offering professional advice on how to rid yourself of these symptoms and will also explain how you can enjoy your food without fear of further digestive issues. So if you’ve been suffering on the food front, why not submit a question?

Dr Sarah Jarvis joins us live online at on Friday 18th January at 2pm to discuss digestive health.