The Link Between PPIs and Baby Food Allergies

By Stu Leo︱Published April 3, 2018

Breaking GERD News:

PPIs, H2 Blockers, and Antibiotics may double your Baby’s risk for food allergies.

In a study, published yesterday, April 2, 2018, in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, researchers looked at the birth records of 792,130 infants enrolled in TRICARE(insurance for military families) and discovered a significant association between acid suppression drugs and allergic diseases.

Of the 792,130 children the study analyzed 7.6% of them in the first 6 months of life were prescribed an H2 blocker, 1.7% were prescribed a PPI, and 16.6% were prescribed an antibiotic. About 22,205 infants received both antibiotics and PPIs at the same time. The most commonly prescribed H2 blocker was ranitidine.

Overall, the study found children who received H2 blockers/PPIs during infancy had significantly higher risk for developing food allergies to cow’s milk, egg, peanuts, etc. Infants given acid suppression drugs were at the highest risk for cow’s milk allergy. In addition, non-food allergies such as allergic rhinitis and anaphylaxis were also found to be linked with the use of acid suppression drugs.

Further, this study also found that the longer children took acid suppression drugs and antibiotics, the higher their risk for developing food allergies. Children prescribed PPIs for more than 60 days were found to have a 52% greater risk of being diagnosed with food allergies compared to children who took PPIs for only 1-60 days.

So exactly how does acid suppression and antibiotics drugs cause food allergies in infants?

Well, the researchers in this study aren’t entirely sure, but there is evidence that acid suppression drugs can mess with the “good bacteria” in your gut(microbiome). Acid suppression drugs and antibiotics can even impede protein digestion, antibody synthesis and cause fungus overgrowth(SIBO).  

The big takeaway from the study is this:

Antibiotics and acid suppression drugs should only be prescribed when they are necessary and there is a clear medical benefit to the infant.

If a pediatrician hastily prescribes PPIs to your baby without confirming his diagnosis with actual tests, it would be wise get a second opinion from another pediatrician or consult a naturopathic pediatrician. 

You can download the study from JAMA Pediatrics here.