Common heartburn drugs may help manage blood sugar in diabetes

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A recent study from the University of Maryland found antacids improved blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a global public health concern affecting almost 10 percent of people worldwide.

Doctors may prescribe diet and lifestyle changes, diabetes medications, or insulin to help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugar, but recent data points to common over-the-counter antacid medicines as another way to improve glucose levels.

An antacid is a drug that neutralizes stomach acidity and is used to relieve heartburn, indigestion or an upset stomach.

In the study, the team found that prescribing antacids as an add-on to standard care was superior to standard therapy in decreasing hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels and fasting blood sugar in people with diabetes.

For people without diabetes, taking antacids did not strongly alter their risk of developing the disease.

The researchers performed a meta-analysis on the effects of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)—a commonly used type of antacid medication—on blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and whether these medications could prevent the new onset of diabetes in the general population.

Their analysis included seven studies (342 participants) for glycemic control and 5 studies (244, 439 participants) for risk of incident diabetes.

The team found antacids can reduce HbA1c levels by 0.36% in people with diabetes and lower fasting blood sugar by 10 mg/dl based on the results from seven clinical trials.

For those without diabetes, the results of the five studies showed that antacids had no effect on reducing the risk of developing diabetes.

The team says people with diabetes should be aware that these commonly used antacid medications may improve their blood sugar control, and providers could consider this glucose-lowering effect when prescribing these medications to their patients.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about the third type of diabetes being wrongly diagnosed as type 2, and this eating habit could help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and results showing green tea and coffee could help reduce death risk in type 2 diabetes.

The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and conducted by Carol Chiung-Hui Peng et al.

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