Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use in infants increases risk of infection in certain populations. PPI’s (as well as other acid blocking drugs) are commonly prescribed to infants who suffer from gastrointestinal upset and reflux. A recent study found a significantly increased rate of infection in infants who take PPIs and have regular CYP2C19 gene function – a gene that plays a role in processing and metabolizing some commonly prescribed drugs. The rate of infection was significantly increased in those infants compared to ones who have heightened CYP2C19 function. Pediatrics
Takeaway: Researchers who conducted the study concluded that CYP2C19 function should be assessed when considering PPI therapy in infants. PPI and acid blocking drugs are commonly prescribed in infant populations, yet studies show they are both ineffective and unsafe – and this study proves more of the same. Unfortunately, parents are often given prescriptions for acid suppression medications – a particularly egregious practice in babies, whose precious microbes are just blossoming. Those kids often experience upper respiratory tract infections, which often lead to antibiotics on top of the acid suppression, setting them up for a lifetime of problems.
In infants, reflux is often due to a digestive system that is not fully developed; the valve between the esophagus and stomach sometimes isn’t fully functional at birth, which causes the valve to open and allows stomach contents to backflow into the esophagus. Usually the simplest and most effective treatment for reflux is to give your baby small, frequent feedings, and keep them upright for at least an hour after eating.
Want to know more about infant health and its origin? A surprising study published in Developmental Cell this November found that the development of the intestinal immune system forms much earlier than previously expected. Researchers discovered that “complex intestinal immunity” exists as early as 16 weeks in utero. This reinforces the fact that maternal lifestyle and environmental exposures are of the utmost importance during pregnancy, since a significant amount of your baby’s immune system development occurs before birth.