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Zantac: Avoid This Brand Name Heartburn Medication

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

heartburn medication

Story at-a-glance -

  • Ranitidine heartburn medications, including those commonly known by the brand name Zantac, may contain a cancer-causing chemical called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)
  • NDMA is a nitrosamine chemical that was formerly used to make rocket fuel and lubricants
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies NDMA as a probable human carcinogen
  • Past research revealed that exposure to NDMA led to abnormal growths called neoplasms and liver abnormalities in rats, even at low doses
  • Ranitidine is an H2 (histamine-2) blocker, which is used to prevent and relieve heartburn by decreasing the amount of acid in your stomach, but more often than not, heartburn is the result of insufficient amounts of acid
  • Eating real food and infusing your gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria from traditionally fermented foods may help resolve heartburn naturally

Some ranitidine heartburn medications, including those commonly known by the brand name Zantac, may contain a cancer-causing chemical called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). NDMA is a nitrosamine chemical that was formerly used to make rocket fuel and lubricants, but it’s now only used for research purposes.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies NDMA as a probable human carcinogen. In an alert released by the U.S. FDA, the NDMA in heartburn drugs is said to be at “low levels,” and the agency is evaluating whether this poses a risk to people taking the drugs.


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