Day 10 – No Prilosec – Update

I’m not proud to admit this, but to be thorough with this process, all needs to be noted which includes the good, the bad and the ugly of it.

Last night I had a bit of a melt down and was really having a pity party for myself.

See today is the 10th day of not taking prilosec (omeprazole) and for the past 7 days I have been experiencing some considerable discomfort with heartburn and reflux.  It’s not constant, but it’s pretty typical after any meal I eat.

With this has come a bit of depression and I recognize it, but recognizing it doesn’t make me able to ignore it.  This depression has caused me to be a bit of a short fuse.

The depression stems from constantly worrying about what I can eat, and how it will affect me causing pain or not.  Like I said in a different post, when I was taking the prilosec I could eat or drink anything I wanted and it didn’t affect me.  Just take a pill and it will be all better.  This includes wine.  I have come to realize that I simple can not drink wine, and as shallow as this sound I’m a bit sad over it.

The Z Man encouraged me last night not to give up and to do more research, to keep on keeping on.  Which is so incredibly generous of him because he is the one who suffers the most from my mood swings and frustration.

The potato soup and cornbread I made for dinner last night was a lovely meal, but even the small portion that I ate caused me great discomfort.  I suppose it was the onions in the soup.

I went back to my natural foods store this morning and got very lucky because there was a representative there who knew a lot about the subject of the PPIs drugs (prilosec, nexium, omeprazole) and was able to share some information with me as far as diet including bone broth (which I happened to bring with me for lunch today)

We went over everything I’m currently taking and he was in full agreement with all of them, however he suggested that I’m just not taking enough of them.  So I will increase the doses of my current supplement regimen which you can read about here.

Sometimes, like last night I needed something for fast relief of heartburn and reflux, so I picked this up at the natural foods store this morning too.

003 002

I know I’m on the right path, and I know it will get better in time, I’m just being a bit impatient.  For so long I was able to eat and drink anything I wanted and now (at least for right now) I’m not able to do that.

But I will keep on keeping on.  30 days of increasing the supplements and a stricter diet.  Here we go!

What’s Cooking 5/18/16?

  • Breakfast: bone broth (homemade – chicken)
  • Lunch: same as lunch – bone broth
  • Dinner: same as lunch and breakfast – bone broth

I’m taking a break today from food, giving my digestive system a rest.  And guess what, so far no heartburn or reflux.

Have a great day,

Till Next Time,

Lori

Day Three – No Prilosec

For more than 20 years I’ve taken prilosec (or the generic, omeprazole).  I was prescribed the medicine when I went to the doctor for stomach pain. He suggested that it could be stomach ulcers and ordered some upper GI testing.  Back then you drank this horrible thick pink liquid and then lay face down on a table that tilted you back and forth like a lava lamp.  It was a very awkward procedure to say the least.

Thankfully no ulcers were found, but the pain persisted so we continued with the testing and finally found that my gal bladder was full of stones and needed to be removed.

After having my gal bladder removed I tried to stop the prilosec but by then it was in my system and trying to stop it caused terrible reflux and heartburn.  It was easier just to stay on it and the doctor agreed.  Remember this was more than 20 years ago…

Fast forward to today and I am on my third day of not taking prilosec.

It’s been seven weeks since I began this process of weaning myself off the drug.

I started this process after going to the doctor a few months ago for stomach pain.  Ironic huh 🙂   My doctor wanted to run some test but I couldn’t be seen by the specialist for about six months and in the mean time “we could up the dose of prilosec if I wanted to”   That’s when I made the decision to look into options for myself and do what I could on my own.

Last week was the last step down dose of the prilosec of each week removing 25 of the 200 little balls in a 40mg omeprazole (generic prilosec) capsule.  I have spoken to other people with the same dosage but their capsules have only 36 little balls.  They made the decision to reduce it by 6 little balls each week.

Side note:  I have to admit that I chuckle a little bit every time I type “little balls”  It’s just funny.  Yes I’m 12 years old. 🙂

Anyway….  I have had some moderate discomfort with heartburn and a couple instances of reflux, but in total disclosure I have to admit that I’ve been a little bad in regards to my diet (pizza and wine) and lets go ahead and add portion control to the mix too, all of which is probably more the cause of my discomfort instead of the absence of the medicine.

I’ve also decided to add probiotic to may daily regimen.  Following is a list of the supplements I’m taking now and I’ve included some information on all of them from Dr. Amy Myers with mindbodygreen.

Probiotics
Our gut is full of “good”and friendly bacteria that help us properly break down and digest our food. They help keep our gut in check and prevent ‘bad’ bacteria from overgrowth. Unfortunately, these friendly bacteria can be depleted and disrupted by taking antibiotics, steroids, acid-blocking medications, eating a poor diet, and many other factors. Taking a highly concentrated dose (25-100 billion units a day) of probiotics on a daily basis can help you regain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

L-Glutamine
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is fundamental to the well-being of the digestive and immune systems. Glutamine is great for repairing damage to the gut, helping the gut lining to regrow and repair, undoing the damage caused by leaky gut, and reducing sugar cravings. I recommend 3-5 grams a day.

Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are plant or microbial-based supplements that support the breakdown, absorption, and utilization of macronutrients. Taken with meals, they work with the body’s own reduced supply of enzymes to achieve maximum digestion and support intestinal repair mechanisms.

Slippery Elm
It might have kind of a strange name, but slippery elm has been used as an effective gut healer for centuries in the United States. This supplement both contains mucilage and stimulates nerve endings in the body’s intestinal tract to increase natural mucus secretion, which is an instrumental part of the stomach’s protective lining and helps combat ulcers and excessive acidity in the digestive system. It also contains important antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel symptoms.

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL)
DGL is an herb that has been used for over 3,000 years in the treatment of digestive issues including ulcers and indigestion. It’s made from whole licorice, but the manufacturing process includes the removal of glycyrrhizin, which can cause an elevation in blood pressure. DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum.

 

Like I said before, this will be a lifetime process of being aware of my diet and the triggers that cause discomfort.  Also managing portion control, properly chewing my food and not eating two hours before bedtime.

These are things I should have been doing all along and I suppose we can chalk that up to being another side effect of the PPI drugs.  Being able to over eat and basically eat anything I wanted because I could just take a pill for any discomfort it caused me.   Think about that for a minute.  How crazy is that?

It makes me wonder if there was a pill that cured cancer how many people would start smoking (again).

Now that I’ve had to pay attention to the foods I eat and when I eat them I have learned that if I start my day on the “right track” then the rest of the day goes well.  The “right track” for me is a breakfast of mostly protein and very little, if any grains.  Luckily we are blessed daily by our chickens with fresh eggs and I have a freezer full of sausage and bacon from our hogs.  Cereal, over night oats and muffins for breakfast are out (for now anyway).

The most important factor about dinner is timing and portion control.  I try very hard to make sure that dinner is finished at least 2 hours before bedtime and I also make sure that my portions are in check by using a salad plate as my dinner plate.  I also drink very little fluids with dinner usually just sipping on some water.

This is my plan for the next 30 days…  Now that I’ve stopped the prilosec I will continue the L-Glutamine and probiotics in the  mornings, DGL licorice before meals, digestive enzymes after meals and slippery elm as needed.

The anxiety…  I’ve said that this process hasn’t been that difficult, and I’m proud of myself for doing it the right way and including the supplements allowing me to wean off the drugs and heal my gut at the same time.  What I haven’t talked about in my blogs is the anxiety associated with it.   If you’ve taken any of these PPI medications, then you know how effective they are in preventing heart burn and reflux.  And I’m betting you also know how painful the heartburn and reflux can be when you miss a dose.  It can be excruciating!  I don’t know one person who isn’t to some degree afraid of pain.  This is what can cause the anxiety.  I’ve asked the Z Man many times… what if it doesn’t work… what if I make it worse…. what if I can’t do it…  what if……

This is where I need to say Thank You to the Z Man for his support and encouragement through this.  Thank You My Love! 🙂

While I was worried about the possible discomfort and pain, what’s worse is the fear of the terribly damaging side effects of these drugs that made me want to finish this.

I’m sorry this post got so long and I want to thank you for letting me share my experience with you, it has inspired me to do the research, to learn more and to make better choices for us.   Thank you! 🙂

Have a great day,

Till Next Time,

Lori

 

 

More On The Dangers of PPIs (Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid)

It continues to become very clear that these medicines are doing serious harm to people.  Every week there is a new article with more information about the dangers of these medicines.

The following is from a recent article in the U.S. News & World Report.

Taking PPIs has been linked to an increased risk of pneumonia and a higher risk of developing a digestive system infection called clostridium difficile that causes diarrhea and can be life-threatening. In addition, PPIs can affect absorption of vitamins and minerals and have been found to be associated with certain deficiencies, such as for vitamin B12, calcium, iron and magnesium, says Dr. Joel Heidelbaugh, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, who has done research on the overutilization of PPIs and risks associated with this class of drugs. He notes there’s now also concern PPIs could possibly affect kidney function and be linked to a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease. “Of course, all of these associations were determined retrospectively,” he says. The drugs haven’t been studied prospectively to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between taking PPIs and the health issues studied. But experts say the risks are worth considering when deciding whether to start or continue on PPIs.

Most recently, a study published online in April in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found patients who take PPIs for heartburn, acid reflux or ulcers were more likely to experience a decline in kidney function, compared to those taking H2 blockers, and had an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. Researchers found the longer patients took PPIs, the greater an individual’s risk. Regarding possible vitamin deficiencies associated with PPIs, Heidelbaugh notes in recent years that attention has turned toward magnesium. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to issues ranging from osteoporosis to high blood pressure. In addition, research published last year in the online open-access journal PLOS One found that taking PPIs was associated with an increased risk of heart attack.

I’m so glad I made the decision to stop taking this awful drug.  It still worries me that there may be residual damage after more than 20 years of taking it daily.   I have to tell you that at this point I have zero confidence in getting to the truth of it inside the medical world.

Several years back I expressed to my doctor my desire to quit this medicine, and his response was “why?  it seems to work well for you and there have been no long term damaging side effects noted, I would recommend you continue with it”

I like my doctor, I’ve been a patient of his for almost 20 years, and I plan to discuss this with him at my next visit and share with him my concerns and the entire weaning process I’ve gone through.  I want it specifically noted in my chart for future reference.

If you are still taking any of the PPI medications please discuss it with your doctor and perhaps consider this weaning process as an option for you too.  If you have any questions, suggestions or comments please share them with us.  You never know who it might help, after all it was a friend that shared her experience with me that encouraged me to quit these drugs.

Have a great day!

Till Next Time,

Lori

Omeprazole Update

Today is the beginning of week 7 of weaning myself off Omeprazole.  I have to say that it really hasn’t been bad at all.  I believe the L-Glutamine and digestive enzymes have helped it go smoothly.  After reading the book Eat Dirt by Dr. Axe I have self diagnosed myself with leaky gut syndrome.

Here is a little information on leaky direct from Dr. Axe’s book Eat Dirt:

What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Think of the lining of your digestive tract like a net with extremely small holes in it that only allow specific substances to pass through. Your gut lining works as a barrier keeping out bigger particles that can damage your system. 

When someone has leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability), the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which causes even bigger holes to develop in your net, so things that normally can’t pass through, are now be able to.

Some of the things that can now pass through include proteins like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested foods particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction.

Leaky Gut Symptoms and Progression

This leads to inflammation throughout your system and can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Bloating
  • Food sensitivities
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Skin issues like rosacea and acne
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Syndrome X

Dr. Axe also states in his book that leaky gut can be attributed to long term usage of medicines such as Nexium, Prilosec, Omeprazole (generic Prilosec).  Well hello, I’ve been taking Prilosec or Omeprazole for over 20 years.

A few things I’ve learned while weaning off of the Omeprazole are:

  • Daily stomach pain, cramping and bloating is not normal.
  • Portion control of every meal is important in eliminating acid reflux.  This was especially hard for me because I’ve never specifically portioned food, I just filled the imaginary sections of the plate.  I also ate untill I was full, which by that time was too late, I had already overeaten.
  • Drinking a good amount of water through out the day, but limit beverages during meals.
  • Allow plenty of time for digestion before bedtime and try to prop yourself up a bit when sleeping.  I start out that way but end up always sliding down in the bed during the night.

So this is where I am in the process.  Last week I did experience some discomfort but it was directly related to some foods that I ate.  I can add white pasta to the list of things that are difficult for me to digest.    I did fine with the honey wheat bread I made, and honestly I didn’t have any issue with the buns I bought for our hamburgers, so I don’t believe it’s a gluten intolerance.  But something about boxed white pastas causes me discomfort.  Looks like I’m going to need the pasta attachment for my kitchen aid. 😉

I’ve been putting some probiotic fermented whey lemonade in my morning water.  I got my recipe for fermented whey lemonade from http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/ I love her website as it is filled with a lot of great information and videos.

This is going to be a long, well actually it’s going to be a lifetime process for me.  Changing my diet from where it was to where it needs to be with organic real foods, quality over quantity and eliminating the chemicals from our lives as much as possible.

Today I started the lower dosage of removing 175 of the 200 little balls in the 40mg Omeprazole capsule, which means in next week I’ll start the every other day process for a week and then hopefully I’ll have completed the weaning process ( I hope, I hope, I hope).

Have A Great Day!

Till Next Time,

Lori