Magensium Deficiency and Omeprazole

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I have been taking Omeprazole for many years, mainly to protect my stomach from the occasional use of Naproxen for arthritis.  I take max dosage now as I was diagnosed with a small hiatus hernia about 12 months ago.  Over the last few months I have had the odd episode of feeling a little sick, slight right side pain and generally feeling under the weather.  I had my gall bladder removed 8 years ago so not that.  GP sent me for a stomach, liver, spleen and pancreas scan all OK.  Great news.  However I still felt "off" and developed the odd ache and pain in my joints.  I'd joined a gym (to get some weight off to help the HH and acid reflux)  I thought it was the gym. I then developed all over pain, muscle cramps & spasm, indigestion, pins and needles all over the place, bad sleeping patterns and many other things.  I had been bitten by a tick in June and dr suspected Lymes disease.  I've just finished a lengthy course of Doxycycline and felt worse at the end of it.  I've seen another GP today who has asked for blood tests for hormone levels (I'm 53) test for Lymes bacteria and, as he is pretty sure, a test for my magnesium levels.  He says there is a connection with long term use of Omperazole (PPI's) and lowered magnesium.  Although I feel so ill I also feel there is light at the end of the tunnel now.  Anyone else had this problem?  How long does it take to get better?  I truly havent felt this ill in years.  I have gone from going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week to dragging myself about the house and needing to sleep in the day.  Any advise would be gratefully received.  Thank you xx

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  • Posted

    What dose of omeprazole are you on?

    Long term use of PPIs at a high dose can induce hypochlorhydria (too little stomach acid) because they are too good at doing their job. But hypochlorhydria can cause malabsorption of essential minerals like magnesium. A blood test should show if you need supplementation.

    Meanwhile the other drugs you have been taking are known to increase acid so the omeprazole is needed.

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    • Posted

      I'm on 20mg twice a day.  I rarely have naproxen now and was thoroughly enjoying the gym.  Now I'm just exhausted.  I've had my bloods taken today to test the magnesium levels so, fingers crossed.  We eat well too, I grow a lot of my veg - think I need to leave some of the soil on them!
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    • Posted

      Your omeprazole isn't particularly high so I shouldn't expect the problem is connected with hypochlorhydria.

      I was on double that dose for a few years prior to fundoplication and I necame anaemic from induced hypochlorhydria.

      Fingers crossed on your bloods.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying, have only just seen this.

      I will have to google a couple of things as I'm not familiar with what they mean?

      I popped in Holland and Barratt today, thinking of starting some magnesium.  I know I should be patient and wait for the bloods and decided against getting anything in the end.  I had read that if you are severely depleted then you need to be introduced to it gradually, so I've left well alone.  Have to say that I am desperate to be "me" again and really want to crack on with getting better.  Felt unwell for several months now.

      Thanks again for your reply 

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    • Posted

      If you are low on magnesium, or any of the essential minerals, it's better to have your doctor prescribe necessary supplements as he can give you them at the correct strength and formulation that you may not get over the counter at a health food shop.
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  • Posted

    Hi Wendy. Amazing - reading your story takes me back about 4 years. I was a long term user of Omeprazole for a hiatus hernia. After a while I started to develop all sorts of back spinal issues, cramps, pins and needles down my arm, all sorts of stuff. I had all kinds of tests, MRIs etc.I was told I was suffering from compressed discs, spinal stenosis and the tingling was due to degenerating nerves and circulation.... Jeez was I worried.

    Then, after joining this website, someone suggested I stop Omeprazole and use Gaviscon. I did that. I also started taking a magnesium supplement (it also had some vitamin B or D). Guess what - within a few weeks, no back pains, no joint aches, no cramping.... and even the hiatus hernia seems to be less severe. If it flares up I just take Gaviscon and there are NO side effects, so if necessary, you can take Gaviscon as often as needed.

    My conclusion is that you can take Omeprazole initially to start managing the hiatus hernia, but you cant take it long term. You have to move to something less potent. There is a big bright light at the end of the tunnel - I have been feeling so much better it is unbelievable. Really - I was amazed at the result. I was also pretty peeved with the doctors I had been seeing as I had told all ofthem that I was using Omeprazole long term - they just did not think there was any connection. 

    The first week of the changeover may have been a bit difficult, but dont worry. If the hernia flares up, drown it with Gaviscon.

    Good luck

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    • Posted

      Rodger1............... I am so, so glad I posted this.  I cannot thank you enough.  Wendy x
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    • Posted

      Hello rodger! I was on prilosec 20 mg once a day due to a hiatal hernia and unbearing acid reflux. Than when I healed and felt better I tried coming off, but when I went back on it it did not work! Now Im taking 20mg twice a day and am in horrible pain! What was your dose if you dont mind me asking and can you be more clear on how you eventually got of the drug. Im a young female 27 and have a whole life ahead of me so would really like to stop this killer of a drug. Thanks a bunch smile
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    • Posted

      Hi Rzaya

      I was on 20 mg per day other than days when it got very bad then it was 40 mg. To get off it, I just switched to Gaviscon liquid and used lots of it if the pain came up. Initially I was using a lot of Gaviscon but after things settled down I am not using that much at all. The first 2 weeks were the worst but actually not so bad after I increased the dose of Gaviscon.... liquid was better than tablet. Good luck

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  • Posted

    Bloods are back.  Magnesium "normal".  Now what?  Still waiting on the Lymes disease result which takes longer to do.  Feeling particularly frustrated!!! 
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  • Posted

    Hello Wendy.......Im not sure if you are the same Wendy that commented on your blood results being ok.........but I read on one of these forums that the omeprazole can even distort the blood tests as well as the multitude of other nasty side effects which the doctors refuse to associate.
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  • Posted

    Hey Wendy! I can confirm without a doubt that the pain and feeling unwell are due to the PPI. I took Prilosec/Nexium/Omeprazole for about 12 years - 40 mg per day mostly, 20 mg per day here and there and towards the end.

    In my opinion PPI's should never be taken for long term management. 

    Everyone taking them for longer than 4-6 weeks should be aware of what is now known as the PPI Rebound which might last 2-5 months. It has been 60 days now for me and I am still getting heartburn even though I have cut out most of the offending foods. Your heartburn will be up when you stop due to higher gastrin levels caused by the PPI. Have something like Zantac (not a PPI) and/or a decent anti-acid tablets. 

    As a side note: It has been challenging to find any medical articles that say PPI's cause chronic pain. What I have been finding more and more are other people reporting chronic pain associated with PPI's. My pain also went back to normal levels for me when I stopped taking omeprazole. I mean almost immediately (2-3 days). 

    PPI's like Nexium/Prilosec deplete magnesium levels (among many other nutrients). The insert we get with our tablets in the US (yeah, I'm a Yank) states this. 

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    • Posted

      Let's just clarify things.

      PPIs reduce acid - that's why we take them. They are powerful drugs that should only be taken at minimum effective dose for as long as necessary and should be with a doctor's monitoring,

      In the States, they have been available over the counter for years. Problems arose because too many people were not using them correctly. Thinking them similar to Tums, they took them when they felt they needed them and if they didn't work, took another. That is not how they work and recent published papers have shown that problems are more often associated with self-prescribers.

      It's the rduction in acid that can cause the problems. Induced hypochlorhydria can result in malabsorption of essential minerals - including calcium and magnesium and reduced protection from bacterial infection.

      It was because of the prevalence of these conditions amongst those who took PPIs the FDA issued warnings of osteoporosis, hypomagnasaemia and c-difficile arising from over use or misuse of the drugs. That is why the drug manufacturers have to include the warnings about possibly developing these conditions when using PPIs.

      PPIs reduce the acid output of the stomach but it's a bit like building a dam. When you stop, it's like breaking the dam down and the rebound effect results in acid hypersecretion which can last up to about 10 days maximum if you stop abruptly. IF acid hypersecretion appears to last longer thanthis, it's more likely to be your body producing too much acid - which is why you took the PPIs initially.

      Also to note. If one person reports what they think may be a side effect, it doesn't prove anything. If a dozen people report it, it may be worth investigating but correlation doesn't always signify causation.

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    • Posted

      Your response is directed toward me because...? I didn't ask a question. I was prescribed the medication and seems to me that you are assuming otherwise. I am only sharing my experience in an attempt to help others suffering as I did. I was on those things for over 12 years and told I would need to be on them for the rest of my life. My life was near an end when I finally took matters into my own hands - did the research and got myself off of these god-forsaken things. Once I did my health and overall well being did a complete 180. That is MY first hand experience. I do not discount your statement that people take these like candy and they are encouraged to do exactly that by the ads we are inundated with in this country. I have also found way more than one person stating the same when it comes to chronic pain and long term use of omeprazole. Where there is smoke there is fire. 

      When I say these things almost killed me I am not exaggerating. I have been monitored for gastrin leveld and mine are still high 2 months later. Not sure where you get 10 days from. My doc says 2-5 months and this is somewhat dependant upon how long you are on them and dosage. 

      All I am trying to do is help people going through the same thing by shring my experience. 

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    • Posted

      Well said........I'd be interested to know in what field MR.B works closely with medical consultants etc in....... ( his words)............he appears to have a 'vested interest' in promoting this product which is causing so much despair to patients,literally hundreds on various 'forums'......Im guessing now mr.B will opt out of the discussion having not imposed his views successfully,as he did in my discussion earlier and then move on to another unfortunate sufferer with his pro bias on this awful medication.G
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    • Posted

      I am not here to pick a fight. My aim, as that of the charity I co-founded and chair, is to reduce the deaths to oesophageal cancer through ignorance.

      We are all entitled to our own views but when erroneous and potentially dangerous information is posted, I feel it is necessary to also post the facts so anyone reading the posts can make up their own minds.

      I am no great supporter of PPIs except for the fact they are literally life-savers. And I , too, have experienced the effects of induced hypochlorhydria prior to having a fundoplication which has resulted in my no longer needing to take them.

      As recently as 2008, at a conference, I was discussing with two of the top internationally renowned UK gastroenterologist professors (one from Cambridge and one from London), the possibility of reduced acid occasioned by PPI usage reducing uptake of essential minerals. They immediately denied the possibility as mineral absorption occurs in the duodenum not the stomach. However, it prompted research which now shows I was right. Stomach acid is required to leech the minerals and convert them to chlorides which may be better assimilated in the duodenum.

      But that doesn't mean I could ever claim the drugs to be harmful. On the contrary, although , of course, it's not possible to prove, there is sufficient evidence in the many research papers to show the possible chemo-protective effect of the drugs preventing the occurrence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. (For example, "Acid-suppressive medications and risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma in patients with Barrett's oesophagus: a systematic review and meta-analysis" by Siddarth Singh (Mayo clinic) et al published in Gut in November 2013.) And I have seen enough people die from cancer who thought a "natural" alternative would be better. (My wife's son is an oncologist.)

      So I caution everyone posting not to propagate harmful myths that could result in another death.

      If I opt out of an on-going argument it is because I believe my time and energy is better directed elsewhere. This is a full time (unpaid) job for me and I don't wish to waste time arguing. I present the facts. If you wish to dismiss them, that's your prerogative. I do not intend to "impose my views" on others and have no "vested interest". I feel sorry for those who feel this product causes despair but there are many millions using these drugs worldwide, and have done for the 30 years since they were introduced, who are so grateful for the relief they afford them from the constant agony of acid hypersecretion and reflux thereof.

      I have studied reflux and its consequences for 15 years. I receive half a dozen abstracts of newly published relevant research every day. (Some are archived on the BarrettsWessex org uk site under the NEWS/research tab.)

      If you wish to learn more about reflux and acid the free book is now available at DownWithAcid org uk which has received this unsolicited review: "a superb compendium of knowledge - thorough, comprehensive, approachable yet scientifically literate."

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    • Posted

      Dear HallMarc,

      Your experience brings tears to my eyes. Finally I have found someone who I can relate too with my problems. I have been taking 20MG daily of Omeprazol for more then 10 years now. Up until a couple of years ago I was taking them with no real side effects, but the last 4 years or so I have become a local customer at my GP with all the strange problems I have encountered over the years. We have 4 hospitals in the Hague (where I live) and I have seen the inside of all 4 emergency rooms. I have had my heart checked nearly every year and I have had an endoscopie done nearly every year since 2008. Why? Because of strange pains and ailments in my chest region. All the tests came out negative. I keep hearing that I have a strong heart and that my stomach looks good for a 51 year old. A month ago I finally got my eureka moment. It must be the PPI I am taking on a daily basis. I nopw have come to the same stage as Wendy where I am tired all day and I have had to reduce on my daily excercise. I want to get off the PPI's and I have tried but it is so diffecult. You have done it and you have been a long term user so that gives me hope. 

      Any tips?

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