Blog Post by Coach Julie
NCI Certified Nutrition Coach L1 & Certified Mindset Coach
I began Phase 5, the Nexium cessation phase on December 2nd. With this phase, I am moving through what was supposed to be a 4 week titration phase off of Nexium. We are currently on Week 6 of this process, which means I have definitely hit some snags and we needed to slow the process down. This is perfectly normal. Some people can complete the process in 4 weeks and others need more. Since I’ve been on this medication for 15+ years, I require some more.
During this phase, I have continued to take Zinc Carnosine at 75mg every morning on an empty stomach. I have also continued to take peppermint oil capsules before my morning and evening meals. Zinc carnosine reduces gut inflammation and helps protect the gut lining, which will be integral while my gut acid levels increase to their normal levels after being repressed for so long. Peppermint oil soothes the gut and helps prevent cramping and discomfort. I have also added DGL chewables and Betaine HCL. The DGL chewables are taken after my morning and evening meals. 3 tablets after each meal. The DGL chewable is Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root. I have used this supplement in a capsule form earlier in my journey. DGL is often used to soothe the stomach and support healthy digestion by encouraging mucin production. The Betaine HCL will be added in as needed, but I have not needed it yet. Betaine HCL helps protect the gut wall and strengthens it throughout the process. It will also help increase your stomach acid levels when you are struggling to recover with low stomach acid, which is common after long term use of a PPI. I will be using it as needed should I begin having acid reflux symptoms.
After week one of this process, the withdrawal symptoms started. Week one consisted of reducing my Nexium to every other day rather than daily. After about day 4, I began noticing some mild diarrhea and headaches. I also noticed some weakness and dizziness. I am also having some reflux which is a most common and expected side effect. The reflux has been causing some nausea for me. Based on this, rather than moving to week 2, we decided to repeat week 1 again to see if my body would adjust. I continued to have symptoms so we decided to repeat week 1 for a third week to see if my body adjusted to the titration. My gut did regulate during the last 2 weeks of that process, so I then moved the Nexium to once every two days. I didn’t notice any reappearance of symptoms every two days, so I progressed to once every 3 days to see how my body tolerated that before we completely stopped the PepZin GI and the Nexium. After no noticeable symptoms or side effects, I took my last Nexium tablet on January 11th. Subsequently, I took my last PepZin GI tablets on January 13th. I have noticed that some meals seem to cause a slight acidic feeling in my gut. It does not feel like full heartburn or acid reflux, just a sensation that I am acutely aware of and it is manageable. One noticeable change was my bowel movements became more regular and more normal. This was something that I have not experienced in many years. Even after healing my gut I was still having a bit of constipation and this was apparent in the frequency and consistency of my bowel movements. On January 16th, I had a day of terrible heartburn. This was the first time that I have struggled with it since we started the process. The heartburn persisted for most of the week. On Tuesday, I decided to go ahead and try Betaine HCL with dinner to see if it would help. I noticed a reduction of the acidy, burning feeling shortly after taking it. The next morning I took another with my protein shake. I believe I may have taken it too soon because I felt very ill the rest of the morning. I struggled with reflux and nausea. Betaine HCL should be taken in the middle of your meal or immediately after your meal for the best effectiveness. If taken too soon or before a meal, you can get a false heartburn feeling. I took the Betaine HCL after only one drink of my protein shake and I believe this to be the cause. That same day after I ate lunch, some of the symptoms seemed to subside a little. The following day, I waited until my protein shake was complete before taking the Betaine HCL. I noticed the symptoms were greatly improved and easy to manage. It does seem that the Betaine HCL is helping increase my stomach acid levels and which is keeping the reflux to a minimum.
I have noticed as the weeks progressed that my bowel movements became more regularly occurring. They also seemed to be moving toward the normal range on the Bristol Stool Scale.
As always, I will provide a case study update in 4 weeks, when I should have completed this final phase if my body responds well. My body has responded exceptionally well the last few months so I am hopeful this temporary struggle will be the last and I will bounce back to normal.
Kayli is a certified personal trainer and online coach that specializes in fitness, wellness, nutrition, mindset, mobility and everything in between.