08 July, 2011
Calcium & Nexium
Also known as esomeprazole, Nexium is a heartburn medication that works to reduce the amount of acid made in the stomach. Less acid can reduce your heartburn symptoms, but it may have an adverse side effect -- reducing calcium absorption in your body. If you take Nexium, it’s important to discuss with your physician how it may impact your calcium intake needs.
Hip Fracture Risk
A 2006 study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” conducted by Yu-Xiao Yang, M.D., and others from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine examined the link between taking heartburn medications like Nexium and increased hip fracture risk. The researchers found that patients taking Nexium and similar medications in the proton-pump inhibitor classification were 44 percent more likely to experience hip fractures than those who did not. The researcher theorized that the medications interfered with calcium absorption that led to increased injury risk. Men were found to be at an especially increased risk because they often do not consume enough calcium, according to the study.
Two chief types of calcium supplements exist -- calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Your body requires stomach acid to absorb calcium carbonate in your body. For this reason, calcium carbonate is best taken with food because food stimulates your stomach to produce acid. When you take Nexium or other strong acid-reducing medications, your body may not have enough stomach acid to absorb the calcium carbonate supplements.
Calcium citrate can be another option for you if you take Nexium and calcium supplements. This is because calcium citrate does not require stomach acid for absorption into the body. Remember that your body can only absorb a finite amount of calcium at a time. For this reason, you should take no more than 500 and 600 mg at a time. This is true for both calcium supplements and foods eaten. Therefore, if you are taking a calcium citrate supplement and foods like milk and yogurt, the foods add to your total.
Nexium reducing the effects of calcium carbonate can be problematic because your body relies on calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Without enough calcium you can experience adverse side effects, like easy bone breakage or softening bones, which can lead to bone pain. If you are taking Nexium, talk to your doctor about switching from calcium carbonate to calcium citrate supplements.
- "The San Diego Union Tribune"; Nexium Could Contribute to Calcium Deficiency; Richard Harkness; June 2007
- Tone Your Bones; Calcium Supplement Tips; 2003
- MSNBC.com; Hearburn Drugs Tied to Hip-Fracture Risk; December 2006
- Oprah.com; "The Most Confusing Health Mysteries of the Year"; Jane Allen; April 2005
- gregsawyer/iStock/Getty Images