As a Clinical Nutritionist we are well-trained in the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed by all of the body systems. We can’t always eat ourselves back to health with the poor quality of our food, so proper whole food based supplementation is my preference. My belief is also that there is a place and time for taking medications. That said, medications are unfortunately, the “go to” first line of defense in our traditional medical system. Unfortunately, we are not told by most doctors that there are SO MANY food based, herbal and homeopathic alternatives to taking these medications.
Did you know that 82% of all Americans are on at least one prescription or over the counter drug? Chances are that if you are on one drug, you are on multiple drugs. While it may be fixing a symptom or an initial issue, and it’s causing imbalance elsewhere and taking a big toll on our long term health. When you are given a drug for a health issue, it can cause side effects, so you go back to the doctor and get a second drug for those effects. But then the second drug causes side effects, so you go back to the doctor and are given a third drug to combat the side effects of the second, and so forth. It’s not surprising that we’re seeing the statistics I quoted above, is it? There are no research studies to prove the safety of all the many combinations of drugs we are taking – that should scare all of us.
As if side effects and adverse reactions were not enough, drugs can also rob your body of essential nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, enzymes are all critical for the proper functioning of our body. Our food is not a strong enough source to keep up with our nutrient and mineral loss. Here is the devastating nutritional impact of 7 commonly prescribed drugs:
Statins deplete your body of vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for bone health, proper immune function, it protects against heart disease and cancer, and encourages healthy lung function. Statins also inhibit your body’s ability to synthesize Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)—an essential and critical antioxidant for your heart.
2- Acid reducers
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) severely reduce your magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and protein levels. Magnesium is needed for digestion, building RNA and DNA, and proper insulin production (an important note for diabetics). It’s also vital for heart and bone health, a properly functioning nervous system and a strong immune system. Calcium is needed in the right amount and going to the right areas to support so many processes in our body – strong bones being just one.
Antibiotics diminish your body’s levels of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and K. They can also sap calcium and iron, and block your absorption of minerals. In addition, all antibiotics upset your gut microbiome, which can spur poor digestion and weaken immune function.
4- Type 2 Diabetes drugs
Diabetes drugs can lead to reduced vitamin B12 levels. B12 is essential for red and white blood cell production, generating energy, lowering blood levels of homocysteine (a heart disease and dementia risk factor), brain and nervous system health.
5- Thyroid medications
Synthetic thyroid medications deplete your body of zinc. Zinc is essential for immune function, heart health, a strong gut wall, and it can also protect against Alzheimer’s Disease.
6- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) drugs
Diuretics reduce your body’s supplies of so many key nutrients: magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, and zinc. Beta blockers drain your supply of CoQ10, which is crucial for heart health. If you are on one, you are likely on two – three of these meds.
7- Birth Control Pills
Like antibiotics, birth control pills can also disrupt your gut microbiome and deplete you of essential B vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients.
If you see yourself in anything I said above, it’s time to take charge of your health before it’s too late. Contact me if you are interested in learning more about your natural options, how to quickly test for these key nutrient deficiencies and balance key nutrients back into your body.