Are pharmaceutical drugs robbing your body of nutrients?

you might be surprised


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Great guest post today by my good friend Jon Yaneff

The holistic approach to health will treat disease with supplements, herbal remedies, and other natural medicines. Practitioners will also aim to eliminate a patient’s need for drugs altogether.

After all, allopathic medications are commonly associated with risks and adverse affects. For instance, statins are associated with dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, difficulty sleeping, muscles aches and myalgia, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain of cramping, and flushed skin. Also, opiate painkillers can lead to addiction from the drugs, breathing problems, confusion, and a host of other side effects.

Those are just a couple of the most common medications out there. However, drugs are sometimes needed for immediate symptomatic relief, although it may be temporary. That being said, it is a problem when drugs are used for extended periods of time for preventative measures. As a result, there is long-term nutrient depletion. Luckily, this can be corrected by taking various supplements at the proper dosage.

How Drugs Can Deplete Nutrients:

There are certain problematic interactions that can happen with drugs and how they affect nutrients in the body. These interactions can involve similar metabolic pathways and structures that affect the depletion of vitamins and minerals. For example, the NSAID aspirin will deplete the body of iron and vitamin C.

Other times, nutrients depletions may impair system metabolism. For instance, diuretics have an effect on potassium loss. Also, birth control, aka oral contraceptives, can deplete vitamin C and folic acid. On occasion nutrient depletions can lead to another health concern. How antibiotics destroy intestinal flora, and leads to candida is a good example of this.

Also, certain nutrients may interfere with lab results accuracy, which can lead to a false negative or positive. This is true with the herbal remedy ginkgo biloba, the drug warfarin, and other ant-coagulants. This is serious stuff, considering that a misread lab test can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal for the patient.

There are drugs A to Z that can deplete nutrients within the body. The following is a short but useful tool in understanding some of the common drugs that deplete nutrients in the body.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics are said to deplete biotin, folic acid, vitamin K, and B complex vitamins. Antibiotics also deplete the intestinal bacterial flora, or the good bacteria known as Lactobacillus bifidobacteria and acidophilus. These friendly bacteria will colonize the intestinal tract and support healthy immune function and digestion. Research indicates that a lack of good gut bacteria can cause digestive issues, and this can lead to nutrient malabsorption, and symptoms like diarrhea, as, bloating, constipation, belching, abdominal distension, and acid reflux. After using antibiotics, probiotic bacteria should be replaced immediately with a high-potency probiotic supplement. Also, mineral supplements like selenium, iodine, iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium, will bind to antibiotics and reduce the drug’s absorption. As a result, minerals must be taken at least two hours away from antibiotic use.

Diuretics: Diuretics are water pills designed to increase the amount of salt and water expelled from the body during urination. They are often used as a popular drug for high blood pressure, but they are also used for edema, congestive heart failure, and reducing fluid buildup. The three types of diuretic drugs are called loop, thiazide, and potassium-sparing diuretics. Although all three excrete more fluid during urination, they can also contribute to potassium deficiency, and this can lead to problems in the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, heart muscle, and kidneys. Diuretics can also result in other major nutrient depletions, including zinc, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, and B complex vitamins like vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. Depletion of these B complex vitamins can elevate homocysteine levels, which can lead to heart problems.

Antidepressants: Antidepressants are used to stimulate the mood of those with depression. Some are also used for treating panic disorders, obesity, and eating disorders. However, the antidepressants Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft will deplete melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes sleep and also fights cancer. That said, too much melatonin can worsen depression in patients with chronic and severe depression. Also, avoid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and St. John’s wort supplements while taking antidepressants. This can increase serotonin levels, and cause anxiety. Vitamin B complex deficiency can also reduce the efficacy of antidepressants, and therefore a quality B complex supplement is recommended. The use of antidepressants can also deplete vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, L-glutathione, zinc, and selenium. Consider a high potency multi-vitamin/mineral to restore lost levels in the body.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, work by blocking the enzymes cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2, while reducing prostaglandins in the body. As a result, they can reduce frequent pain, inflammation, and fever, which is why they are often prescribed for arthritis. Common brands include aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin). NSAIDs cause important nutrient deficiencies, including omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, folic acid, glucosamine, vitamin C, and magnesium and calcium. NSAIDs also deplete the anti-cancer hormone melatonin.

Diabetes Drugs: Diabetes is expected to increase 44% from 2015 to 2025, according to Diabetes Canada. Drugs used to treat diabetes include Metformin, Acarbose, sulfonylurea drugs like Diabinese and Tolinase, and second generation drugs like Diabeta and Glynase. The problem is these drugs can deplete important nutrients in the body. For instance, Metformin will deplete CoQ10, which is essential for heart, muscle, and brain function. When using Metformin, it is best to use caution when also using herbs and nutrients that lower blood sugar. At this time, the dose of Metformin should be changed to prevent hypoglycemia. Blood sugar-lowering herbs and nutrients include dandelion, ginseng, gymnema sylvestre, vanadium, berberine, biotin, chromium, and alpha lipoic acid. Folic acid deficiency is also noted with Metformin use. There is also a relationship between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance, and most diabetics have an 80% to 85% magnesium deficiency.

Remember, medications may be necessary at times. At the same time, it is the job of natural health practitioners to make clients and patients aware of what the aforementioned drugs are actually doing to the body. Drugs do deplete certain nutrients, and that is why certain supplementation is needed for replenishment.

Sources for Today’s Article:

Wagner, D.T., “Common Drugs Deplete Nutrients,” Alive website; http://www.alive.com/health/common-drugs-deplete-nutrients/, last updated April 24, 2015.

“Opioid (Narcotic) Pain Medications,” WebMD website; http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications#2-5, last accessed Feb. 21, 2017.

“Diabetes Statistics in Canada,” Diabetes Canada website; http://www.diabetes.ca/how-you-can-help/advocate/why-federal-leadership-is-essential/diabetes-statistics-in-canada, last accessed Feb. 21, 2017.

Marks, J.W., “Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs),” MedicineNet.com website; http://www.medicinenet.com/nonsteroidal_antiinflammatory_drugs/page2.htm, last accessed Feb. 21, 2017.

Ellis, M.E., “Diuretics: What to Know,” healthline website; http://www.healthline.com/health/diuretics#Introduction1, reviewed Nov. 7, 2016.

Pick, M., “Are Prescription Drugs Making Us Any Healthier?” The Huffington Post website, Aug. 7, 2012; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcelle-pick-rnc/prescriptions-health_b_1746525.html, last updated Oct. 7, 2012.

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