Friday, January 28, 2011

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blog to bring you this very special information!

The other day I was at the Pharmaca Pharmacy in South Boulder waiting for a prescription for a new thyroid medication (that is a whole different blog...). As I was standing there, I noticed several pamphlets, one was regarding the use of statins. “Did you know that statins deplete your Coenzyme Q10, an enzyme vital to your heart health? ”Are you taking steroids? Did you know that steroids deplete the following vitamins and minerals?”  Folic Acid, Calcium, Zinc and Magnesium. (See the charts below for common medications, vitamins depleted and possible side effects from depletion.)  I came back a couple of days later and spent 2 hours going through the Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, 2nd Edition; Ross Pelton, RPh, Ph.D., CCN  looking up all of the medications my mom is on. It really shed a new light on some of the symptoms she is experiencing!
 Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion Guide
Types of Medication
Common Examples
Amoxicillin, Erythromycin, etc.
Bifidobacteria bifidum, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Biotin, Inositol*, Potassium, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, K
Blood Pressure Lowering Medications
Diuretics: furosemide (lasix)
Vitamins B1, B6, C, Magnesium,Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Sodium
Thiazides: HCT, Amiloride
Magnesium, Potassium, Coenzyme Q10, Sodium, Zinc, Phosphorus*
Beta Blocker: Atenolol, Propranolol
Coenzyme Q10
Cholesterol Lowering Medications
Statins: Zocor, Lipitor, Crestor
Coenzyme Q10 and indirectly Vitamin D
Fenofibrate: Tricor
Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E
Bile Acid Sequestrant: Colestid, Questran
Vitamins A, D, E, K, Beta Carotene, B-12, Folate, Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus*
Diabetes Medications
Glucophage (Metformin)
Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid
Glucotrol, Glyburide
Pain/Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Vitamin C, Potassium, Folic acid, Iron
NSAIDS: Motrin, Naprosyn, Lodine, Ibuprofen, Advil
Folic acid
Steroids: Hydrocortisone
Vitamin C, D, Folic acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium
Heartburn or Reflux Medications
Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Nexium, Protonix
Vitamin B-12, Protein
Zantac, Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet
Vitamin D, B-12, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Protein
Hormone Replacement Medications
Oral Contraceptives:
Ortho Tri-Cyclen
Vitamins B2, B3, B6, B-12, C, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Premarin
Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Zinc

Along with this, I found the corresponding Depleted Nutrients and signs to watch for:
B1 (Thiamin) Depression, memory loss, weight loss, fatigue, numbness, muscle weakness, edema, mental confusion, indigestion, heart palpitations, neuritis and irritability.
B2 (Riboflavin) Dermatitis, Cheilosis (cracks in the corners of the mouth), fatigue, swollen tongue, vision loss, itching and tearing of the eyes.
B3 (Niacin) Skin lesions, anxiety, insomnia, depression, aggression, swelling, diarrhea, weakness, “brain fog,” balding
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Fatigue, numbness, grey hair
B6 (Pyridoxine) Depression, fatigue, dermatitis, anemia, glucose intolerance, sleep disturbances, neuritis, elevated homocysteine, nausea
B7 (Biotin) Hair loss, loss of hair color, depression, dermatitis, lesions of the nose and mouth, anorexia, nausea, numbness and tingling, muscle pain, cardiac irregularities
B9 (Folate, Folic Acid) Anemia, fatigue, cervical dysplasia, diarrhea, gingivitis, depression, irritability, insomnia, elevated homocysteine, headache, hair loss, birth defects
B12 (Cobalamin) Anemia fatigue, neuropathy, tongue and mouth irregularities, depression, confusion, memory loss, easy bruising, dermatitis, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
Vitamin C Capillary fragility, depressed immune system, hemorrhage, muscle weakness, easy bruising, bleeding gums, poor wound healing, anemia, poor appetite, swollen joints
Calcium Weakened bones and fractures, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, tooth decay, back and leg pains, insomnia, rickets, osteoporosis
Magnesium Muscle cramps, high blood pressure, weakness, insomnia, G. I. disorders, kidney stones, osteoporosis, nervousness, restlessness, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, fatigue
Potassium Fatigue, irregular heartbeat, irritability, confusion, poor reflexes, edema, constipation, dizziness, muscle weakness, thirst
Iron Anemia, weakness, fatigue, skin pallor, headache, hair loss, labored breathing, spooning of fingernails, brittle nails, suppressed immune system
Zinc Poor wound healing, decreased immunity, loss of taste and smell, balding, skin disorders, sexual dysfunction, menstrual problems, joint pain, nystagmus, depression, photophobia
Selenium Destructive changes to the heart and pancreas, muscle soreness, RBC fragility, weakened immune system, increased rates of various cancers
CoQ10 Congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, mitral valve prolapse, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac myopathy, lack of energy, gingivitis, depressed immune system
Carnitine Elevated in blood lipids, abnormal liver function, muscle weakness, reduce energy, and in pair glucose control
Vitamin A Reduced night vision, dry bumpy skin, loss of appetite, loss of hair luster, brittle nails, joint pain
Vitamin D Tooth decay, spinal curvature, muscle weakness, increased fractures, gradual hearing loss, muscle weakness, autoimmunity, multiple sclerosis
Vitamin K Easy bleeding, bruising, skeletal disorders such as rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia
Vitamin E Dry skin, dull hair, RBC fragility, bruising, PMS, fibrocystic breasts, hot flashes, eczema, psoriasis, cataracts, BPH, poor wound healing, muscle weakness, sterility
Protein Impaired wound healing, swelling in hands and feet or abdomen, decreased muscle mass, lethargy and fatigue
Bifidobacteria bifidum Gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, bad breath, chronic vaginal yeast infections
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, bad breath, chronic vaginal yeast infections
Glutathione Decreased hepatic detoxification, decreased immunity, suppression of macrophage activity, increased free radical damage, hair loss
*Phosphorus Deficiency rarely occurs in humans, important for bones and teeth, phospholipids, cellular energy, enzymes, buffer, protein synthesis
*Inositol Deficiency has not been identified in humans, important for phospholipids, nerve tissue, psychological health
Source: Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, 2nd Edition; Ross Pelton, RPh, Ph.D., CCN. ©2009 The Wellness Prescription

I was absolutely floored! Think about the implications here. What if Doctors used testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies as a routine part of patient care instead of writing a prescription for pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms? What if we were able to identify the causes of patient symptoms before they became chronic health issues and require more invasive and expensive treatments? Think about how much money that would save patients and the nation in total health care costs? Think about people having a better quality of life because they feel good? I am not saying all pharmaceuticals are bad, it is because of the drug industry that my mother is still with us after experiencing acute pancreatitis 27 years ago. It is also the reason she came down with pancreatitis in the first place. All drugs have intended consequences that have helped save lives and “unintended” consequences that have destroyed families. I believe it is your right and your responsibility to direct your own health care. As consumers we need to know what we are taking and why? What are the side effects of these drugs? Do research on this yourself or ask a pharmacist. Do not expect your Doctor to provide you with all of your answers, there are just too many drugs out there for them to know all of the possible side effects. What other options are available? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I had a friend that went to 6 different cancer centers to get the best treatment for her Dad. If you are not comfortable with the risks associated with your medication, get another opinion. Sadly, there is still a huge disconnect between the science/industry driven western medicine side of the world and a more holistic eastern medicine side. Until we integrate the best of both worlds, the United States will continue to lag behind most of Europe, Australia, Japan and even Costa Rica in the World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems. (The US currently stands at 37th in the world) I believe we are starting to see some changes in attitudes most recently with all of the news about the benefits of vitamin D3 but it is going to be a long, slow road to get where we need to be. Do you really want to wait for the AMA? In the meantime, it will be up to us as consumers to demand more integrated health care. Jump in the driver’s seat and take charge of your family’s health!


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