When Drugs Deplete Nutrients

BRIDGETT

Bridgett is a Pharmacy Technician and Certified Fitter at Pharm A Save in Monroe, WA. Bridgett started working at Pharm A Save in 1998, and became an owner in 2008.Bridgett’s focus is on patient outreach, adherence aids,  marketing,compression stockings, bracing items and pharmacy management.

 

Medications can be life saving. But take heed: They can also rob your body of nutrients you need.

Nutrient loss can happen in many ways. For example, a medication may:

  • Depress your appetite, which means you may not eat enough to stay nourished.
  • Increase your desire for less healthy foods, such as lots of sugar, bread, or pasta.
  • Reduce absorption of certain nutrients in the “gut,” especially in seniors.
  • Block a nutrient’s effects at the level of the cell.
  • Increase loss of nutrients through your urinary system.1

Symptoms of nutrient loss may come on gradually and look a lot like symptoms of aging, disease, or changes in mood—so it’s easy to get caught off guard. For example, pain, numbness, or tingling in legs may be a vitamin B12 deficiency. Or a magnesium deficiency may cause muscle pain and stiffness. Over time, this deficiency may even contribute to bone disease (osteoporosis).2

Which drugs are the most common culprits? Here’s a brief summary for you.

Acid blockers. If you have heartburn, reflux, or peptic ulcers, your doctor may prescribe an antacid, H2 blocker, or proton-pump inhibitor (PPI). Studies show these drugs may cause many nutrient deficiencies. They can interfere with the breakdown of food or absorption of nutrients. You may lack B12, calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, chromium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

Antibiotics. These drugs are big robbers of a wide range of nutrients. They also kill “good” bacteria in your digestive system. For these reasons, it may be a good idea to take a B vitamin complex or a multivitamin that contains B vitamins—as well as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. You might also consider probiotics and vitamin K—normally made by those “friendly” bacteria.

Anti-convulsants. Seizure medication can cause low levels of vitamin D.

Anti-hypertensives. Diuretics are great at helping to prevent heart attacks in high-risk people. But they may deplete magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, pyridoxine, thiamine, and ascorbic acid.

Beta blockers also are great at lowering blood pressure. However, they can deplete CoQ10. This can be very dangerous. The heart needs a rich supply of this nutrient for the energy “factories” of its cells.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs. When it comes to high cholesterol, statins are practically a household name. That’s because doctors widely prescribe them. But statins also deplete CoQ10—which is serious.

Hypoglycemics (oral). Drugs like metformin help make insulin work better in people with diabetes. But they can reduce levels of B12 by half. They also can deplete folic acid and CoQ10.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Used for menopausal symptoms, HRT may deplete vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and magnesium—critical for not only heart health but also mood. Still moody on HRT? A supplement might make more sense than an antidepressant.

Nearly 50 percent of Americans regularly takes a prescription drug. And medication-related loss of nutrients is more common than many realize. Just to be safe, let’s look over your list of medications and make sure you’re not coming up short.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition

 

Sources:

  1. Nutrition Review: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion. Available at: http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/practical-guide-avoiding-drug-induced-nutrient-depletion/ Accessed June 4, 2015.
  2. American Chiropractic Association: Pay Attention to Medications, Nutrition When Treating Elderly. Available at: https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=1357 Accessed June 5, 2015.
  3. org: Recognizing Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion in Chiropractic Practice. Available at http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Recognizing_Drug_Induced_Nutrient_Depletion.shtml Accessed June 5, 2015. Av

High blood pressure is a “silent killer”

Healthy Heart Habits: Life’s Simple 7

As you started into the new year, did you resolve to have healthier habits? Many people do. But a long-term study found that Americans are not doing as well as they were 20 years ago in maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle.1 And that increases their chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.2

Life’s Simple 7. In the study, the percentage of Americans who met all these heart-healthy lifestyle goals—what the American Heart Association calls Life’s Simple 7—dropped from 8.5 percent to 5.8 percent:

  • Eat a balanced diet.healthy heart month blood pressure ad
  • Be active.
  • Manage your weight.
  • Don’t use tobacco.
  • Maintain ideal levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Best for women. In the past, it was thought that hormones protected women from heart disease until menopause. Now we know that’s not the case. But two recent studies show that there may be subtle differences in what’s best for women and men.

In one study, women who followed these six habits cut their risk of heart attack by a whopping 92 percent.3                             

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Maintain a normal body mass index (BMI).
  • Exercise—moderately to vigorously—at least 2.5 hours a week.
  • Watch no more than seven hours of TV each week.
  • Drink no more than one alcoholic beverage each day.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish or omega-3 fatty acids. Limit sugary drinks, processed and red meats, trans fats, and sodium.

Even women who adopted just one or two of these healthy habits lowered their heart risk, with a normal BMI having the greatest impact.

Best for men. A Swedish study tracked 20,000 men and found that men with the following habits cut their risk of heart attack by 86 percent:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink no more than two alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Stay physically active, for example, walking or cycling at least 40 minutes a day.
  • Maintain a waist circumference of less than 37 inches.3

For men, healthy diet and moderate drinking appeared to have the most impact on reducing their heart risks.

Know your numbers. So where should you begin? One place to start is to know your numbers. That includes blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure—as well as your weight. The next step is to talk with your doctor about ways to improve.

I can also give you tips on tracking—and improving—these critical numbers. For example, if you want to track your blood pressure at home, I’ll advise you on how best to do that. Remember: High blood pressure is a “silent killer,” so the only way to know whether or not it’s lurking is to check it.

  • In fact, nearly 30 percent of Americans have high blood pressure. And, nearly half don’t have it under control with either lifestyle habits or medication.2 If your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medication, be sure to take it. For some people, that’s the only way to keep it at bay. And, don’t forget to check your blood pressure, especially when you are not feeling well. Having a blood pressure unit at home is inexpensive and needed, especially when taking blood pressure medications.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 Sources:

  1. HealthDay: Fewer Americans Than Ever Sticking to Heart-Healthy Lifestyle, Study Finds. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155611.html Accessed 12-11-15.
  2. HealthDay: Nearly Half of Americans with High Blood Pressure Not Controlling It: CDC: Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155688.html Accessed 12-11-15.
  3. WebMD: Top Healthy Habits for Your Heart. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20150107/healthy-heart-habits Accessed 12-11-15.

 

 

Managing Diabetes Medications

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It’s not the kind of club you really want to belong to. Today, nearly half of all American adults have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting it.1

If you count yourself among them, you know that managing your diabetes medications is something you can’t afford to ignore. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications. They include cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage; and hearing problems.2

Recent research. A study of 350,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that people with poorly managed diabetes were also 50 percent more likely to have dementia.3 Other recent studies have found that diabetes appears to take a particular toll on women’s hearts. Looking at nearly 11 million people, one study found the risk was almost 40 percent higher in women than in men.4

Whether woman or man, however, staying on top of medication management clearly needs to be top of mind.

Types of medications. As you likely know, managing blood sugar (glucose) is at the heart of diabetes control. If you can’t get the job done with diet and exercise alone, medications are essential. The drugs you take will depend upon the type of diabetes you have, along with other factors.5

Insulin moves glucose from your blood into your cells. This helps keep glucose in the right range. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, you will need to take it by injection, pen, pump, jet injector, or infuser.5

There are also many types of diabetes pills, which work in different ways. For example, they may:

  • Decrease the glucose released from your liver
  • Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin
  • Make your body more sensitive to the effects of insulin
  • Slow absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after eating6

Some people take more than one pill, a combination pill, or a combination of pills and insulin. There are also new types of injected medicines available to keep blood sugar from going too high after eating.5

Medication review.  Be sure to follow your treatment plan, but let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. If you’re a senior, this is more important than ever. Your body responds differently to drugs as you age. This means you’re at greater risk of overtreatment, which can cause blood sugar levels to go too low. And this can cause problems such as confusion or falls. 7

You may need to cut back or change medications. Just because a drug worked well for you in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. If you have questions about this, I can go over your list of medications and see how they are working for you. Also, be sure to check in at least once a year with your doctor about your diabetes medications. Never stop or change your medications without first talking it over with your doctor.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources:

  1. HealthDay: Half of U.S. Adults Have Diabetes or High Risk of Getting It: Report. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154517.html Accessed 11-3-15.
  2.  Mayo Clinic: “Complications.” Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/basics/complications/con-20033091. Accessed 11-5-15.
  3.  HealthDay: Tight Control of Type 2 Diabetes May Help Prevent Dementia. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154639.html Accessed 11-3-15.
  4.  HealthDay: Diabetes Takes a Toll on Women’s Hearts. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154609.html Accessed 11-3-15.
  5.  NIDDK: “What I need to know about Diabetes Medicines.” Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/diabetes-medicines/Pages/index.aspx#what Accessed 11-5-15.
  6. Joslin Diabetes Center: “Oral Diabetes Medications Summary Chart.” Available at: http://www.joslin.org/info/oral_diabetes_medications_summary_chart.html Accessed 11-5-15.
  7. HealthDay: Too Many Seniors With Diabetes Are Overtreated, Study Suggests. Available at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155428.html   Accessed 11-3-15.