Drug-Induced Nutrient Deficiency, Testing and Natural Solutions in Kelowna, BC
I watch little television these days. It is frustrating to see the ever-growing number of prescription drug television advertisements allowable for public viewing. I’d rather just not watch TV!
Many medications, prescribed and over-the-counter, do not address the root cause of disease and are linked to the depletion of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. The most common medications are those prescribed for acid reflux, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, birth control, pain and diabetes.
If you are taking any of the above medications I highly recommend Nutrient Lab Testing, available through most naturopathic doctors. A blood draw can be performed to ensure adequate nutrient levels and reduce medication side effects.
A book released in 2011, titled “Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients” suggests the medications may be further adding to your state of illness by “stealing nutrients from your system or preventing their absorption.” Not only might this make you feel worse, but it also may cause you to develop another health condition, and yet another drug prescription. The cycle can be endless. The author of this book is leading U.S. pharmacist Suzy Cohen and claims, “If you run low on even one vital nutrient, you can experience a cascade of uncomfortable side effects.”
Most of the time, a healthy diet is just not enough. The solution is not only supplementation, but in many cases Intravenous Nutrient Therapy. IV Nutritional Therapy can bypass complications with digestion or inability to swallow pills, and can restore your nutrient levels at a faster rate than taking oral supplements alone.
Here is a list of some medications and their associated side effects:
I’m going to start with Antacids and Ulcer Medications, because it seems to me every second person that walks into my office has been taking Tecta, Prilosec or Zantac for way beyond the recommended 4-8 week duration, some up to 5 years! If you suffer from chronic heartburn or reflux disease, there are simple, natural ways to stop the acid, support digestion and heal the gastrointestinal tract. Common deficiencies with this class of drugs include: Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and Zinc. You run the long term risk of fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, anemia, heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis, just to name a few.
In the past month the US Food and Drug Administration has issued new labeling guidelines for statin drugs warning users that the medications can cause memory loss, elevated blood sugar levels, and type-2 diabetes, in addition to muscle damage and liver disease.
Statins (such as Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor and others) block the production of CoQ10, an anti-oxidant and energy-driving nutrient important in both skeletal and heart muscle, as well in brain function. Vitamin D is also synthesized from cholesterol and tends to be lowered by using statins.
ACE inhibitors are used to dilate blood vessels but some of them (captopril, enalapril, ramipril, lisinopril) also attach themselves to the mineral zinc in the body. This can affect cell growth in the body, the immune system and the production of testosterone. Side effects and risks from taking ACE inhibitors include: loss of sex drive, prostate problems, hair loss and slow wound healing.
Diuretics (Hydrochlorothiazide or Lasix) are often used for high blood pressure heart failure and oedema (swelling). But these drugs cause you to urinate more thus losing plenty of minerals and nutrients. Important ones include vitamin C which boosts immunity and is essential for wound healing; and Calcium, important for bones and teeth, and healthy fat metabolism. Other risks include depression, leg cramps, weight gain, brittle bones.
SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as paroxetine and fluoxetine (Prozac), are the first line of therapy for depression and thought to work by boosting levels of brain chemicals linked to mood. However, SSRI’s may also lower thyroid hormone production, which regulate metabolism, digestion, mood, immune function and muscle function. SSRI’s also lower Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin B2. Health risks include cardiovascular problems, hypothyroidism, low energy, weight gain and lowered immunity.
Hormone Therapy / Birth Control
Studies have shown that women taking the contraceptive pill or other hormone replacement therapy (HRT) lack the full spectrum of B vitamins along with folic acid, magnesium, selenium and Zinc. The risk of these nutrient deficiencies is vast and includes: Insomnia, memory loss, irritability, heart disease, weak immunity and increased risk of cancer. All women should be on a supplement program concurrently while taking any form of hormone therapy.
Common painkillers referred to as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), include Advil, Aleve, Aspirin, Motrin, ibuprofen and Naprosyn. They raise the risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding by attacking prostaglandins that protects the stomach lining. This also leads to iron-deficiency according to research by the University of Zagreb in Croatia, in that some NSAIDs (particularly ketoprofen, available as Orudis) latch on to and bind iron, rendering it useless. Iron is essential in the making of haemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen over the body.
These painkillers also folic acid activity – an important compound linked to heart protection via the reduction of an inflammatory marker called homocysteine. Other side effects and risks from taking NSAIDs include stomach ulcers, heart disease, depression, diarrhea, and mouth sores.
Elevated blood sugar is never a good thing. But some studies report medications such as metformin, metformin with sitagliptin, or glipizide – also reduce levels of haemoglobin, which can lead to low levels of vitamin B12. The drugs also appear to reduce levels of CoQ10. Nutrient deficiencies of CoQ10 and Vitamin B12 can cause anaemia, muscle cramps, fatigue, memory loss, and irregular heartbeat.
For a more comprehensive list of medications, nutrient deficiencies and side effects, click here.
What can you do about the medications you’re taking?
For starters, book a Naturopathic Consultation and Nutrient Panel Test today to examine 33 important nutrients in your body to determine what vitamins and supplements you should be taking. A Naturopathic Doctor can examine your medication list and make medical recommendations best suited to your health.
Do you enjoy the warmth of a spring or summer day? Now that winter is here in Kelowna, BC – Sauna therapy is one way to harness that warmth and use it therapeutically! Our Sauna is an infrared (IR) radiant Sauna that warms the body the way sunlight would. The Sauna heats the body directly, rather than the air around it.
Europeans have been using sauna therapy for hundreds of years. Most notably, Scandinavians use Sauna therapy as a routine health practice, so much so, that there is one sauna for every five citizens in Finland. Sauna therapy is a wonderful way to reduce anxiety and stress, while promoting relaxation, contentment and peace of mind. However, saunas are much more than just leisure products. In the latest 2011 Alternative Medicine Review1, studies that document the effectiveness and physiologic benefits of Sauna therapy have been summarized below:
Physiologic Benefits of Sauna:
Increases heart rate and cardiac output
Increases peripheral circulation and diaphoresis (sweating)
Reduces blood pressure, systolic and diastolic
Increases metabolism & increases weight loss
Improves Oxygen consumption
Balances stress hormones in a positive way
Increases levels of growth hormone
Increases endorphins creating pleasure and analgesic effects
Muscle relaxation, increased elasticity of tendons and joint capsule
Reduced viscosity of synovial joint fluid benefiting arthritis
Aids in detoxification and toxin release from stored tissues
In matters of the heart, a Finnish study evaluated 102 men who had experienced an MI (or heart attack). 80 Men began regular Sauna use 2-24 weeks after their event. As a result of the heart attack, 60% of these men suffer from angina or chest pain during normal daily activities. Only 2%, however, report chest pains while in the Sauna, which is a remarkable improvement considering the increased cardiac output created by Sauna therapy.2
Several German studies have evaluated benefits of Sauna therapy on persons with high blood pressure. On average, biweekly saunas for 3 months demonstrated a decrease in blood pressure from an average of 166/101 mmHg to 143/92 mmHg.3 This decrease is comparable to the effect of many blood pressure medications.
In another study, participants who had daily IR sauna therapy had lower urinary levels of 8-epi-PGF2-alpha, suggesting lower oxidative stress.4 One possible mechanism for reduced blood pressure may be increased production of nitric oxide as a direct result of IR sauna therapy.5
Past studies reported in the Journal of American Medical Association show that 30-45 minutes of continuous sweating in a Sauna will burn 300-600 calories, similar to rowing or running for the same duration of time. More recently, an unpublished study investigated IR Sauna in obesity and hypertension. One group did 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and 30 minutes of IR Sauna or 15 minutes of exercise only – three times a week. After a two-month trial, the Sauna group lost almost double the weight and lost 4.6 times as much body fat as the exercise group alone. The Sauna group also dropped an average of 21.5 mmHg in systolic blood pressure and another 10 mmHg drop in diastolic blood pressure. As part of the naturopathic weight loss programs offered at The Core Centre of Health, we encourage regular Sauna use, in addition to diet, exercise and nutrient support for best results.
Asthma, Bronchitis & COPD:
Research indicates Sauna therapy can help respiration in patients with asthma and bronchitis.7 A Netherlands study of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), showed improved lung function in forced expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) with little to no breathing difficulty while using the Sauna.8 Studies from the 1980s led by Dr. Jozef Krop, showed Sauna therapy to benefit chronic asthma in industrial chemical exposures. After 2 months of regular Sauna use, these individuals reported going from using an asthma inhaler 3 times per week, down to just 3 times per year.
Chronic Pain & Arthritis:
The heating elements in an Infrared Sauna deeply penetrate major joints and aid in soft tissue repair. The energy from the heat helps to break up Lactic Acid that builds up and causes muscle cramping. Soft tissue and connective tissue in Arthritic individuals, becomes more supple and pliable, less brittle and tight, following regular Sauna use.
A 2009 study published in Clinical Rheumatology looked at pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). 30-Minute Sauna sessions at 131ºF twice weekly for 4 weeks provided a statistically significant reduction in pain, stiffness and fatigue in all participants.10
Several published studies have found significant levels of mercury11, cadmium, nickel12 and antimony in sweat following Sauna therapy.13 Because infrared light penetrates the skin up to 2 1/2 centimeters, it stimulates detoxification in deeper tissues that cannot be achieved with regular steam saunas. The body loses 4 to 5 times more lymphatic toxins and heavy metal residues than with a regular Sauna application. As a result, it’s an effective adjunctive therapy for heavy metal toxicity, multiple chemical sensitivities and other toxicity-induced illnesses.
It’s important to note, that detoxification programs are best supported by proper testing, naturopathic supervision and the appropriate supportive nutrients to maximize the excretion of these harmful toxins.
Before conception, it is always recommended for both partners to do a full 10 session series of Sauna detoxification. This will reduce the levels of heavy metals, solvents, pesticides and other xenoestrogens that can interfere with sperm quality, conception, neurological development of the fetus and purity of breast milk. We recommend 3 months before you conceive as toxins continue to be released for several months after completion of Sauna use.
In addition to heart health, pain reduction and detoxification, Sauna therapy relaxes muscles and inhibits sympathetic nervous activity. Regular Sauna users can attest that a “good sweat” provides and opportunity to indulge in positive thoughts and escape from everyday troubles.
If you have a health condition or are taking medications, please schedule an initial consult with Dr. Emina Jasarevic, ND, if you do not already have a naturopathic physician in Kelowna, BC. If you are in reasonable health, the benefits of Sauna far outweigh any hazards. Include Sauna therapy as part of your lifestyle and you’ll experience a level of health renewal that is hard to surpass.
Written by Dr. Emina Jasarevic, Naturopathic Physician @ The Core Centre of Health
References: Available upon request.
Exercise is an effective and natural means of reducing stress. It has many positive physiological effects, which include but are not limited to decreasing blood pressure, increasing bone density, decreasing muscle tension, improving cardio vascular efficiency, it slows the aging process and improves sleep and immune function.
Interestingly, exercise itself is a form of stress but when incorporated appropriately it functions to condition the body to deal with stress and further reduce stress by way of the parasympathetic rebound effect. Sound complicated? Not really. That means that before exercising, there is a level of stress in the body, exercise increases the level of stress temporarily and once exercise has been ceased stress levels drop below baseline or original stress levels. This effect is only temporary and almost immediately begins to climb back to the original stress level so it is important to incorporate physical exercise several times a week to maintain the rebound effect.
While some exercise is better than no exercise it is important to keep in mind that exercise as a form of stress management is most effective when integrating a few simple principals. These comprise of; frequency of exercise, the intensity of exercise, the amount of time spent exercising and the type of exercising. Remarkably, these same principals hold true for improving one’s overall fitness. Bonus!
Some indirect benefits that reduce stress resulting from exercise are improved self-esteem, feeling good about your body and its ability, and improve mental alertness. Another Bonus!
If you are new to exercise consult a physician and start slowly. Pick an activity that you enjoy. This will make it easier to maintain. Schedule your workouts. It is important to put yourself on your to do list! Exercise with friends. This will make exercise social and enjoyable and perhaps make you more accountable! Never go to the gym or start exercising without a plan! Feeling like a workout is time consuming and inefficient is stressful. Set goals, but please be realistic. If you are interested in fat loss losing 1-2lbs a week is a healthy goal. Finally, if in doubt – Hire a trainer. The benefits of hiring a trainer include:
• A trainer will conduct a fitness assessment
• Identify muscle imbalances and help correct them
• Create a plan and strategy to make it to your goals
• Make your workout time efficient
• Learning opportunity
• Keeps it fresh so you don’t get board
If you would like more information, please feel to stop in and see me for a free fitness consult. I look forward to seeing you
Buffy Mills, BA (psych), CPT
We would like to welcome our newest addition to The Core Centre of Health, Buffy Mills CPT
With our licensed Personal Trainer, you will experience the benefit of working one on one using the latest in biofeedback technology. Along with an extensive physical assessment, you’ll have a personalized fitness plan developed just for you based on your specific needs giving you tangible results! She will be there every step of the way.
What an amazing time this is for all of us at The Core. Over the past few months we have tackled a renovation to the existing space to expand into more and more space (of course continuing with the comfort of our patients and friends in mind). The Core has also undergone a mild name modification, we feel since we are SO MUCH MORE than just a chiropractic clinic, we would adopt a new ending to the Core roots. We are now called, “The Core Centre of Health”… we like it too.
Our Team has also grown, hense the name change, we currently have two Chiropractors, a Naturopathic Physician, three Registered Massage Therapists, an Acupuncturist, and a Clinical Psychologist. We are all very proud of the Team we have become, the dedication we ALL show to our patients and their overall health. I genuinely welcome you to The Core, you are completely welcome inside these walls so lets begin this journey of optimal health.
Dr. Troy Tater