There is much value in modern medicine to save lives.  We all appreciate that!  

When you are prescribed a medication or you purchase an over-the-counter product, you take them with the sincere hope of a better life.  

Nevertheless, often people still feel bad, if not worse, and wonder why.  

In the process of helping for the intended effect on your body, many drugs can slowly deplete the body of essential nutrients needed to heal, produce energy, and fend off infections.  More and more people have been asking me about the nutrient depletions of their medications so I’ll be blogging on that for the next few weeks.    

Since graduating from dental school in 1985, I have witnessed an increasing rate in the use of medications, many of them necessary and helpful.

In fact, over half of adult Americans take one prescription medication and about 20 percent take three or more.  The side effects and/or nutrient depletions from one drug can prompt the use of another drug.  

While the United States is number one among the countries of the world in consumption of pharmaceutical medications, we are number 31 in life expectancy and 36th in HALE – the number of healthy years.  If you have to take medicine, it is important to stay safe while on it.  I hope this will help you!

Medications for Type 2 Diabetes:

While there is an arsenal of medications available, they each generally seek to lower the amount of sugar in your blood and improve the way your body utilizes insulin.
Insulin is the key that unlocks the cell, a muscle cell for example, so that the glucose/sugar can get in and be used for energy.  When blood sugar remains high, problems develop slowly and the cell has to be sensitive to insulin for it to do its job.  Metformin is an example of  an oral medication that enhances insulin and helps glucose get into the cell.

While this is a positive result of the medication, levels Vitamin B12 and Folate are typically decreased with Metformin use.  These are both crucial to vitality.  

The Archives of Internal Medicine published a study showing that type 2 diabetics on Metformin had serum B12 levels that were about half of the normal value.  The drop is greater the longer the drug is taken and the higher the dose.  Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy nerves and blood cells, as well as to prevent a type of anemia that causes fatigue.  

Long term use of Metformin can also cause a drop in Folic Acid, an essential B vitamin, levels.  Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, is essential to help the body produce and maintain new cells and it also helps prevent damage to DNA that can lead to cancer.  Multiple studies have linked Folate deficiency to depression and it is essential in red blood cell creation.  A rise in the level of homocysteine via a blood test is often a sign of these deficiencies.

So what can you do?  

Here are some places to START SOMEWHERE:

  • Try to eat more delicious foods that contain Folate:  Foods rich in this vitality-giving nutrient include dark, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, beans, peas, lentils, citrus fruits, avocado, brussel sprouts, okra, beets, seeds, nuts, cauliflower, corn, celery, carrots, and squash.  While the terms “folic acid” and “folate” are used interchangeably, their metabolic effects can be quite different.  Folate is actually the active, natural, bioactive form found in a variety of plant and animal foods and the body can better utilize it and discard the excess via urine.  Folic acid is the synthetic, oxidized form of the vitamin used in some supplements and food fortification.
  • Enjoy more Vitamin B12-rich foods.  The best sources of Vitamin B12 include eggs, milk and milk products, meat, fish, cheese, and poultry.  Some soy and rice beverages are fortified with B12.   
  • Begin to decrease the amount of starchy foods, including sugar that you consume.  I know that it is easier said than done, but maintaining a healthy blood sugar is essential to good vision, resistance to infection, and a well-functioning brain, just to name a few benefits.  Foods like sweet potatoes, lentils, and oatmeal will help keep blood sugar stable because they have a lower glycemic index.    
  • Get your Vitamin D checked.  Really a hormone in the body, Vitamin D positively enhances the immune system and lowers the risk for all types of cancer and autoimmune diseases.  Because it improves insulin sensitivity, it can lower blood sugar naturally but this could pose a problem when combined with medication.  It is important to know your level.  
  • Know the effect of your herbs and supplements.  Many herbs and nutritional supplements effectively lower blood sugar but should not be combined with blood sugar control medications or insulin.  Examples of these include, but are not limited to, alfalfa, aloe vera, holy basil, curcumin/turmeric, bitter melon extract, alpha-lipoic acid, fenugreek, myrrh, marshmallow, stinging nettle, and Gymnema sylvestre.

Blood sugar lowering medications certainly have their place but positive lifestyle strategies are always the best START SOMEWHERE.  

If you are taking these drugs, know what they are doing for you as well as to you.

Increase your vitality and live without regrets.  You can do it.  I will help you.     

 

 

 

Also labeled as “partially hydrogenated oils,” trans fats are liquid oils that have been changed chemically to make them more solid.  They are easy to use, inexpensive to produce, and take a very long time to spoil.  Trans fats give food an appealing taste and texture.  Commercially, these oils can be used over and over in deep fryers so they are less expensive for restaurants and fast food outlets.  

Researchers didn’t know much about how trans fats could impact health before 1990. As science began identifying adverse health effects, the Food and Drug Administration initiated labeling regulations to inform those who wanted to know what they were eating.  Trans fats are typically found in many commonly prepared foods, such as doughnuts, pie crusts, crackers, frozen pizza, margarine, coffee creamer, and ice cream.  Trans fats increase the shelf life of processed foods but they do nothing to increase our shelf life!  Here is what you need to know:

  • Trans fats can raise your levels of LDL – the bad cholesterol
  • They can lower your levels of HDL – the good cholesterol
  • The can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Trans fats are associated with a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

START SOMEWHERE today to do some detective work.  By law, a product can contain .5 gm of trans fat per serving and still be labeled zero.  Look at the Nutrition Facts Panel when you are buying prepackaged food.  Even better, avoid foods with Nutrition Facts Panels!  Here are some strategies to LIVE YOUNGER:

  1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  The nutrient-depleted junk food is typically in the middle of the store at eye level.
  2. Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.  For example, eat fresh blueberries rather than commercial blueberry pie filling.
  3. Look for food that spoils.  If it doesn’t rot or sprout, avoid it.  
  4. Remember, we were designed for real food.  Keep it real as often as possible.  

My motto is “Everything is difficult before it becomes easy.”  Start with a few changes in the direction of health. Eat food that sprouts or rots.  You can do it.  I will help you.

Resources:

http://www.cspinet.org/transfat/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/trans-fat/art-20046114

http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm079609.htm

Quillin PhD, RD, CNS, Patrick. Beating Cancer with Nutrition. 2005.  Carlsbad:  Nutrition Times Press,Inc.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp

Blood sugar control meds