All medications,  prescription as well as over-the-counter meds and medicinal herbal preparations, include advantages as well as disadvantages.  

While medications have made huge positive differences in the lives of many people and are totally unavoidable for some ailments, their downside must be acknowledged and addressed.  

The ultimate goal for any supplement is that less really is more —  to need fewer meds and smaller doses, both of over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and prescriptions.  

As a healthcare professional, I have seen how taking a mix of medications, known as “poly pharma” in many instances, actually makes people feel worse.  

According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 60 percent of Americans take one prescription medication.  20 percent take three or more.  

The side effects and/or nutrient depletions from one drug can prompt the use of another drug.

While fixing one problem, a drug is likely depleting you of life-sustaining nutrients in order to do its job.

If you run short on even one vital nutrient, a cascade of uncomfortable side effects can occur.  Before long, these can be diagnosed as a new disorder or disease and require even another prescription.  

Knowing what foods to eat that will supply the missing nutrients, or in some cases, what nutrients to replenish, may save you a “world of hurt.”  That’s my motivation for this blog series!

Highlights from this week’s posts:

Tuesday:  Medications for Type 2 Diabetes, such as Metformin, lower blood sugar and improve the body’s use of insulin.  Insulin us the key that gets glucose into the cell to be used for energy and helps maintain a steadier blood sugar level which is good for every part of the body, including the brain.  It is essential to know that Metformin can deplete Vitamin B12, as well as cause a decrease in Folate.  Among other things, Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nerves; Folate helps the body produce new cells and protects DNA.  Folate deficiency can also lead to depression.  Check out Tuesday’s complete information for START SOMEWHERE strategies.  

Wednesday:  Cholesterol-lowering medications are prescribed to lower the risk of heart attack.  Known as statins, they work by suppressing a liver enzyme called HMG-CoA.  While they are effective at lowering cholesterol, one of their side effects is they can also block CoQ10 production because CoQ10 requires the action of this enzyme.  CoQ10 is an essential nutrient for energy production for every cell of the body.  When it is insufficient, leg cramps, memory decline, depression, fatigue, high blood sugar, and heart problems can result.  Research has confirmed an increased risk of heart failure among statin users.  Read more here!

Thursday:  Prescriptions for high blood pressure address the symptoms but not the cause.  Beta Blockers are generally safe and effective for most people but it is essential to address their side effects in order to maintain energy and vitality.  Like statins, some can deplete CoQ10, as well as Melatonin, the hormone that promotes restorative sleep.  Diuretics reduce blood pressure by increasing fluid movement out of the body via the kidneys and can deplete Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Zinc, as well as Vitamins C, B1, and B6.  Find more detail in the complete post.

Stay informed about your specific medications and talk to your health care practitioner about additional strategies to deal with the possible nutrient depletions and side effects.  

This weeks’ blog posts have suggestions for foods that can help you “eat your way into” replenishing your body with the vitamins and minerals that you need to feel great.  

The key is to begin today and avoid the “poly pharma” merry-go-round!  START SOMEWHERE with small changes and lifestyle strategies to need less medication!  You can do it.  I will help you!  

 

From one of my favorite sources, The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, this recipe is delicious, colorful, simple, and fast.  Enhanced with the flavors of Italy, it delivers crisp, evenly browned asparagus spears.  

Be sure to use thick asparagus spears rather than pencil-thin ones to avoid overcooking.  This is from America’s Test Kitchen, so it has been well-tested.  Hope you like it!

Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives:  

Here’s what you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata Olives, chopped coarse
  • 2 pounds thick Asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Basil, shredded
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Here’s the drill:

  1. Cook 1 tablespoon Olive Oil with Garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until Garlic turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add Tomatoes and Olives and cook until Tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.
  2. In the now-empty skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil over medium heat until simmering.  Add half of the Asparagus with tips all pointed in one direction and the other half pointing in the opposite direction.  Shake the skillet gently to help distribute them as evenly as possible.  Add 1 teaspoon of Water, cover, and cook until Asparagus is bright green and still crisp, about 5 minutes.  
  3. Uncover, increase heat to high, and cook, moving spears around with tongs, until Asparagus is well browned on one side and tip of paring knife inserted at base of largest spear meets little resistance, which takes 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.  Transfer to serving platter and top with Tomato mixture, sprinkle with Basil and Parmesan Cheese, and enjoy!

It’s true!  This is our earthly tent!  “If you don’t take care of your body, where else are you going to live?”  (Jim Rohn)

Benefits and Risks of Common Medicines