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Prescription RX Part 2

This is part two in my series on nutrient deficiencies that can result from long term use of medications.  This month I am going to address anti-depressants, antibiotics, cholesterol lowering drugs, and diabetic drugs.  I would like to stress that I am NOT advocating that you stop taking any medication that your doctor has prescribed, only letting you know that you may require additional amounts of these nutrients to stay healthy while on that medication.

Anti-depressants:

Anti-depressants include Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, and many more.  With long-term use of anti-depressants, you are going to deplete two things:  Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).  You can get some CoQ10 from your diet, but most patients require a supplement.  Natural sources are: red meat, oily fish, and some nuts.  When choosing a CoQ10 supplement, make sure the manufacturer is reputable (preferably pharmaceutical grade).  Your doctor can help you understand what dose of CoQ10 is right for you.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is found in foods such as beef liver, lamb, mushrooms, spinach and almonds.  You can also find B2 as a supplement alone or in a B-Complex.

Antibiotics:

Antibiotics include medications such as Gentamycin, Neomycin, Streptomycin, Cephalosporins, Penicillins, and Tetracyclines.  Most antibiotics are used only for a short amount of time.  However, some patients are put on long-term antibiotic therapies.  This long-term use can lead to depletion of:

  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc

You can increase intake of these vitamins and minerals through a healthy diet, but some patients will need to incorporate a high-quality multivitamin daily.  No matter what choice you make for vitamin repletion, every patient will require a high-dose probiotic to recolonize the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.  Talk to your doctor about what probiotic is right for you.

Cholesterol Drugs:

Drugs in this category are collectively called “statins” and include names like: Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, and others.  They too deplete Coenzyme Q10.  Low energy is a common complaint from patients on statins and this can be partially due to depleted CoQ10.  Seek a high-quality CoQ10 supplement to fight this fatigue.

Diabetic Drugs:

Metformin and Sulfonylurea drugs are used to manage Type 2 Diabetes.  Metformin being the oldest and most common drug in this category, depletes: Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid.  All three of these directly affect energy levels, cardiovascular health, and the immune system.  Since most patients continue with long-term Metformin therapy, I recommend repletion with high-quality supplements for these nutrients.  When purchasing your supplements, be sure that your Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid are in the active/bioavailable form.  Look for “methylcobalamin” for B12 and “5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid” for Folic Acid.

Want to know if you are nutrient depleted?  We offer Spectracell Micronutrient Testing.  This test looks at your nutritional status from a cellular level checking vitamins and minerals such as: B Vitamins, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Selenium, Coenzyme Q10, Copper, and many more.  Test results come with repletion suggestions for foods or supplements and the appropriate dosing.  Come by our office today and ask for Spectracell.


10/Oct/2017

ProbioticPic

The health of your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) affects your entire body.  One of the main supplements that I recommend to my patients is a good quality high-dose probiotic. Why you ask? Let me tell you...

Your gastrointestinal tract is a complex ecosystem containing thousands of species of bacteria. These bacteria can be found in your stomach and small intestines, but the majority are found in your colon.  Collectively these areas make up your “microbiome.” These intestinal flora aid in digestion, synthesize vitamins and nutrients, metabolize some medications, support the development and functioning of the gut, and enhance the immune system.

There are times when this balance of beneficial bacteria gets out of balance such as with the extended or recurrent use of antibiotics, poor dietary habits, or recent infection.  This is where the use of a probiotic becomes advantageous.  A good multi-strain probiotic can help to recolonize the GI tract to the proper balance of beneficial bacteria.  But how do you recognize a high-quality probiotic?

Here's how:

  1. It is multi-strain.  This means that it has more than one type of bacteria in each capsule. The one I recommend the most contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium longum, & Bifidobacterium lactis.
  2. It is packaged so that oxygen cannot reach the capsules or is consistently refrigerated (even during transport) so that the organisms cannot get overheated and die.
  3. It is high dose.  For maximum results the GI tract needs maximum exposure.  For those patients that have GI issues or tend to have weakened immune systems, I recommend 100 Billion CFU (the measurement for bacteria is Colony Forming Units) daily.  Other patients that simply need to maintain GI health can take the 100 Billion CFU capsule every other day or just several times per week.

Some foods also promote healthy and abundant GI flora.  For example, sauerkraut and kimchi are fermented foods that contain probiotics.  Other foods provide the precursors to probiotics called “prebiotics”.  Those are foods like: asparagus, onions, garlic, cabbage, and artichokes.  These foods are mainly carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the body, but are food for the probiotic (or good) bacteria.  Following these guidelines will get you to a better place with your bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation), vaginal health, skin health, and even a healthier immune system.  Here’s to a healthy microbiome!


At Focus Total Health, our goal is to help you live as well as you can while feeling good. The aging process can take a toll, but its effect can be minimized with the use of appropriate hormone therapy and excellent nutrition.

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