Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Creating Health and Wellness

This blog has now been replaced with Creative Health Secrets.  Please visit there for more information on creating health and wellness.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Medication Alternatives to Over-The-Counter Drugs

Using medication alternatives instead of over-the-counter drugs will reduce your risk of poor health.  Over-the counter (OTC) medications can be as harmful to your health as prescribed medications.   The interactions  between drugs, drugs and foods, or drugs and conditions that happen with prescribed medications, can also occur with OTC drugs.

Although some OTC medications are necessary to prevent serious events, e.g., a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke in high-risk people, most are used  to relieve minor health conditions such as allergies, headache, or heartburn.  While these may be uncomfortable or even distressing, they are generally not life-threatening. However, like any other drug, OTC drugs can cause illness and even death, so should be avoided for minor problems whenever possible.

This post will give you information on alternatives to OTC medication.  Future posts will show how to work with your symptoms to recognise the message they are sending you.

The first step in finding a medication alternative is to discover the triggers to your problem. Say you have headaches.  Start to document when they occur and if there is a pattern to the days,  time of day, relationship to meals, certain foods, or stress,  tiredness  from lack of sleep or overexertion, eyestrain, or any other factors.  Patterns of occurrence can help you avoid the headaches and will point to the alternative treatments, you can put in place. For example you may take steps to get more sleep, relieve and manage stress, avoid certain foods, eat more frequently or have your glasses changed.

Treatments such as biofeedback, acupuncture, homeopathy, visualization, traditional Chinese medicine, or energy medicine may also prevent headaches, including migraines, and many other conditions.

When headaches occur, instead of taking a drug you could try lying down in a darkened room with an ice pack on your forehead, sleeping, or eating if the headache is related to hunger.  Heat and cold are also useful for relieving other forms of pain such as back pain.

Heartburn is another common symptom with twenty-five percent of those in western countries experiencimng it once a month, twelve percent every week and five percent every day.  Non-medication remedies for heartburn include eating ginger, but the best thing is to take steps to avoid heartburn.  Maintain a healthy weight, don't eat within two hours of lying down, avoid tobacco and alcohol and foods that can cause heartburn such as coffee, chocolate, fatty or fried foods.

Sinusitis and Nausea
Other common conditions such as sinusitis and nausea can also be prevented or treated with natural remedies.  Using a neti pot or bulb syringe to wash out the nasal passages with saline is an effective way of preventing and treating sinusitis, hay fever and other upper respiratory problems.

Nausea may be treated by avoiding spicy foods, caffeine, or pop, restricting intake to clear fluids like ginger tea, or to small amounts of bland food (for nausea without vomiting).  Taking deep slow breaths can also reduce feelings of nausea.

These are just a few of the conditions that may be treated with alternatives to drugs.  Prevention by identifying triggers to conditions that occur regularly, and taking steps to avoid them, or learning how to deal differently with those you cannot avoid, is important.  But plan for those times when prevention does not work, so that you have the natural alternatives to medication on hand and will not have to turn to OTC drugs for relief.

Images by:  steve harris (headache) and daryltanghe (neti pot)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Prescription Drug Dangers: Nutrient Destruction

The dangers posed when prescriptions dru8gs interact with one another, with over-the-counter medication, with a medical condition or with food were discussed in the previous posts, but a less recognized danger is that many prescription drugs destroy essential nutrients in the body. The effects of nutrient depletion may not be recognized, if at all, for several months or years and may mimic the condition that the drug is prescribed for.

For example, the naturally occurring Coenzyme Q10, (CoQ10) which is responsible for making energy in body cells , is created by the same enzyme that creates cholesterol in the body. So Statins, drugs that lower cholesterol, also lower CoQ10. This substance also prevents the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from being oxidized, and so has a protective effect because oxidized LDL cholesterol tends to clog the arteries and damage them. It is possible that lack of CoQ10 may increase the possibility of a heart attack, the outcome that the Statins are supposed to prevent.

Statins can also cause muscle damage and pain, and these are thought to be due to the effects of lowering CoQ10 levels. A study reported in 2007 in the American Journal of Cardiology showed a 40 percent decrease in muscle pain in patients taking Statins who were also treated with CoQ10. Those taking Statins should consult their doctor or pharmacist in order to determine the correct dosage before taking CoQ10..

CoQ10 is also depleted by Beta Blockers (a medication to help prevent heart attacks) and medications taken by mouth to lower blood sugar (oral hypoglycaemic drugs).

Vitamin B is another nutrient depleted by both prescription and common over-the-counter medications. Vitamin B is actually a complex of 8 different vitamins which are essential for a wide range of body functions including turning food into different nutrients and into energy. Deficiencies in the B vitamins can lead to a number of conditions including a lowered immune system.

Drugs that deplete one or more B vitamins include Aspirin, antacids, antibiotics, gout medication, and oral contraceptives, to name just a few.

Made mainly in the liver, glutathione one of the most important chemicals produced by the body. It is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, and detoxifies many toxins. Glutathione is also essential to the functioning of the lungs, and the immune, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Glutamine deficiency is involved in many conditions including certain cancers, HIV/AIDS, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol ) is a common drug that depletes glutathione in the body. While it may not be harmful for most people at normal doses, it should be avoided by those with HIV/AIDS and other diseases in which glutathione-deficiency is present.

The best way to prevent any adverse effects from drug interactions or nutrient depletion is not to take any drugs. Stay tuned for ways to avoid drugs, or at least minimize the number you take.