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.

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