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In today's society, prescription medications are very commonly used to treat disease, but what most doctors don't realize is that many of these drugs can cause deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients required for normal body functions.
Some of these functions include energy production, protection against free radicals, and repairing and replacing worn out cells of the heart, lungs, skin, bone, etc.
Initially these deficiencies equate to generalized symptoms such as fatigue, dry scaly skin, weight gain, depression, difficulty sleeping, muscle stiffness, joint aches and pains, and poor memory.
Over longer periods, these nutrient deficiencies can lead to a faster progression toward chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, cataracts, etc.
How come my doctor has never mentioned this to me before? Simple, your doctor was most likely not trained in nutrition.
Yes, you read correctly.
Most medical schools do not even offer classes in nutrition, so if you doctor wanted to receive training in this area, he/she would have to seek it out elsewhere.
Currently, there is a grass roots effort in place to teach physicians about medication induced nutritional deficiencies, but until this information becomes part of the medical curriculum, you should take measures on your own to ensure that your nutritional status remains intact when you are taking a medication with known nutrient depleting side effects.
CATCH 22 - In order to prevent heart disease doctors prescribe preventative medicines to lower cholesterol (statins), lower blood pressure (diuretics), thin the blood (aspirin), and reduce inflammation (NSAIDS).
Collectively, these medicines can lead to deficiencies of coenzyme Q10, vitamin B1, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B-12, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, and beta carotene.
Why is this harmful? Example 1: Medications which lower cholesterol are given to reduce the risks for heart disease, but they can also cause a deficiency of CoQ10 inside the body.
A deficiency of CoQ10 is linked to congestive heart failure and high blood pressure.
Thus taking the medication over long periods of time may actually increase the risk for heart disease.
Example 2: Medications which lower blood pressure can induce deficiencies of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Research now shows that a deficiency in these minerals can cause high blood pressure.
Additionally, many blood pressure medications also deplete CoQ10.
Example 3: Taking aspirin thins the blood, but this may also cause deficiencies in folic acid and vitamin C.
Folic acid deficiency causes elevations of a harmful chemical in your blood called homocysteine.
Elevated homocysteine is an independent risk factor for heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and osteoporosis.
Vitamin C deficiency reduces the body's overall antioxidant status.
Poor antioxidant function is associated with every known chronic degenerative disease.
Common Sense Applies: Although many of the above medications have been shown to give benefit when treating common conditions, they have also been shown in studies to reduce certain nutrient levels.
Because we know that long term nutrient deficiencies can and do play a major role in the development of chronic degenerative disease, it only makes sense to take a common sense approach and address these nutrient deficiencies before they become a serious medical problem.
Ask your doctor to monitor your nutrient levels with the appropriate lab work (Spectra Cell labs has a very comprehensive test to monitor nutrient deficiencies).
Find out which nutrients your medication may be depleting and address them with proper supplementation.
Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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