In this episode, you will learn about the consequences or side effects of common medications such as antacids, diuretics, SSRIs. Resources mentioned in this episode:
Other Resources for each epsiode:
Consequences of Common Medications Part 2
Antacids, SSRI, Diuretics, Metformin
As I mentioned in the last episode, everything we do, say, think, has a consequence of some sort right? The medications we take, both over-the-counter and prescription are no different. I want you to know and understand some of the implications or consequences of taking medications long-term. Some of them even have consequences in the short term. It can be tough finding out which medications are causing the most issues within the body especially if they are paired with others. Luckily there is now pharmacogenetic testing by companies like ClarityX that can help with identifying the medications that are affecting people in a serious way so they can move on and try others that will not do them this harm.
This is Part 2, focusing on proton pump inhibitors and antacids (like TUMS, Prilosec, Nexium and the like), SSRIs, Diuretics, and Metformin.
I believe with all things - informed consent is critical. Meaning it is important for you to understand the common links where a medication, prescribed or over the counter may be a true root cause of a downstream disease or be the spark that started a long term or chronic disease process or even a secondary disease. And that’s why we are spending 2 episodes on some of the most common ones. It may surprise you, but I actually frequently build plans around medications if getting off of them isn’t possible or priority.
In short my goal here to inform you, help you connect some dots, and maybe even spark a question that leads you to shift towards wellness.
Proton Pump Inhibitors and Antacids
If you are on these medications you will enjoy this deep dive video:
Did you know that the daily use of an antacid or proton pump inhibitor frequently shows up as a root cause of disease? And yet, I meet people every day that have used either over-the-counter or prescription Antacids and PPIs for decades. Courtesy of the marketing that is used for these medications, marketing to both physicians and the public, it's widely believed that acid reflux is caused by too much stomach acid. That is simply false - there isn’t an iota of truth to it.
People tend to use these particular drugs like wet naps right? It goes something like, “I’m having this super delish and rich BBQ, let me grab a wet nap and a TUMS because I know I am gonna be messy and I know I’m going to have heartburn.” It’s baked into our thinking and our habits. We think we have to take this little med to stop the feedback that our body isn’t enjoying the food that we are. It’s our body saying - “hey somethings not right!”
And while when those symptoms are masked and ignored, the body is prevented from thriving and is set up for a more intense and serious problem.
The way TUMS and proton pump inhibitors work is not complicated at all. Proton pump inhibitors work by a very simple mechanism that stops the acid pumps in the stomach from producing more acid. Antacids reduce the effect of the acid - both make the contents of the gastric cavity less acidic, higher pH. So when it bubbles up into the esophagus, it doesn't hurt as much if at all.
In a more alkaline environment, the digestive enzyme Pepsin that is found in the stomach is not able to have as erosive of an effect on the lower esophageal sphincter and in the esophagus itself. So when we neutralize or lower the stomach acid, you are completing hosing your digestion.
Our human suits were designed to have nice, strong acidic gastric juices because it's necessary to completely digest our food into critical amino acids that we need to run our body. With ongoing use of proton pump inhibitors, antacids, and the like, people become vulnerable to many different deficiencies, essential amino acids obviously because I just described, but also key minerals, because those minerals are linked to various amino acids found in the food.
Also, commonly with extended use of these medications either over the counter or prescribed, you will develop a deficiency of vitamin B-12. Good strong stomach acid triggers a series of reactions that allows B12 to be absorbed. Without the stomach acid we aren’t able to absorb the B12, and then the host of energy and fatigue that follows along with even more troubles.
And because immune function is affected in all of these issues, In particular, with ongoing PPI and/or antacid use leads us to low levels of magnesium zinc, which impacts insulin resistance, leading to diabetes and ultimately heart disease (even if you don’t make a diabetes pit stop before you get there).
This is a really great example of sometimes you may be eating a nutrient-rich diet, but if you don't appropriately digest and absorb and convert and get those nutrients past the cell membrane, It doesn't really matter what you ate.
PPIs and antacids are more great examples of where a short term medication designed to briefly let the stomach heal is used long term and has big consequences. Know that even more than that there are better natural options much more effective at this healing mechanism.
It's interesting that this class of antidepressants, called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors although selective, they are not 100% selective.
You have heard me say there is no shame in taking medications for your mental health, there are some people that for whatever reason aren’t in a place where they can make the changes necessary to not be on medication for their mental health. I do feel that regardless of your situation, again, informed consent is critical and that includes the effects that daily use of this class of medication has.
It's really a sad state that our medical system has gotten to, because when people exhibit anywhere from mild to severe anxiety or depression, we jump right to the assumption that there must be a gap in serotonin function. And that isn’t always the issue, it's not even likely the issue.
Sadly these prescriptions are handed out by the fistful without any type of testing for serotonin metabolites or more simply and easily detected sufficiency of nutrients that would be used by the nervous system in order to synthesize serotonin.
What that means is that although it sounds like a good solution, SSRIs may may or may not be addressing the root cause, they may be just creating a
placebo effect. If you actually have low serotonin function, then an SSRI does not actually increase serotonin levels at all, that is simply a myth.
SSRIs blocks the reuptake or connection of back into the neuron after it's been released into the synapse. Basically, it collects up all of the serotonin we've got floating around in the bloodstream and gives the brain a false message of thinking there is more serotonin than there actually is.
Ongoing use of SSRIs actually depletes serotonin, especially in a person who may be already had issues with deficiency of them in the first place. Using an SSRI long term can not only end up depleting serotonin, but also depleting dopamine which creates a dependency on the SSRI.
Once you start to deplete the actual neurotransmitter, then the reuptake inhibition becomes pretty necessary because there just isn’t that much serotonin (or dopamine) anymore. This phenomenon contribute to needing to switch formational and change dosages to chase a moving target.
I want you to reconsider as a patients that this short-sighted habit of blindly accepting prescribed medications without working with a practitioner that truly understands and looks at the WHOLE client. This is applicable all the time, but especially when a person perceives what they have as depression.
NOTE: this is not a medication to try to wean yourself off of.
Metformin, of all the other drugs out there for this same purpose, if you gotta take one to minimize the chance that diabetes progresses to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, then this is the one to take. Honestly, there are far more debilitating drugs out there.
Metformin is a medication that actually addresses the root cause of the issue, it addresses insulin resistance.
Unfortunately, it has unintended side effects. You know what I say about side effects, they aren’t actually side effects they are just the additional effects or consequences of taking the drug.
If you are taking Metformin long term, it's important to know that it can create an insufficiency of vitamin B12. This deficiency leads to some of the typical downstream troubles from type two diabetes. Most often starting with fatigue and low energy and then progressing commonly neuropathy or the exacerbation or worsening of neuropathy.
Often times this is solved with B12 injections, but it's important for you to understand, that just because you get a nutrient into your bloodstream does not mean it can get into the cell so that it can be put to use. Most often those B12 injections don’t solve the problem, it only makes the lab report look pretty.
This class of drugs is usually prescribed for hypertension, especially in combination with another class of medications called beta blockers.
Here's what you need to know, diuretics work by acting on the kidneys and increasing your loss of water and sodium. It’s really well demonstrated in research that there’s a problem here because along with losing sodium and water, you're also losing other electrolytes like potassium and magnesium.
Can you guess what electrolytes/minerals are necessary in your body to have optimal blood pressure? Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium.
This doesn't make diuretics unnecessary. They can be helpful in the beginning, for short term help, in urgent situations, while lifestyle changes being made.
If you or someone you know is on a diuretic, has it been temporary for you or them? Likely not.
Long term use of diuretics serve to aggravate and cause the chronic and long lasting aspect of the very thing they are prescribed to help.
So let’s do a quick recap.
Know that medications can be important and lifesaving - I'm not against them in acute situations, but we have to be realistic about the consequences of common medications that are used and overused frequently.
Make sure that when you are prescribed any medication, you ask:
- Is there any other option before trying medication?
- What are the intended and unintended consequences of taking this medication? (hint: all medications have side effects - so don’t take “there’s not any” as an answer)
- What is the plan to get off this medication?
This is so important and it's important to have your entire holistic basket of systems and symptoms addressed to ensure that you are addressing the root cause.
As always if you need more help? Be sure to schedule a complimentary Mini-Case Review here.
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