Thursday, March 24, 2016

Are you taking prescription drugs - and/or Nutritional Supplements - and/or Herbs?

There are some things You Need to Know.

written by John W Jones, MD, MPH and Marilyn Sidwell
Updated March 2016

It is strongly recommended that a qualified health care provider evaluate your nutritional needs and coordinate a nutritional program with Medical considerations.


Know the Facts:

  1. Supplements can (and do) interact with each other
  2. Supplements can interact with medications and herbs
  3. Medications can interact with herbs and supplements (as well as with each other)

Nutritional Supplement Facts:

  • These are my Minimum Recommendations: Ultra Vites and Ultra Omega-Linic
  • For optimum benefit, all nutrients must be present and in proper balance daily.
  • Very high levels of fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A or D can reach toxic levels
  • All the minerals need to be balanced, and high levels of certain minerals such as selenium can reach toxic levels
  • B vitamins are generally safe, but should be used in balance.  High levels of vitamin B6, for example, can cause neurologic symptoms and problems.
  • High levels of Folic Acid can mask a B12 deficiency.  Ultra Vites, Ultra Preventive and Ultra Preventive + Iron contain 1000 mcg of Vitamin B12 to balance Folic Acid.
  • Yes, supplements and drugs can work synergistically, but they  can have adverse reactions as well as good results.
Example of a good result: the use of a probiotic with antibiotics may decrease the instance of diarrhea and colon irritation that can be caused by the use of broad spectrum antibiotics.

Example of a bad result: the action of some nutrients can interfere with some drugs used for chemotherapy.

Drugs and Nutrients Interact. for example, Statin drugs reduce the formation of coenzyme Q10 in the body.  
     Here is an example of potential problems from the most widely used prescription drug: Statins.   The statin class of drugs, such as Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol or Crestor are commonly used to control hyperlipidemia.   Statin drugs are HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors and can reduce the formation of CoQ10.   The use of Ultra CoQ10-100 can minimize this reaction.   Where the statin drugs lower cholesterol levels there are significant side effects affecting muscle physiology.  There are noted frequent side effects from statin drugs, such as flu like symptoms, myopathy, myositis, peripheral neuropathy, and muscle wasting disease.  Consider natural remedies for hyperlipidemia.

A single vitamin or  mineral should not be used by itself: for instance, when high levels of zinc are used zinc needs to be balanced with copper and other minerals   We recommend a highly researched multi vitamin such as Ultra Vites before using a higher level of any individual nutrient.

The effects of high levels of supplements needs to be evaluated.

Example: High levels of calcium can suppress the absorption of magnesium and zinc

Common Misconceptions about nutrients

 #1: herbs are natural, therefore safe.  Herbs have been used for centuries to help people solve many health problems.  In fact, their use is the basis for modern medicine.   Herbal lore attributes different properties to different parts of plants, and many herbs operate synergistically with other herbs and nutrients.
Jean-Claude LaPraz, MD is a pioneer who promotes the concept of using the ‘wisdom of the plant’ to affect and normalize body systems.

Be aware, however, that there can be adverse reactions to herbs.  In addition, there are herb/herb, herb/drug and herb/nutrient interaction problems.

#2: herbs must be standardized.  Standardizing means manipulating an herb so that it contains a guaranteed amount of a certain botanical constituent.  Plants are very complex chemically.  They contain hundreds to thousands of constituents.  The majority of plant constituents have yet to be identified or understood by modern science.  It is the synergy of the various constituents that is responsible for the medicinal activity of herbs  “The Standardization of Herbs” from Time Labs contains more information on this issue.

#3: your doctor knows what you are taking (medicines and supplements) and knows your complete health history. 

Very often you are seeing several different doctors for a variety of health issues.  In addition, you may be getting prescriptions from different pharmacies.  It is possible, therefore, that there is no one person who is coordinating your entire medication, nutritional supplements and herbal intake.

Given what we know about nutritional excesses and imbalances, an unsupervised approach to your entire dietary intake may be contributing to your symptoms.

Here are some take-charge recommendations for you:

  • Make a list of all your doctors
  • Make sure that all of your doctors have a complete list of all of your medications, herbs and nutrients
  • Record the major Health events in your life

More Suggestions

  • Discuss everything you are taking with your qualified health care provider or pharmacist.  People taking 6 or more daily medications are more likely to have a negative drug reaction.   It is especially important that you learn the consequences of taking multiple drugs as well as potential drug/drug adverse reactions.
  • Learn the effects, good and bad, of all the medications
  • Do read the information that comes with the prescription.
These suggestions are from an article in USA Weekend, Jan 21-23, 2005. “Raise your Prescription IQ”
  • List every pill (medications, vitamins, herbs, etc), cream and ointment
  • Visit a pharmacist or doctor to review this list
  • Side effects can mimic many things, such as signs of aging
  • Drugs can Interact w/nutrients. Some nutrients can disable the effect of the drug, and some drugs can interfere with the nutrient.

For more information:

“The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Drugs” is a book which explains how to maintain good nutrition while using prescription drugs, and the various effects these drugs have on nutrition. Paperback, by Ross Pelton, R.Ph. and James B. LaVelle, R.Ph.
  • It lists the drugs and shows how they can affect nutrients.
  • Then it lists nutrients and show which drugs affect them.
Prescription Drugs and Vitamin Depletion” from Blue Cross of Idaho had an interesting article in one of their publications several years ago.  The article started out by saying: “Some medications may affect the storage and absorption of vital nutrients you need to stay healthy.   For the most part, prescription medications do not have this affect on the body unless they are taken at  high doses for long periods of time.  However, some medications can deprive your body of specific vitamins and or minerals at any dose.”

Well Said!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.