How to reduce your drug burden

By Jim Fain

I’ve written about the travails of using prescribed/OTC drugs for reducing acid reflux (GERD, heartburn) several times. This group of drugs is very commonly used daily and is in fact one of the biggest selling and profit making pills ever. The group is called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Specifically, the names Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, Omeprazole and Aciphex come to mind. All of these reduce the production of stomach acid. If you’re feeling crummy and your doc can’t quite get a finger on the pulse, maybe your ailment is caused by or made worse by drug therapy. I’m repeating myself, I know, but I’m wanting the word to get out.

A little bit ago, I started  a series of columns in which I described how prescribed drugs can and often do interfere with the absorption of necessary nutrients. This is little known, as it is rarely talked about. Nutritional deficiencies can be diagnosed as a new ailment contributing to having yet another prescription written. Common sense tells us the more drugs we take and the longer we take them, the risk of nutritional deficiency would increase. So far, I’ve discussed the drugs for lowering blood pressure like Lisinopril, statin drugs to reduce cholesterol and Metformin (glucophage) commonly used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

I started the first column with the following; “In our nutty system which often pits medications/science against nutritional supplements, the bias supporting medicine is usually given top dog status. Dire warnings abound that if you do this drug or that, then these supplements will interfere causing harm. Rarely, is there a balanced approach. Suppose the prescription medication bias with huge amounts of corporate money backing it is entirely backwards? Suppose the prescription drug is actually interfering with the absorption of the nutritional supplement. Suppose, it is well established that prescribed drugs often and commonly create new ailments by causing vitamin and mineral deficits … what would you do? Think about this as this is more often the case than we can imagine.”

Consider the possible impact of the long list of heartburn/GERD drugs above on the reduced absorption of folic acid, B12, beta-carotene, calcium, iron and curiously thyroid hormone levothyroxine and synthroid. Yes, it is true that reducing stomach acid can cause anemia, tiredness, skin troubles, osteoporosis (bone thinning) and then all of the troubles of low thyroid (and there are many of them). All of this can be countered by proper nutritional supplementation. It may be possible to replace the drugs with naturals but the rebound effect of stopping the drug is powerful … this reduces in time. If you can reduce your drug burden, likely you’ll feel better.

Hormone Imbalances for Men and Women

By Jon Barron

Hormones are the body’s chemical messenger system. They tell the various cells of the body what to do — and when — by attaching to specific receptor sites on individual cells. Adrenaline, for example, is produced in the adrenal glands and, at times of stress, tells the heart to speed up and blood vessels to narrow. Testosterone and the various estrogens, on the other hand, promote specific sexual characteristics.

Problems occur when the various hormones get out of balance. In previous reports, I’ve talked extensively about the need for both men and women to supplement with natural progesterone to counter the effects of estrogen dominance triggered by chemical estrogens in the environment. In this report, we will discuss the need for men and women to reestablish the proper levels of testosterone and the adrenal hormones in their bodies. And in connection with these issues, we’re going to find that we also naturally end up correcting nitric oxide and 5-alpha-reductase imbalances in the body. Since many of these imbalances start kicking in at around the age of 30, we call this the 30,000 mile tune-up.

Testosterone Story

A growing body of evidence suggests that free testosterone levels drop as much as 40 percent in men between their early forties and early seventies. And for 10 to 15 percent of all men, those levels will dip below normal even as early as their thirties if they have to deal with stress, depression, personal life changes, or medications. This causes negative changes in body-mass composition and a decrease not only in sexual desire and performance but also in the competitive drive to succeed and accomplish something meaningful in life. In women, excessive estrogen in the body causes a reduction in testosterone levels, which leads to a similar decline in sexual desire and performance and a similar reduction in “life drive.” Both men and women need and produce testosterone in their bodies, although in differing amounts.

Unfortunately, once we reach our thirties, available testosterone levels for both men and women begin diminishing with age. However, it’s not actual testosterone production that decreases as we age but, rather, the amount of free circulating (bioavailable) testosterone, as more of it gets bound to both albumin and a natural substance called SHBG (sex-hormone-binding globulin). SHBG plays the biggest role in testosterone binding when testosterone levels are low, while albumin plays the dominant role at higher levels.1  The important point is that when testosterone becomes “bound” (particularly to SHBG when levels are already low), it becomes unavailable for use by the body. This means that although total testosterone levels may remain essentially unchanged as you age, only a steadily diminishing portion of that total is actually “available” to enter a cell and activate its receptor. And considering that as we age the amount of SHBG steadily increases, it’s easy to see that the level of bioavailable testosterone will only continue to decrease over time.

The Benefits of Correcting Hormonal Imbalances for Men

It is of great importance to have normally balanced free testosterone and estrogen levels for male health and wellness. Levels of these hormones that are too low or too high can have major negative effects on male health and fitness. SHBG does indeed play a role in maintaining this balance. On the one hand, excess estrogen levels in men, for example, are associated with cardiovascular disorders and insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity, strokes, prostate enlargement, male breast enlargement (gynecomastia), and even male breast cancer.4 Sex Hormone Binding Globulin plays a key role in maintaining balance by binding to excess estrogen and making it unavailable for use by the body–with one important exception that we’ll talk about later. On the other hand, low levels of estrogen in men are associated with osteoporosis and bone fractures, as well as lowered sex drive. When levels are already low, excess levels of SHBG can exacerbate the problem by binding to desperately needed hormones.

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