Not Tonight, I Have a Headache…

Specific prescriptions may be depleting nutrients in your body.

Let’s first deal with the nutrient-depletions of hormonal therapy…

We’ve talked about supplements, we’ve talked about the overuse of medications; we are now ready to look more closely at specific prescriptions you may be taking and just what nutrients are being depleted. Let’s start with a complicated one…HORMONES! Specifically SYNTHETIC hormones. This post will focus on reproductive hormones, i.e. birth control pills, as well as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), typically prescribed for women going through menopause. Women may be on these medications for 25+ years!! Are you one of them? What nutrients have been robbed from you??

We’ll begin with oral contraceptives…This combination of synthetic estrogens and progestins have prevented pregnancy, possibly cleared your acne, or regulated your periods. Females as young as twelve may be started on “the pill” for a variety of reasons. These chemicals act like “natural” hormones affecting the delicate balance of your body’s reproductive system. But these are synthetic, not natural, so while you may get a positive effect, you are also getting the adverse (negative) effects. Bloating, weight gain, mood changes, migraines, and even depression just to name a few! Why? What is the trade-off for taking Tri-Sprintec? Ortho-Novum? On the other end of the spectrum is HRT (hormone replacement therapy), synthetic hormone combos that help menopausal women “roll with the changes.” But again, these are not natural hormone replacements they’re synthetic or even worse…horse urine! Say what??? Here’s a fun fact: the medication Premarin was actually named for the active ingredient in the drug…PREgnant MARe’s urINe! Let that sink in for a moment…Who would possibly believe that the hormones found in a horse’s urine would make an adequate substitute for human hormones? But that’s for another post—Let’s first deal with the nutrient-depletions of hormonal therapy. These chemicals are robbing our bodies of precious B vitamins, magnesium, and trace minerals!

Now let’s make the pieces of the puzzle fit by checking out what these nutrients do…

We will start with magnesium, an important mineral that plays a role in over 300 enzymatic processes! Magnesium is vital for bone health, muscle relaxation, neurological reactions, and even detoxification processes. It’s been shown that having low magnesium can, over time, lead to an incredible list of disease states including anxiety and depression, chronic constipation, diabetes, hypertension and migraines..so yes your headache may stem from magnesium deficiency! And sadly, most people (men and women) are deficient in magnesium. Can you see the potential for additional prescriptions simply from LOW magnesium? It’s scary! And while we are talking scary stuff, did you know that magnesium is a big part of making serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine? Those are big words that do big things, namely make you feel happy and content. 🙂 Not making these important neurotransmitters may lead to depression in addition to creating a void in your body that triggers cravings for carbs (hello?? The “I could eat an entire chocolate cake” kinda feeling). As you can see, if you are deficient in magnesium, life can be like a box of chocolates…and you’ve eaten all of it just to cope!

Another nutrient robbed by the birth control pill and HRT are the B vitamins. The B vitamins help our bodies convert food into fuel. They keep our bodies energized! A person depleted of B vitamins may have brittle nails, dry skin, anemia and a low energy level. In addition, the different B vitamins play a role in heart health, nerve health, and digestion. It’s a double whammy when you couple low magnesium along with low B vitamins—can you see the number of prescriptions adding up?? Replenishing the Bs can mean simply taking a good multivitamin, or taking an additional B Complex supplement which is a combination of all of the B vitamins (biotin, folate, thiamine, etc). We suggest taking B Complex vs individual B vitamins for convenience and to keep them balanced!

The last nutrients we will discuss as it relates to taking hormonal therapy are the trace minerals. Robbed again!! These critical nutrients include Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, and Iron. A deficiency in these nutrients will impact one of the most important glands in our body, the thyroid gland. Did you know that in 2013, the most prescribed drug was levothyroxine?? That’s the generic name for Synthroid (a synthetic thyroid hormone) used for under-active thyroid or hypothyroidism. But that’s a whole other post…Finally, if you think about it, you may be taking a number of prescriptions that began from a single pill…The Pill. We have created a FLOW CHART to show the possible progression of new Rxs prescribed to combat the associated side effects or depletions. The question then becomes, how can I take charge? As we mentioned last time, taking a quality multivitamin will replace the ‘lost’ trace minerals and the B vitamins, and keep in mind that an excellent multivitamin sometimes requires taking several tablets daily. So if you’ve already started on a good multi, then you are ahead of the game! We would also suggest an additional magnesium supplement simply because most people are low in that important mineral.

We’ll continue to look at commonly prescribed medications and the nutrients that are robbed—next week: the Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) and acid blockers. Stay tuned…

And remember We Give a Two Hoots about your Health!!

VIEW BIRTH CONTROL CASCADE FLOW CHART >>

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