Drug Nutrient Depletion

Are the medications you’re taking robbing you of essential nutrients?

Yes its true taking certain commonly prescribed drugs can cause certain nutrients i.e. vitamins and minerals to be depleted from the body. This can lead to increased risks for other diseases, and or side effects from the medications.

So what can be done about this issue? One key thing is to know which drugs deplete which nutrients. Is the drug you are taking absolutely necessary?Ttalk to a pharmacist about which ones you might not need. If the drug is required then find out which nutrients are missing and replace them if necessary.

For example commonly prescribed drugs are the proton pump inhibitors (PPI’S) which block acid production .Theses drugs are also available over the counter. However this group of drugs- examples are omeprazole, pantoprazole, inhibit calcium, vitamin B12,iron,protein,and zinc as acid is needed to absorb theses nutrients. Therefore continuous use increases the risk of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), and anaemia which are both very important in women. Many patients remain on PPI’S for longer than the recommended treatment time, so speak to a health care professional. Low B12 can also cause dementia and nerve damage so you may want to get your levels measured. B12 1000mcg sublingually may be appropriate to restore normal levels. Zinc is important for healing and immune function .If continued therapy is necessary add supplements of B12, zinc,and iron. Calcium if supplemented need to be in a form that does not require acid for absorption calcium citrate not calcium carbonate.

Other drugs that may cause problems are birth control or oral contraceptives. These drugs deplete folic acid, magnesium, vitamin b2 vitamin b3, vitamin b6, vitamin b12, vitamin c and zinc. These nutrients affect many things such as mood muscles, carbohydrate metabolism immune function and interestingly may aggravate pre menstrual syndrome (pms).I always recommend a good multivitamin along with a Bcomplex to all women on oral contraceptives.

Another common drug nutrient depletion is that of the stain drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol e.g. Lovastatin,pravastatin,rosuvastatin,and atorvostatin deplete coenzyme Q10 .This is found in all muscles especially heart muscle and is often the cause of leg cramps in patients taking these medications. Supplementing with at least 100mg of Coq10 may help.

Antibiotics used for infection deplete vitamin k probably due to the fact that they kill oFf the good bacteria in our bodies as well as the bad. Supplementing with probiotics may help with this and eating extra green leafy vegetables.

There are many other examples of drugs causing various nutrient losses. Speak to your pharmacist whenever starting a new drug prescription or over the counter and ask if supplementation may be needed.


Are You Too Acidic

What is acidosis? What is an acid base balanced diet?

The modern day diet here in North America of primarily meat and grains creates a significant acid burden. Acids are produced normally as a result of normal metabolism. However our poor diet with a lack of alkaline green leafy vegetables and fruits causes hyperacidity where the amount of acids produced is more than normal. Combine that with stress, inflammation and toxins in our environment our body becomes acidic. Acidosis increases with age. Also as we age our kidneys do not eliminate acids as well. So many women have a low grade chronic acidosis.

What happens when our bodies become acidic? The body uses any buffering substances available to neutralise them because even small changes in pH (a measure of acidity and alkalinity) can be harmful. The lower the ph the more acidic the body becomes. So the body keeps Ph in our blood and other tissues within a narrow range. Acidosis or an acidic pH has been linked to risk ofchronic diseases including cancer and osteoporosis. To maintain a steady pH,alkaline salts of calcium are released from the bone, this can lead to osteoporosis and poor bone health. Acids are also stored in connective tissue and can cause inflammation.

How to measure your pH? Ask your pharmacist for a kit of pH papers and test either saliva or urine, urine is more accurate. Test over twenty four hours and record the results. The first reading is done in the morning with the first urinary void. An ideal range is between 6.2 to 7.4.The morning reading is normally more acidic and the evening one due to the kidneys eliminating overnight and during the day.

What can you do about acidosis? First it is important to change your diet. The ideal diet needs to be approximately 75% alkaline forming foods and the rest acidic. Are you getting your 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables? These foods are naturally alklanising.They have minerals such as potassium and magnesium which act as a buffer. Green leafy vegetables like spinach pack the greatest punch. Reduce your intake of acidic foods such as cheeses, cold meats and dairy. Excess protein diets above 75g a day has been found to generate a negative calcium balance. Of note is the fact that the highest rate of hip fractures occur in women who consume large amounts (60-80g) of animal protein daily. Exercise regularly and avoid stress as much as possible. Deep breathing helps as well.Also the use of an alkalinising supplement may help. This is a mineral supplement designed to bind and remove and neutralise excess acids. Simple sodium bicarbonate can be used and potassium citrate. Also a combination such as alkalinising powder containing a blend of potassium, magnesium and calcium carbonates can be used. Ask your local pharmacy to make this up for you. Alkaline broth with celery,spinach,and carrots and seaweed helps alkalinise the body, and remove toxins.A greens supplement is also a good idea.

So keep your car battery acidic and your body slightly alkaline.

Top 10 Health Checks for Women

So just what you need one more thing on your never ending list of things to do!

What are we talking about; well let’s see would you drive your car without having it serviced? Well why would you wait till you are sick to schedule a yearly check up? Even if you’re feeling healthy the idea is about disease prevention, assessing and knowing your risks, maybe even establishing a relationship with your health care providers before a crisis hits.Women are too busy taking care of everyone’s health and neglecting their own

So what do you need to get checked how often? For many tests and screening there are not official guidelines, so I have put together a list with some recommendations, and my own thoughts.Early screening and health checks can detect and prevent problems before they occur.once in your 30s and 40s scheduling an annual check up seems prudent even if it is just to discuss healthy lifestyles and family medical history that may increase your risk for certain diseases and put together a plan.

The following are the top 10 health checks for women:

1-Pelvic exam or pap test

Screens for cervical cancer and is recommended for anyone over 21 yearly unless your physician advises more or less frequent tests according to your own history.Womens clinics are available for this in many areas if you are not comfortable with your family doctor or would prefer a female physician


Here there is much controversy .In general regular exams are not done till a woman reaches the age of 50.However for women at higher risk(family history of breast cancer) screening may be started earlier however the risks of radiation exposure may outweigh the benefits of screenings beginning at an earlier age. .You need discuss your own risks versus benefits with your physician,.

As an adjunct to mammography I do recommend thermography which is a non invasive procedure that may detect cancer earlier.

It is interesting to note that 50% of women find their own cancers,so although breast exams are no longer officially recommended,get to know your breasts and notice any changes. Ask your physician to examine them yearly if you want as they may be able to feel or see abnormal lumps better due to the number of breast they examine.

3-Blood pressure

Despite women’s fears about cancer, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women. Women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men. There are 10 x the mortality for cardiovascular disease than breast cancer.

It is easy to monitor your blood pressure in most pharmacies and increased blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and heart attack. At least get it checked yearly by your doctor.Normal numbers are 120 systolic 80 diastolic.


Women may want to get a base line test done in their thirties or earlier if a family member has had a stroke or heart attack at a younger age. Then every 5 years if normal. At age 45 or once in menopause I would recommend a yearly cholesterol test be done.

5-Bone density.

This is a non invasive test that measures your bone density and calculates your fracture risk.Normally only done in women over 65.However if you are younger and have one major risk(total hysterectomy,1st degree relative with a hip fracture, certain medications i.e.prednisone,anti-convulsants) then you should again get a baseline test done and discuss your bone health. Along with this test I recommend all women look at their other needs for healthy bones like calcium intake and Vitamin D.Vitamin D levels can be measured.


This is very controversial, however many times low thyroid is missed in women and is more prevalent in menopausal women. Ask for TSH free T3 and free T4 at age 35 then every 5 years if normal.

7-Colorectal Cancer Tests

Regular screening for colon cancer, such as colonoscopies, should begin in patients during their late forties to early fifties. Fecal occult blood tests or colonoscopies should begin, for most patients, at age 50 and repeated as needed. Patients with known risk factors should follow their healthcare provider’s advice for when to start having this test.

Early diagnosis of colon cancer significantly increases the five-year survival rate from this disease to more than 90%.

8-Eye tests

Adults age 18 and older should have eye examinations every one or two years until age 61,then yearly. Eye exams can detect visual changes and early detection of glaucoma and cataracts.

9-Skin check

At least annually have a skin check for moles and pre cancerous growths. Report any suspicious looking growth or any sore that doesn’t heal within four weeks. Monthly self examination can detect skin cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable. Maybe schedule one with your partner.

10-Weight and waist circumference.

Increasing body weight is a risk for diabetes heart disease high blood pressure and cancers. As we age our body fat increases ,we are less active and need to eat less due to our decreasing metabolism. Weight creeps up on you so keep a regular check on it.A large percentage of women do not get sufficient exercise, do not eat the recommended servings of fruit or vegetables.Ketchup doesn’t count!Eat green every day.

So do yourself a favour schedule your check ups,in your Blackberry,on your Smart phone app.Whatever it takes,it could save your life.

Keeping Your Breasts Healthy

Breasts change many times in many ways over a lifetime. Getting to know how your breasts normally feel and look is the first step towards promoting good breast health. Breasts like women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Their tissue is varied; they change as we age and one breast may be bigger or smaller or grow faster or larger than the other. The look and feel of your breasts can be affected by many things.  Your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause and aging. Remember you are not in a panic searching for cancer;  you are developing a positive relationship with your breasts. 80 % of breast lumps are not cancer. Early detection is the most important factor. Lifestyle choices and supplements to improve your general health that will also directly impact the health of your breasts include:

  • Vitamin D 1000iu
  • Being active/ exercising regularly
  • Eating a variety of low-fat , high-fiber and whole grain foods
  • Green Tea
  • Cruciferous vegetables three times a week i.e. broccoli, cauliflower
  • Eating at least 5 servings of dark leafy green, orange and red veggies & fruits every day.
  • Trying to buy organic produce to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Eating foods daily that are high in plant estrogens or isoflavones, such as soy, lentils and grains (linked in studies to prevent breast cancer).
  • Not smoking
  • Low glycemic diet (avoid the white sugar)
  • Low acid high alkaline diet(eat your dandelions)
  • Limiting the amount of caffeine
  • Regular detoxification of the liver, colon, kidneys and lymph
  • Limit your intake of dairy and red meat.
  • Ensuring there is enough fiber in your diet.
  • Avoiding xenoestrogens in foods and plastics
  • Infra red saunas for detoxification
  • Organic beauty products
  • So let’s talk prevention by taking action on the above in your daily life

How to Thrive in a Toxic World

A report from the Environmental Working Group(EWG) found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from babies. Those pollutants included pesticides, consumer product ingredients and wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage. These chemicals were all passed on the newborn by their mothers. Other similar studies have shown the same degree of toxins in adults. Our environment has become increasingly more polluted. New chemicals are introduced into our environment every day they have never been studied together. So no matter how careful we are we are all have some level of exposure. The liver carries the greatest burden of clearing all these foreign substances from our system Do we even need to question that we are all living in a toxic world? We absorb these chemical through our skin, inhale them from the air we breathe, and ingest them in our foods. They are present in the cleaning chemicals that we use, our cosmetics, and body lotions.

Many of the chemicals for example like Bisphenol A an ingredient found in plastics and cans, and nail polishes. have been found to disrupt hormones ,having an estrogen like effect, they are referred to as xenoestrogens and have been linked to cancer. They also interfere with our immune function. Phthalates which are used to soften plastic can lead to kidney and liver damage. They too disrupt hormones in both men and women and are possibly carcinogenic. They have been linked to early puberty in girls as have other chemicals in our environment.

Heart attacks have been linked to air pollution. So its not just road rage that’s bad for you but actually sitting in traffic may kill you! Exposure to tar and cigarette smoke and radiation in air has been linked to several diseases including cancer.

So what can you do about all theses toxins that we are exposed to on a regular basis?
Adding organic fruits and vegetables limits you exposure to pesticides. Eating organic has been shown to have greater antioxidant value, provide significantly more Vitamin C, iron ,magnesium and less nitrates than conventionally grown foods. Vegetables and fruits such as are found in a Mediterranean diet are associated with a longer survival. Even a small increase in their consumption can make a difference. Antioxidants in the food and flavonoids help protect you against disease. These same flavonoids are found in red wine and black tea.

The next big question .Do I need to detox? What is detox? Doesn’t our liver naturally detox and take care of everything.The answer is no. It is impossible to avoid toxins. It is impossible to consume enough nutrients to help our body detoxify. Over time we accumulate toxins and they build up. This excess of toxins has been implicated in low energy levels chronic fatigue,obesity,memory,hormone imbalance.

Now I am not recommending you go on a severe detoxification regime, or fast. Simple things like herbs and nutrients can be used to support your body’s own natural detoxification. Herbs such as Milk Thistle,astragalus,dandelion help break down waste and toxins and protect the liver. Reducing your intake of coffee and tea, alcohol and sweets, and red meat along with increasing your fresh fruit and vegetables helps minimise your toxin exposure.Exercising,saunas and dry brushing help with lymph circulation and the movement of toxins from the body. Drink plenty of clean alkaline water.

How often do we need to detox? Everyone is different depending on their lifestyles and exposure. I recommend at least twice a year. Other people may require longer more frequent medically supervised detoxification programs along with targeted nutrients supplements and medical foods.
Are there reactions to detoxification plans? Yes normally they are mild. Headaches may occur as you eliminate chemicals from your body. Skin breakouts due to eliminating chemicals through the skin.The skin is the largest organ of elimination. Increased bowel movements may also happen. Any one on any prescription drugs needs to discus detoxification regimes with their health practitioner as many drugs are metabolised by the liver and may be affected.Detoxing will leave you feeling more energetic, and with a sense of well being and vitality. A side effect may also be weight loss.


Turmeric is a herb and spice frequently used in Ayurvedic medicine as part of their traditional health system which uses herbs and foods as well as lifestyles such as yoga to stay healthy and treat illness when it occurs. however many of these ancient remedies and herbs are now crossing over into north American and proving to have healing benefits.

Turmeric has become one of the hot topics for fighting disease. Many clinical trials are now showing its use in many cancers ,Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis and other diseases.

Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin which many of you will recognize by its bright yellow colouring used in many recipes for Indian cuisine.

It is used as a remedy to maintain healthy joints and treat inflammation and arthritis. It increases circulation and can be used in muscular injuries.

It is also an anti oxidant and inactivates free radicals and supports heart health.It also lowers cholesterol levels and fibrinogen which is responsible for

Turmeric has also been found to help treat and prevent various cancers. It is a potent inhibitor of tumour promotion and tumour cell growth. It has been found to reduce side effects of certain chemotherapy drugs and also enable those drugs to work better. In particular it has been studied for its beneficial effects in breast cancer.

So looking for a new spice to use in your culinary endeavours try turmeric.It can also be found as a supplement both singly and in combination to help with pain and arthritic conditions.