To Medicate or Not to Medicate

All medications can have side effects.  And when a doctor puts you on a medication, they do consider the benefits vs the side effects.  Medications are important and can save your life, no doubt about that!  But sometimes we do have options.  Every doctor knows and suggests changing up your diet and lifestyle when it comes to the most common meds like cholesterol lowering drugs, diabetic meds, blood pressure meds and heart burn meds.

The CDC states that 80% of the diseases patients come into the doctor’s office for are either preventable or reversible though lifestyle changes.

However, for the most part, people in general don’t like to change up the foods they enjoy or get in that exercise they need to make the changes necessary to stay off medications.  Important things one needs to know is that all medications have side effects and while they definitely provide symptom relief, in most cases, they don’t actually cure the disease.  Some medications can actually cause nutrient deficiencies in people making people feel worse when taking medications.  Heartburn medications are one such medication.   They certainly can provide a lot of relief, especially when the heartburn can be quite painful.  And quite necessary when trying to heal an ulcer.  These meds work by decreasing the PH of the stomach to curb the heartburn.  You can think of our stomach acid like battery acid.  If you were to put a piece of chicken in battery acid, you would see it break down.  One thing however when taking these medications is that when you decrease the PH of your stomach, you don’t breakdown your food as well.  Think vinegar.  If you were to put that piece of chicken into vinegar, it would not break down.  When you eat protein, the acid in your stomach breaks down the protein into absorbable constituents called amino acids or short chain amino acids so our body can use them.  When food is not properly broken down, we can’t absorb it and we miss out on a lot of nutrients.  Over time, we can become deficient in certain vitamins and nutrients.  A book called Drug Muggers by Suzy Cohen states “Acid blockers are drug muggers of most nutrients…they suppress or alter the pH throughout the gut so the absorption of every single nutrient is suppressed.”

This is exactly what happened to one of my clients when she started taking heartburn medication.  She came to me deficient in iron and B12.  It’s because she wasn’t breaking down the protein’s she was eating and then just not getting enough protein, iron and B12 absorption.  After working with her doctor and stopping the medication, all her labs went back to normal.

If you or someone you know was told by their doctor that they may need to go on medication for occasional heartburn symptoms, a health coach can help find healthy great tasting foods and suggestions to change up their lifestyle that can help so a heartburn medication may not be necessary.  Changing your lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard, especially when you have someone on your side.

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