Can your medication cause stress?

When life spins out of control and things go wrong we think the world turned against us. We blame our stress on whoever or whatever seems to look guilty at the moment: the boss, the kids, the neighbor, or even the dog.

Yet feeling stressed has nothing to do with life circumstances or what has happened to you. It only tells you that you are not strong enough to handle the situation, regardless of how overbearing the circumstances may seem.

Stress, biochemistry, and nutrition

Why do some people deal with life events better than others? The answer seems to be clear: differences in biochemistry. If biochemical pathways responsible for stress responses are working optimally we should be able to handle stress with grace. If they are compromised we will make a mountain out of a mole.

Biochemical pathways depend on body nutrition. If a nutrient is missing the pathway that needs it will be malfunctioning. Feeling good and handling stress depends on pathways requiring large amounts of vitamin B12.

The anti-stress vitamin B12

Some studies suggest that low vitamin B12 is the biggest reason why we feel stressed and depressed. Vitamin B12 is not like other vitamins. Vitamin B12 is very difficult to absorb, and requires a perfectly functioning digestive system. Because many of us have some kind of digestive trouble (bloating, heartburn, constipation, etc.) we may frequently be low in vitamin B12.

It is possible to test levels of this vitamin in the blood. Yet, the current lab cut off point for B12 deficiency is set so low that even people with clinical symptoms of deficiency seem to have “normal” B12 blood levels. This vitamin, which is very important seems to be forgotten and ignored to the detriment of many patients.

Medication deplete B12

Many popular drugs make matters worse by further preventing absorption of this vitamin. Here is a list of drugs that you may possibly be taking. These drugs may lead to deficiencies, which can cause anxiety, depression, excessive stress, and insomnia.

Diabetic medication: Metformin, Glucophage

This is the most common medication prescribed today for blood sugar regulation. One of the side effects of diabetes is nerve degeneration causing tingling and numbness.

Well… this is also one of the clinical signs of B12 deficiency. If you are a diabetic and under stress you should add vitamin B12 to your regimen. If you are also experiencing numbness and tingling it would be wise to supplement with B12.

Gout medication: Colchicine, ColBenemid

Gout is a lifestyle dependent reversible condition. Prescription medication for gout do not change poor lifestyle nor reverse the causes of gout. Gout attacks are stressful events to begin with, especially if you combine it with B12 deficiency from the drugs. Although gout by itself does not seem to have much to do with B12 deficiency you may take this vitamin to strengthen your nervous system.

Heartburn medication: Nexium, Prevacid, Losec, Prilosec, Nu-Ranit, Zantac

These drugs are among top 100 most popular drugs in North America. If you are on one of these drugs it doesn’t necessarily mean you actually produce too much acid.

However, your doctor might have prescribed this medication to ease your discomfort that originated from a different cause such as irritation of the stomach lining. Irritation of the stomach lining may already be the first sign of a problem with B12 absorption.

You can well imagine that adding a drug that further inhibits B12 absorption does not lead to a good outcome. It creates a vicious cycle, as B12 is necessary for rebuilding stomach lining and carrying out proper digestion signals. In my years of clinic I see a correlation between stomach problems and stress. Patients who have trouble dealing with stress have the weakest stomachs.

Arthritis and cancer medication: Methotrexate, Reumatrex, Azulfidine, Salazopyrin

Patients who have inflammatory diseases such as arthritis or cancer frequently have increased blood levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an inflammatory marker which is dependent on nutrient availability.

Deficiency of B12 leads to an increase in homocysteine, which leads to more inflammation. It seems that taking arthritis medication without checking for the homocysteine and B12 status may only aggravate inflammation making you dependent on anti-inflammatory medication for life.

Quite a number of seniors that I have met, are on arthritic medication as well as on sleeping pills. There is a logical reason for the latter. B12 deficiency equals increased stress equals sleeping pills to help relax… you get the picture!

Cholesterol medication: Colestid

Drugs that lower cholesterol are known to deplete nutrients. Colestid depletes B12. Here you are trying to lower the cholesterol to prevent heart disease, yet you may be causing even more harm than good.

The irony is that without B12 there will be more plaque deposit on the arteries. Without B12 there is more inflammation. Inflammation is what starts cholesterol deposits. Cholesterol without inflammation is harmless. The further irony is that stress increases cholesterol levels and now you are fully immersed in a vicious cycle.

Health is a Skill, not a Pill

Your doctor did not prescribe these drugs without good reasons, so please use them. However, you need to understand that high cholesterol, gout, arthritis, heartburn, and diabetes are most frequently lifestyle induced and can therefore be managed or even reversed without the use of prescription medications.

More and more patients are choosing lifestyle changes over medication, because it means a much higher quality of life. With emerging research it becomes obvious that diseases we thought of as “genetic” are really not. Rather development of chronic illness depends on what we eat, how we think, and what kind of regular exercise or activities we participate in.

If your life seems to be out of control there may be nutritional reasons for it. There are ways to check how your biochemical pathways are working, which ones are over or underperforming. Knowing and correcting them by choosing the right supplements may do wonders for your mind and body. Curious, first check what health really is.

Otherwise get high potency vitamin B12

 

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