Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Many common drugs harm your brain....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 6-7-2016

One class of drugs used often for a surprising variety of things both shrinks and harms your brain!

This is particularly true if you take one of these drugs routinely for more than a few months.

Since the drugs are only modestly effective and there are effective alternatives including non drug alternatives, you CAN avoid these drugs but you have to know to do so!

There ARE ways to help your brain recover if you stop the drugs and use those methods in time.

But avoiding the damage in the first place is best!

Dr Al Sears sent this email listing some of the drugs AND the many uses they have:

Most of us have taken one or more of these on a temporary basis.

(Mercifully I never took any of them long myself! And, now I won’t take them!)

But the research he found shows that it is far safer to use alternatives! 

And, it is very important to NOT take them more than a few days.

Here’s Dr Sears’ email beginning with the many uses this class of drugs is used for.

[As I often do, my comments are in these kind of brackets.]

“Benadryl or Dimetapp for allergies and hay fever.

Unisom is a common sleep aid, and everyone’s heard of Paxil for depression.

[Many other sleep drugs are in this class and have other even more dangerous side effects!  I’ve made the case that they should never be taken at all in other posts! 

There are other treatments for depression that work, the current antidepressants score no better than chance and have other side effects AND many other antidepressant drugs are in this class of drugs!

The worst ones are the “tranquilizers.”  They are all in this class of drugs! Librium and Xanax are two examples.]

We hear about Dramamine for motion sickness, and Demerol as a pain killer.

But all of these meds have one dangerous thing in common. They all belong to a class of drugs called anticholinergics (ACs). These drugs work by blocking the action of acetylcholine in the brain. And that’s risky business…..”

“You see, acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter. It carries messages throughout your nervous system and stimulates muscle contractions throughout your body.

AC drugs stop that stimulation. They block acetylcholine from getting into nerve cells. That can shut down natural movement of muscles in the gut, lungs, heart, urinary tract, and other parts of the body.

Perhaps worst of all, it affects the parts of the brain involved in learning and memory. I’ve seen confusion, memory loss and declining mental skills in my patients who come to me on these drugs.

New research confirms what I’ve seen in my own practice. Studies now link AC drugs to cognitive impairment and dementia.

Researchers looked at patients’ brains using PET scans and MRIs. They found that people taking AC drugs had reduced brain sizes. They also had lower brain metabolism.

In other words, their brains weren’t as active. It was especially true in the hippocampus — the part of the brain associated with memory.1

Another study in JAMA Internal Medicine found a link between long-term use of AC drugs and dementia. Pharmacists from the University of Washington tracked nearly 3,500 men and women aged 65 and older. They used pharmacy records to determine all the drugs each person took in the 10 years before starting the study.

Then they tracked the people for seven years.

Results showed people who used AC drugs were more likely to develop dementia. And their dementia risk increased with the cumulative dose over the years. Taking an AC for more than three years meant a 54% higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for just a few months.2

But even taking AC drugs for a few months can interfere with your ability to think. A study in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia found that AC drugs cause cognitive problems when taken continuously for as few as 60 days.3

That’s why I don’t prescribe AC drugs to my patients. It’s not worth risking your mind when safer, natural therapies are available.

Here are some alternatives I suggest to my patients.

1. Natural Sleep Aids

Instead of Unisom or other dangerous sleeping pills, I recommend these 100% natural alternatives. You can get them at most health food stores.

Melatonin. This natural sleep hormone reverses insomnia by resetting your clock. But make sure you get the right kind. Pills get destroyed in your gut before you get the full effect. I recommend melatonin sprays. Take 500 micrograms to 1 mg about 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep. 

[You can also take melatonin in a chewable lozenge that is absorbed in your mouth which also works.  Health food stores carry them.  Also, older people do best on 2 or 3 mg; but younger people may do better with 1 mg or even a half 1 mg tablet.]

Valerian Root. This herb has a calming effect on the nerves. It helps you fall asleep and get better quality sleep. Take 300 to 600 mg, 30 minutes to two hours before going to bed. It may take up to two weeks of daily usage to get the full benefits. 

[Valerian also increases your deep and most restful sleep AND releases growth hormone!  The effective ingredient has a harsh smell, so putting the container inside a sealable container when not taking it is a good idea!]

Tryptophan. This amino acid is found in sleep-inducing foods milk and turkey. I use a starting dose of 250 mg a half an hour before bedtime. If that doesn’t produce good quality sleep, increase the dose to 500 mg. You can enhance its effect by taking it with a glass of warm milk.

[I’m not as impressed with Tryptophan or 5http, a precursor to tryptophan.

But five things are worth considering instead:

Regular vigorous exercise most days of every week, particularly in the morning.  People who do that fall asleep much easier and sleep much better!

150 to 250 mg of GABA at bedtime.  GABA is your brain’s slow down and rest messenger.  And adding about that much also increases deep sleep and helps you fall asleep faster.

A sleeping mask to create a dark sleeping effect even if your room isn’t dark.  This helps you sleep better and release your own melatonin.

Tart cherry extract early in the day AND at bedtime was tested to give people with insomnia and HOUR more time asleep!

Always set your alarm for the same time of and get up when it goes off.  And, to the extent you can go to bed about  7 hours before that.  (You sleep better when your body can program around a regular schedule!)]

2. Natural Antihistamines

When your immune system spots an invader, your body releases defensive chemicals called histamines. Itching, sneezing and even hives are all signs that histamines are at work. Instead of reaching for AC drugs like Benadryl and Dimetapp, try these alternatives.

[Surprisingly, Dr Sears doesn’t list Quercetin.  When you take 500 mg a day it has been shown to have significant antihistamine effects!  And Dr Sears himself recommends quercetin for its many other benefits!]

[Also, see his comments on vitamin D3 below!  Allergies are when your immune system goes after the wrong things.  And, taking enough D3 as he describes also has antihistamine effects because it helps your immune system ONLY go after harmful things!]

Marshmallow Root. Used in traditional European cough medicines, it’s known to relieve irritation of mucous membranes. And it helps the body expel excess mucus. Look for dried root, extracts, teas, tinctures or capsules in your health food store.

Burdock. Both the seeds and the root help soothe the mucous membranes. It’s also used to treat colds and sore throats.

Acerola Cherry. Considered a “superfruit,” this cherry has eight times more vitamin C than an orange and acts as a natural antihistamine.

3. Nature’s Antidepressant

Boosting vitamin D can help get you off dangerous AC antidepressants like Paxil. It helps the brain make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. In fact, vitamin D can boost serotonin by anywhere from double to 30 times. 4

[It’s even BETTER than that!  D3 boosts serotonin IN THE BRAIN.  The ineffective antidepressant drugs do NOT.  They boost it in the blood only where it just causes problems!]

I recommend a daily intake of 8,000 IUs of vitamin D. Here are the best ways to get it.

Sunshine. Getting some midday sun unprotected for about 10 to 15 minutes a day is good for you. It will give you between 3,000 and 5,000 IUs of vitamin D.
Vitamin D Foods. A serving of cooked wild salmon or mackerel provides roughly 350 IU vitamin D. Sardines or tuna in oil provide about 225 IUs of vitamin D. And one tablespoon of cod liver oil contains nearly 1,400 IUs.

Vitamin D3 Supplements. I recommend taking a supplement of vitamin D3 called cholecalciferol. It’s the same vitamin D3 that your body produces.

[Summer sun exposure can easily give you over 10,000 iu day.  So taking 8,000 to 10,000 iu a day of D3 is quite safe.]

Just be sure to avoid the synthetic D2 form found in most multivitamins. It’s less potent and less absorbable.

[Worse, the synthetic form of D2 is potentially harmful to take in amounts of only 4,000 iu a day or more.  So, only use D3!  It’s much more effective and 25 times safer than D2!]

[Also do regular vigorous exercise most days of every week, particularly in the morning.

Doing this directly lowers depression a bit.

Then add omega 3 oils from fish oil supplements and wild caught fish and take DHA supplements.

Doing both exercise and that much DHA and other omega 3 oils grows new brain cells and repairs the minor damage that causes some cases of depression. (It causes release of the nerve and brain cell growth hormone, BDNF.)

AND, omega 3 oils from fish oil supplements and wild caught fish and DHA supplements also cuts irritability and depression directly!!]

[4. Ginger drunk as a tonic with a tablespoon of the ground spice mixed into a glass of chilled water or taken as a supplement or both sharply raises your tolerance for motion and prevents nausea.

This can make Dramamine totally unnecessary or you can take a lot less and still prevent nausea and motion sickness.]  

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Blogger David said...

Anticholinergic drugs are often used as anti-depressants and tranquilizers and sleeping pills.

These drugs have other damaging side effects and most of them do NOT deliver what is needed.

But using them to stop excessive urinary urgency may work. Unfortunately they harm your brain if you take them anyway:

These researchers have shown that the Anticholinergic drugs kill brain cells by depriving them of acetyl choline.

This causes rapid aging and nerve cell death.

It also said that overactive bladder has had a first line treatment of Anticholinergic drugs

These include:

Anticholinergic medications include:
Oxybutynin (Ditropan XL, Oxytrol)
Tolterodine (Detrol)
Darifenacin (Enablex)
Solifenacin (Vesicare)
Trospium (Sanctura)
Fesoterodine (Toviaz)

A class of drugs that may stop overactive bladder other than those are beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonists.

Stopping the causes to get off those may make the most sense! Cranberry extract and probiotics and if needed, antibiotics may clear the bacteria that can cause this.

Kegel exercises may increase real control and the feeling of control enough to avoid needing drugs.

But unlike the brain harming drugs that have been used -- see list below, beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonists may be safe to use while doing this.

Understanding how chemical changes in the brain affect Alzheimer's disease
A new study from Western University is helping to explain why the long-term use of common anticholinergic drugs used to treat conditions like allergies and overactive bladder lead to an...
-----Original Message-----
From: Medical News Today
To: iehealth
Sent: Fri, Jun 24, 2016 2:05 pm
Subject: MNT daily newsletter - 24 June 2016

8:28 AM  
Blogger David said...

"Now, just last year we found that taking anticholinergics --
[allery medicines] like Benadryl, Mucinex, Sudafed or Contac --
for between one and two years increases your chances of dementia by 23%. Taking them for three or more years kicks that risk up to 54%."

David Blyweiss MD also added to the grim details of the harm these drugs do and listed some natural antihistamines;

"Antihistamines Shrink Your Brain:

People who take anticholinergic drugs perform much worse on cognitive tests than people who don’t take them. They tend to affect your short-term memory, verbal reasoning, planning skills and ability to solve problems.
But is it simply low levels of acetylcholine that causes these problems?

That’s certainly one part of the puzzle. But there’s another one that is much more disturbing.
It turns out that folks who use these drugs also have reduced brain volume. Their brains are literally shrinking!
Plus, people taking anticholinergics have lower levels of glucose metabolism -- a biomarker for brain activity -- in the hippocampus. Even worse, reduced cholinergic activity is linked to an increase in hippocampal cell death.
This is the region of the brain associated with memory. And it’s the one where Alzheimer’s strikes first -- even before any symptoms appear.

Now, I often see patients who take these drugs daily to control sinus problems, help them sleep better and shut down hay fever symptoms."

8:36 AM  
Blogger David said...

David Blyweiss MD also listed some natural antihistamines; and a supplement to take that may help you detox if you have been taking anticholinergic drugs.

To take control of allergy and hay fever symptoms, the first thing you should do is stock up on colorful fruits and veggies. Apples, citrus fruits, grapes, broccoli, red onions, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables are all packed with allergy-fighting quercetin that blocks histamine release. [Eating organic vegetables and fruit daily has multiple health benefits too. In addition, if you are working to turn allergies down or off consider taking 500 mg a day of quercetin too. It is a safe antihistamine and has an anti-aging effect on your mitochondria.]

I also recommend taking a butterbur supplement. It contains a substance called petasine that’s just as good as an antihistamine, but without the drowsiness. I recommend 50 to 75 mg of a standardized supplement twice a day.

For chronic sinus problems, add the powder from one probiotic capsule to your regular nasal flushes. Use a neti pot, rubber ear bulb or spray bottle to deliver it into your nasal passages. [Always sterilize the water and let it cool first. Also a Product called Panasilver kills resistant sinus bacteria because it kills bacteria even if they have protective biofilms.]

And if you’ve been taking an antihistamine for awhile now, it’s important to restore your levels of acetylcholine. This is also a good idea if you take other anticholinergic drugs – like sleeping pills, overactive bladder medications, Paxil or Demerol. Here’s a chart of all drugs with known anticholinergic activity. [We listed that first.]
The best way to do this is to supplement with CDP-choline (also known as citicoline). Just 100 mg daily can help improve verbal memory and effectively treat age-related mental decline.

8:43 AM  

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