Is it safe to take Daily Essential Nutrients with medications?
The short answer is yes – if you follow the guidelines we give! We encourage all individuals who are currently taking medications to work closely with their doctor because all medication levels should be monitored while using Daily Essential Nutrients. The main reason is that people who take Daily Essential Nutrients have a reduced need for most medications over time – especially psychiatric medications. As the nutrients begin to normalize body chemistry, people feel over-medicated until they reduce their psychiatric medication doses.
In his comprehensive review of micronutrient therapy in psychiatry, published in the peer-reviewed journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America in 2014, Dr. Charles Popper of Harvard University’s McLean Hospital discussed among other things the interplay between micronutrients and conventional medications.
One of the things he considered “particularly impressive in reviewing the reports on broad-spectrum micronutrient effects on mood disorders” was “the ability of most patients to discontinue their previous psychiatric medications entirely or at least reduce their doses.”
On the other hand, he identified as one of the “disadvantages of this treatment” that “drug-nutrient interactions are a challenge to patients when transitioning from conventional medications to [micronutrients]…” He clarified further by saying that the transition away from medications can be especially difficult “if withdrawal syndromes result from the tapering of long-term treatments with benzodiazepines, SSRIs, or some antipsychotic agents” and he asserted that most physicians “need consultation or training when learning to conduct these transitions” beyond their standard, formal education.
At Hardy Nutritionals®, we have had enough feedback from doctors and patients using our micronutrients to know exactly what Dr. Popper is talking about, but the concept of drug-nutrient interactions is neither new nor alarming. It is well-known that significant diet changes can create a need to adjust medication dosing, and even simply eating a grapefruit can throw an otherwise well-dosed medication out of whack.
Our experience is that while Daily Essential Nutrients can initially be taken safely with most medications, both you and your doctor should expect that most types of medications will need to be adjusted or gradually eliminated while using Daily Essential Nutrients. An optimally functioning, healthy body has no need for medications, so it should be no surprise that using a natural intervention as powerful and comprehensive as Daily Essential Nutrients might eliminate the need for certain medications or at least require dose reductions.
If you are taking any medication of any kind, it is strongly recommended that you are monitored by a physician who is familiar with micronutrient therapy and the medications that you are taking. The knowledgeable Product Specialists and scientists at Hardy Nutritionals® can direct both you and your doctor to resources that can help.
Why is it so important to understand your medication side effects if you are taking micronutrients and medications?
If you are taking medications, frequently review their potential side effects, using a resource such as Drugs.com, RxList.com, or WebMD.com. As your body responds to the nutrients, you may need less medication; increased side effects may indicate that medications need to be reduced. We strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor when altering your treatment regimen and before adjusting your medication dosing.
Consider the severe negative side effects that might occur if a healthy person ingests a drug unnecessarily. On the other hand, negative outcomes are very rare when a healthy individual ingests additional micronutrients in the right form and balance, so when you are evaluating your results be sure to keep in mind that even if your condition seems to worsen when you take Daily Essential Nutrients and medications, it is unlikely that micronutrients are the root cause of the problem.
Many adverse events reported by our customers to our Product Specialists are actually just amplified medication effects that can be found right in the official side-effect lists of their medications and which do not occur in drug-free individuals.
Because it is always a possibility that a medication that you are taking may interact with Daily Essential Nutrients, you should become familiar with the side effects of your medications so that you can learn to distinguish between the symptoms of your illness, the effects of micronutrients, and the side effects of the drugs you are on.
When taking medications simultaneously with Daily Essential Nutrients, how will I know if my medication dose needs to be reduced?
Nutrient-drug interactions vary widely, but as general rule overmedication will cause an increase in the severity, the frequency, or the number of the side effects of the drug. If your medication side-effects increase in severity or frequency this is an indicator that the medication dose should be reduced.
The knowledgeable Product Specialists and scientists at Hardy Nutritionals and their online reference materials can guide both you and your doctor to resources that will help you successfully manage drug interactions, drug withdrawal, and residual drug detoxification.
What does over-medication feel like?
It depends what medication you’re taking. Anyone taking a medication together with Daily Essential Nutrients should go to www.Drugs.com, search for each drug they are taking, and assess how many of the drug’s side effects they are experiencing. Side effects are listed in the “Side Effects and Drug Interactions” section for each drug.
For example, Abilify (aripiprazole) can cause side effects that can include nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, dizziness, akathisia, anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. If you were taking Abilify and began to feel an increase in any of these symptoms over time, you would know that you’re over-medicated.
Doctors and researchers have found that when people are taking Daily Essential Nutrients, the best overall outcome is almost always achieved when all psychiatric medications are completely removed.
How can I successfully transition from psychiatric medications to Daily Essential Nutrients?
Adjustments to psychiatric medications rarely need to be made when you first begin taking Daily Essential Nutrients. However, as micronutrients gradually begin to enhance the function of your mind & body, psychiatric medications often become more of a hindrance than a help. In fact, doctors and researchers have found that when people are taking Daily Essential Nutrients, the best overall outcome is almost always achieved when all psychiatric medications are completely removed.
Managing psychiatric drugs during micronutrient therapy is fairly simple in theory – you just reduce the dose of the drug whenever signs of overmedication occur; this means that medication dose reduction schedules should be determined on an individual basis. Generally, you and your doctor can know that it is time to reduce the dose of a medication if you begin to experience increased drug side effects.
The key is to reduce psychiatric medications at the right time and in the right increments. Often several medications are co-prescribed to control symptoms that one medication may not be effective for alone. Often one prevents depression while the other prevents mania or mood swings. These medications need to be reduced together and at a slower rate in order to maintain the balance that they exert together
Reducing psychiatric medications too quickly may cause extremely uncomfortable withdrawal syndromes or a rebound of the symptoms that the medication has been managing. On the other hand, failure to reduce psychiatric drugs will result in overmedication and increase the likelihood of side-effects.
Successful transition from medications to Daily Essential Nutrients is best achieved under the supervision of a health care professional who is familiar with both Daily Essential Nutrients and the particular drugs involved, but you can take ownership of your own health by learning all you can on your own.
Your journey to wellness will not be without its ups and downs, but the knowledgeable product specialists and scientists at Hardy Nutritionals can help both you and your physician navigate your path to a full, drug-free life.
When and how should I start reducing my medications?
Health professionals who are familiar with Daily Essential Nutrients will recommend that you reduce your medications gradually when you start feeling over-medication symptoms. For most medications, we recommend reducing by no more than 1/8th at a time. After a reduction, monitor your symptoms and drug side effects carefully. It is important to work with a healthcare professional through this important transition time.
How soon can I reduce my medications again?
In general, you can expect that when you reduce your medications, you will experience an effect opposite to what you felt when you started taking the medication. So if a medication helps you sleep, you could experience the opposite when you reduce it by 1/8th – difficulty getting to sleep. When you reduce by 1/8th, these withdrawal symptoms should be tolerable and short-lived.
How do I know if I am experiencing drug withdrawal and how can I manage it?
In general, you can expect that when you stop using a drug you will experience the opposite effect that it had when you first began taking it. For example, if you stop taking a sleep-inducing medication you may experience insomnia until your body’s natural mechanisms adjust to helping you sleep again without the drug.
This example illustrates two important principles: First, withdrawal symptoms can be remarkably similar to the illness that the drug was intended to treat, and second, after discontinuing a drug it may take some time before you can know if the symptoms you experience are due to drug withdrawal or an underlying illness.
More specifically, medication withdrawal can be lumped into two general categories: immediate withdrawal and protracted withdrawal.
Immediate withdrawal symptoms vary, depending on the medication, the dosage and duration of use, and the individual. Medications that are most likely to cause withdrawal symptoms often list “withdrawal syndrome” as one of the possible side effects. Many psychiatric medications, pain medications, and recreational drugs can cause withdrawal syndromes, which are much more significant if the drug is discontinued all at once (i.e. “cold turkey”). Withdrawal syndromes manifest with diverse, often painful physical and psychological symptoms, including but not limited to intense drug craving, anxiety, depression, insomnia, nausea, perspiration, body aches, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. To improve stability and lessen overall withdrawal effects, medications should be reduced only after over-medication side effects emerge. Therefore, it is preferable to reduce the dose of withdrawal-inducing medications over time and in small increments under the guidance of a health professional that is well-trained in medication reduction and discontinuation.
Protracted withdrawal includes drug effects that can appear long after a medication has been discontinued, and it is commonly experienced for some of the same drugs that cause immediate withdrawal. Protracted withdrawal symptoms can be the result of: 1) slow recovery from metabolic changes induced by the drug in one’s body; 2) stressors including underdeveloped life skills due to constantly relying on the drug to manage the stresses of daily life; 3) side effects caused by the release of drug residues stored in poorly perfused body tissues (i.e. fat and muscle); or any combination of these three.
The types of activities that release drug residues in the body include physical exertion, weight loss, stress, prolonged sun or heat exposure, liver or bowel cleanses, massage, chiropractic therapies, or acupuncture.
Protracted withdrawal symptoms caused by the release of stored psychiatric medications back into the bloodstream are often similar to the immediate withdrawal symptoms experienced during discontinuation of the medication, and individuals often report that they feel medicated again. Since protracted withdrawal symptoms induced by psychiatric medications often include insomnia, anxiety, depression, agitation, irritability, and fits of uncontrollable crying, the protracted withdrawal effects can easily be mistaken for a return of psychiatric symptoms.
Many people have found that taking an amino acid blend or a protein isolate can help manage both withdrawal and post-withdrawal drug symptoms, particularly for benzodiazepines and other non-opiate psychiatric medications. For this reason, Hardy Nutritionals Balanced Free-Form Aminos can be an important tool for users of Daily Essential Nutrients who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from opiate-like psychiatric drugs and painkillers can often be managed with high doses of vitamin C – preferably a liposomal form. Since the only known side effect of vitamin C is diarrhea, any dose necessary to ameliorate withdrawal symptoms is acceptable as long as it doesn’t cause diarrhea.
What products can I take to help with withdrawal symptoms?
Because the transition away from medications is sometimes tricky, we recommend a few nutritional tools that can significantly help many people with their drug withdrawal symptoms. We often recommend our Hardy Nutritionals® Free-form Aminos product for individuals looking for some relief from medication withdrawal. The essential amino acids in Free-form Aminos help to bind the medications up and get them out of the body, helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms. To help manage the remaining anxiety-related symptoms we recommend our Hardy Nutritionals® Inositol Powder which helps to calm the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Many use Phosphatidyl Choline to slow racing thoughts and address other troubling symptoms resulting from the elevated mood.
Some have also found that higher doses of vitamin C can help manage drug withdrawal symptoms as well.
Do antibiotics interfere with the effectiveness of Daily Essential Nutrients?
Some individuals with psychiatric symptoms who take antibiotics while using Daily Essential Nutrients may experience a worsening of mood & behavioral symptoms, and this is to be expected because psychiatric symptoms are a very common side effect of oral antibiotics in this situation. (1) This effect has not been observed with intravenous antibiotics, confirming that the interaction occurs in the gastrointestinal tract.
It seems that the reason for this gut-brain connection is that oral antibiotics indiscriminately kill many beneficial gut bacteria along with the harmful microorganisms. Microbial digestion by health-promoting bacteria is critical to the release of nutrients from food, so a damaged gut microbiome in turn severely compromises nutrient absorption and leaves the digestive tract much more susceptible to stress and inflammation. So, for example, individuals whose psychiatric symptoms are managed effectively by Daily Essential Nutrients may experience a return of psychiatric symptoms if they take oral antibiotics because the antibiotics compromise the absorption of nutrients.
Clinical experience has shown that using 1.5 times the recommended micronutrient dose of Daily Essential Nutrients for the duration of oral antibiotic treatment and for a short time afterward will greatly reduce the risk of psychiatric symptoms caused by a round of oral antibiotics.
Adding a probiotic and prebiotic combination (such as Hardy Nutritionals Greens & Probiotics) during antibiotic treatment and for one to two weeks after completion is also recommended.
If an individual has a history of fungal or microbial infections a strong anti-fungal agent (such as Hardy Nutritionals Olive Leaf Extract or a prescription if warranted) is recommended for the duration of antibiotic treatment and for a short time thereafter.
(1) Ly D, DeLisi LE. Can antibiotics cause a psychosis?: Case report and review of the literature. Schizophr Res. 2017 Nov;189:204-207. PubMed PMID: 28185785.
What else do I need to know about taking medications with Daily Essential Nutrients?
The most important thing you can do is to gain an understanding on the over-medication and withdrawal symptoms specific to your drug(s) so that you can successfully taper off your medications. We can't stress enough how important it is to visit Drugs.com and research the "Side Effects & Drug Interactions" of each medication you are taking (or have taken recently).
This journey can feel a bit rocky at times, but educating yourself will help immensely to make your way smoother. Always remember that many others have traveled this road before you and that they have found a very fulfilling and productive life after mental illness by providing their bodies with the nourishing essential nutrients they need.
Reducing medications in the right way is essential to your success when you are taking Daily Essential Nutrients.
In addition to the obvious case of psychiatric medications, many other drugs, recreational substances, and certain herbal preparations all have psychoactive effects. Alcohol, recreational drugs, caffeine, and even certain types of over-the-counter cold & flu antihistamines can be mood and mind-altering, and their use should be minimized or eliminated during micronutrient therapy. General anesthesia and many pain killers also have psychotropic effects and should be used judiciously if at all.
Finally, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy may create mood swings in spite of the mood-stabilizing effects of Daily Essential Nutrients.
Anti-nutritional medications include oral antibiotics and antacids. Both reduce the body’s ability to extract nutrients from the food by interfering with either acidic digestion or microbial digestion, and therefore a higher dose of Daily Essential Nutrients may be necessary if you are taking antacids or antibiotics.
Examples of medication interactions with a specific ingredient in Daily Essential Nutrients include folate interacting with certain cancer medications, iodine with certain thyroid medications, and vitamin K with certain anticoagulant medications. Such problems can usually be managed by appropriately adjusting the dose of the medication. Consult with a physician trained in micronutrient therapy before taking any medications simultaneously with Daily Essential Nutrients.
Where can my doctor and I get more information about using Daily Essential Nutrients?
Based on published research, our own extensive experience, and feedback from healthcare professionals who have worked with thousands of people like you, Hardy's Nutritionals have compiled detailed clinical reference materials to help your doctor understand how to help you transition safely from psychiatric medications to Daily Essential Nutrients.