All you supplement-takers and prescription-users, listen up: We’re all for tapping into your inner mixologist, but keep it to the cocktails. Blisstree’s resident hot naturopathic doctor, John Dempster, gave us the heads up about some dangerous supplement-prescription drug mixes that you may want to avoid.
Check out the top five risky mixtures:
1. Milk Thistle and Birth Control Pills
Milk Thistle, a powerful liver tonifier and popular detox supplement, may actually flush external hormones through the body along with last night’s cocktail. It has the potential to increase the clearance of external hormones – like the trusty Pill. While the risk is small, it still exists. Thus, a quick reminder for those self-prescribing liver cleanses to consult with a health care professional with training in both nutritional and pharmaceutical medicine, such as a Naturopathic Doctor.
2. St. John’s Wort and SSRI Antidepressants
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a popular type of antidepressant (Prozac is one example) and among some of the top-selling drugs today. And with depression – both diagnosed and undiagnosed – reaching record levels, many are also turning to the natural mood-lifter, St. John’s Wort. But think before you mix: Conjunctive use of SSRIs and St. John’s Wort increases risk of Serotonin Syndrome, whose symptoms include increased heart rate, sweating, kidney stress, and even seizures.
3. Calcium and Antibiotics
Most of us have likely been on antibiotics at some point in our lives. Most women seek calcium daily for bone strength. Caution: Calcium has the potential to reduce the effects of antibiotics thus resulting in a lingering infection.
4. Ginko Biloba and Blood Thinners
Ginko Biloba, a commonly used to boost memory and cognitive function, can actually enhance the effect of blood thinners such as Coumadin. This increases risk of internal bleeding and hemorrhage during surgical procedures.
5. Licorice Root and Anti-Hypertensives
Licorice has the potential to work as an antagonist against Anti-Hypertensives medications such as Norvasc. This could possibly result in a reduction of the drug’s effect – posing a risk for increased blood pressure.
Nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals can often prescribed safely and effectively together, but you should always consult a licensed ND before combining any medication and nutritional supplements.
John Dempster is a licensed (and hot) Naturopathic Doctor who practices in Toronto. Find his practice here. Dr. Dempster regularly contributes to Blisstree about health and wellness issues. Have a question for him? Leave it in the comments section, below.