Dr. David Brownstein, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Dr. David Brownstein, M.D.

Tags: diabetes | CoQ10 | vitamin B12 | cancer

Diabetes Drugs Deplete Nutrients

By David Brownstein, M.D.   |   Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 04:41 PM

Nearly two-thirds of the adult population of the United States is either obese or overweight, and current estimates indicate that 1 in 3 Americans has diabetes or prediabetes. Needless to say, diabetic medications are blockbuster drugs for Big Pharma.
What is little known by doctors and patients is that these drugs also cause many nutritional deficiencies. Older diabetic drugs such as sulfonylureas (e.g., Micronase, Glynase, and Diabeta) have been shown to cause deficiency of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a vitamin-like substance that is integral to mitochondrial function.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells. They produce the majority of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy molecules that power our muscles and give us strength and energy. For that reason, CoQ10 deficiency is a recipe for disaster.
Illnesses associated with CoQ10 deficiency include heart disease, congestive heart failure, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and cancer. It is no wonder that sulfonylurea use is associated with an increased heart attack risk.
Unfortunately, the newer class of diabetic medications, called biguanides (e.g., metformin), are no better. These drugs suppress the amount of glucose the liver produces, which, in turn, reduces the amount of insulin the body produces.
It frustrates me when I see even holistic doctors promoting the use of these drugs because, like their sulfonylurea cousins, biguanides produce CoQ10 deficiency. Furthermore, this class of medications causes folic acid deficiency, which leads to anemia, cardiovascular problems, a weakened immune system, low energy, and brain fog. I have personally seen many of these problems in patients who were on these medications for the long term.
But the worst nutritional problem that comes from biguanides is vitamin B12 deficiency. As I mentioned, long-term B12 deficiency leads to a condition called pernicious anemia. Patients suffering with pernicious anemia struggle with persistent neurological problems, heart failure, brain fog, and unrelenting fatigue.
Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to permanent pernicious anemia symptoms, for which there is no treatment. Any medication that depletes vitamin B12 demands that the user take B12 injections at a dose of 1 mg per week. Oral versions of vitamin B12 will not work for the elderly or those taking antacid medications.

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