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 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.
“…Particularly impressive in reviewing the reports on broad-spectrum micronutrient effects on mood disorders are (1) the virtual absence of significant adverse effects, (2) effectiveness for both manic and depressive symptoms, (3) the ability of most patients to discontinue their previous psychiatric medications entirely or at least reduce their doses, (4) the frequent reporting of remission rather than simple improvement of symptoms, (5) the low frequency of necessary medication dose adjustments, and (6) the anecdotal reports of long-term “super stability” in the treatment-responsive population, in which hospitalizations and even dose adjustments are rare.
“Disadvantages of this treatment are significant. The lack of replicated RCTs assessing safety and efficacy remains a critical barrier at present. The cost of$150 monthly and the lack of insurance coverage puts these treatments out of consideration for many families, and cost (rather than adverse effects or ineffectiveness) is the most common reason for discontinuation by patients. The treatment typically entails 8 to 15 pills daily for treating mood disorders, which is formidable for some patients, especially children. The drug-nutrient interactions are a challenge to patients when transitioning from conventional medications to the Hardy-Stephan formula (especially if withdrawal syndromes result from tapering of long-term treatments with benzodiazepines, SSRIs, or some antipsychotic agents) and to physicians (who need consultation or training when learning to conduct these transitions). Additional difficulties arise in the rare circumstance when a patient requires hospitalization, which is usually because of patient noncompliance or to unusually severe withdrawal syndromes from conventional medications. Most hospitals do not have these supplements in their formularies, and staff may decline to continue the treatments during hospitalization if they do not have access to a knowledgeable consultant…”
At Hardy Nutritionals®, we have had enough feedback from doctors and patients using our supplements 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; even simply eating a grapefruit can interact strongly with a wide variety of medications.
Our experience is that while Daily Essential Nutrients can initially be taken safely with most medications, both you and your doctor should expect that many 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.
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, it is unlikely that micronutrients are the root cause of the problem.
People who report negative outcomes using Daily Essential Nutrients are usually those who persist with treatments or activities that interfere with the effectiveness of micronutrient therapy. Medications are just one such limiting factor. 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.
Recovering or improving one’s health can be a difficult journey. If you have not yet done so, you may need to take time to examine your desires and define your health goals. For example, you may want to decide if you are committed to the goal of living a medication-free lifestyle.
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 a general rule over-medication will cause an increase in the severity, the frequency, or the number of the side effects of the drug.
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. Published lists of the side effects, interactions, and warnings for almost any drug can be found on a simple, user-friendly online database such as rxlist.com, web MD, or drugs.com.
The knowledgeable product specialists and scientists at Hardy Nutritionals and our 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.
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 are highly individual, and should be determined on a case by case basis. Generally, you and your doctor can know that it is time to reduce the dose of a medication if you begin to experience new drug side effects, or if the side effects that you are already experiencing begin to escalate in severity.
The trick is to reduce psychiatric medications at the right time and in the right increments, but things can get more complicated when multiple different medications are involved. And, of course, everyone’s body is different. Managing medications may also depend on the quality of the initial dosing. Heavily medicated individuals may need to reduce their medications very quickly, while lightly medicated individuals may not have to reduce their drug dose for weeks.
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 over-medication and increase the likelihood of side-effect potentiation.
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 are here to help both you and your physician navigate your path to a full, drug-free life.
*Important Note from Hardy Nutritionals®: If you are planning to transition from psychoactive medications to Daily Essential Nutrients, there are important factors to consider:
Popper CW. Single-micronutrient and broad-spectrum micronutrient approaches for treating mood disorders in youth and adults. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2014 Jul;23(3):591-672.