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Have you ever started taking supplements after being on medication and gradually noticed the medication side effects start to worsen? Turns out, it's a pretty common occurrence. This lesser-known phenomenon is known as “medication potentiation,” and while not much clinical research has been conducted, Hardy Nutritionals has gathered quite a bit of observational data from physicians and patients alike.
First things first, what is medication potentiation?
When a medication is potentiated, its action has strengthened or amplified in the body. This can occur with specific nutrient-drug interactions, like folate being added to psychiatric medication, for example.
Since Hardy’s Daily Essential Nutrients is packed with potent micronutrients that are affecting the brain, it’s not uncommon for users to notice medication potentiation. The clinical-strength level and completeness of DEN can make drugs (current or recent) stronger in the system. This can mean more pronounced side effects from the drugs themselves, even though the micronutrients don't have any serious side effects on their own. Although exacerbating negative side effects is never the goal, there are actually some upsides for supplementing medication with micronutrients.
Lessening Your Dosage
Consider this: if the action of a drug is potentiated, would you need more of it or less? Less!
Clinicians and patients have benefitted from supplementing medication with Hardy’s Daily Essential Nutrients to manage their dosage intake. Many individuals have found that by consistently taking Daily Essential Nutrients, the effects of their medications heighten, and therefore they can decrease their dosage. Of course, this decision is made with a clinician using real data. Luckily, the data is pretty easy to track.
One psychiatrist published a professional opinion about the use of Lithium with Daily Essential Nutrients. In his observation, he noted that Lithium showed signs of being potentiated in his patients anywhere from ten to a hundredfold.
“That’s incredible potentiation,” Dallin Hardy, Director of Product Development at Hardy Nutritionals, emphasizes.
“It’s all about dosing. If you potentiate a small amount of a drug, such that its action is equivalent to a desirable therapeutic dose, that’s great. That’s exactly what you want. But if you potentiate an already therapeutic dose, and then you potentiate that to the point of over-medication, you’re going to get exacerbated side effects and it’s too much. It’s all about dose,” Hardy explains.
The aforementioned psychiatrist found success getting therapeutically relevant dosing without severe side effects using Daily Essential Nutrients as supplementation and lower doses of the prescribed drug. This can be a great tool for patients who don’t want to take high doses of psychiatric drugs or want to tailor their medication management to their lifestyle.
How to Tell If It’s Medication Potentiation
For patients wondering if they’re seeing the effects of medication potentiation, Dallin Hardy says the easiest way to tell is by tracking your side effects.
Consider a treatment effect. If you’re using a medication with micronutrients and getting good results, it’s hard to know if you're maximizing the benefits. Side effects, on the other hand, you can measure rather easily.
“First, you formally review the known and published side effects of that medication. The medications have been rigorously studied; side effects profiles are pretty well documented. You can get this from pharmacies or online,” Dallin explains. “Do a weekly audit. You’re looking for the worsening of existing side effects or the presentation of new side effects.”
Second, timing is pretty important. Patients will notice the effects of Hardy’s Daily Essential Nutrients gradually over time. It’s not a quick “fix.” Similarly, you won’t experience a sudden worsening of side effects. If it’s medication potentiation, the side effects will amplify gradually over time and subside when you stop supplementing with the micronutrients.
Another interesting observation is that individuals who take no medications do not see this drug-nutrient interaction/potentiation, and most individuals seem to do better when medications are reduced completely. Fortunately for those who do need some medication for stability the two are not mutually exclusive.
Why Haven’t You Heard of This Before?
If medication potentiation isn’t an uncommon phenomenon, then why isn’t everyone talking about it? Well, actually we do hear about it, but it seems to be very compartmentalized. We all know about “the grapefruit effect”: that eating grapefruit potentiates certain psychiatric medications.
The world's best-selling medical textbook, The Merck Manual, has recognized for years that food can enhance or inhibit drug action. Yet most of us don’t think of vitamins and minerals as modifiers of drug action. Typically, you might not notice any difference if you were using one or two or even a few vitamins. The effect becomes more obvious when you use a very complete multivitamin-mineral supplement like clinical-strength micronutrients and take therapeutic doses that begin optimizing metabolism and brain function.
At the end of the day, the main goal is to make sure patients are receiving a positive quality of life. If drug reduction corresponds with improving quality of life, this can be a great tool for patients and clinicians to explore.
“Potentiation shouldn’t be assumed if it’s not happening and it shouldn’t be assumed when it could be measured,” warns Dallin.
“If Daily Essential Nutrients added to medication gives a great outcome, why change it? Until the side effect changes and it’s no longer a desirable outcome, and then adjust [the medication dose] accordingly.”
Another thing to remember is that healing is a process, not an event. Daily Essential Nutrients presents a gradual improvement to physiology, and so results will build over time.
Ready to learn more about how supplementing with micronutrients could change your life? Visit HardyNutritionals.com and talk to your clinician today about Daily Essential Nutrients.