I have high blood pressure and my doctor recommended a diuretic and another medicine to relax my blood vessels. Do you think I should take it?—J. S., Sacramento, California
Answer: I couldn't possibly know what's right for you, but if you decide to take a prescription diuretic or other drug, there are certain things you need to know to stay safe. For example, this: Diuretics or "water pills" and other blood pressure medications in general, often cause you to pee out important life-giving nutrients! These nutrients are necessary to make other organs run efficiently. These nutrients are needed for mood, sleep and muscle health.
Drug-induced nutrient depletions are my pet peeve, so much so, I wrote a book on it! Drug Muggers is a number one Amazon best-seller if that tells you how much people rely on it. Right now, I will explain for all the world to hear, how popular medications lead to new diseases. Having this information in your back pocket means you can say to your doctor, "Hey, I have these side effects, do you mind if I grab some vitamins and minerals to offset the imbalance that my drug is creating?" Or you an say this too, "Doc, are you sure I have this disease, or could it be a side effect from the first drug you gave me?" Knowing about drug muggers enables you to put back what you are peeing out, and when your nutrient status is restored, you are less likely to be mistakenly diagnosed with a disease you really don't have.
Don't just go off blood pressure medications without having a Plan B in place, and your physician's approval. These drugs have a place and are used to reduce edema and fluid retention in your legs, and to ease the shortness of breath that some of you experience as a result of congestion of fluid in your lungs.
Loop diuretics (furosemide, bumetanide)- Reduces calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin C. Loop diuretics are the second biggest drug mugger I can think of, right behind acid blockers! When you take a loop diuretic, you can expect to become depleted in these nutrients within weeks, meaning all kinds of symptoms pop up that look like new diseases. So to make sure you don't suffer while taking this medication, I suggest you get a high-quality form of each of those nutrients, or a medical food that is approved by your physician. A multi won't do.
Potassium-sparing (amiloride, triamterene, spironolactone)- These are considered relatively weak diuretics and often used in combination with stronger ones. These reduce calcium, zinc and folate. A reduction in these can worsen your ability to detoxify and rid yourself of poisons (by cramping your methylation pathway), and weaken your bones, cause spasms, cramps, cardiac rhythm disturbances and poor libido. A comprehensive version of this article (including more popular medications) is posted at my website, suzycohen.com.