Eliminate Unnecessary Prescription Drug Side Effects, with transcript
DR. JOE NIEUSMA is the CEO and Chief Toxicologist at Superior Toxicology & Wellness, an international scientific consulting firm that he founded. For the past 30 years, Dr. Joe has been active in toxicology research. He has assisted private clients to review their medical records and help them to eliminate unnecessary prescription drugs from their profile.
Frank Samson: Welcome to Boomers Today. I'm your host, Frank Samson. Of course, each week we bring you important and useful information on issues facing baby boomers, which I fall smack in the middle of, their parents and other loved ones. And I just want to thank everybody for all their support. Our listeners are growing each and every day, and it's because of you, because you're sharing our show with friends and family, and I want to thank you for that.
So again, thank you for all your support and our listeners are growing each and every day because we have fantastic guests, and today is no different. We have with us Dr. Joe Nieusma, who is the CEO and chief toxicologist at Superior Toxicology and Wellness, an international scientific consulting firm that he founded. For the past 30 years Dr. Joe has been active in toxicology research. He has assisted private clients to review their medical records and helped them to eliminate unnecessary prescription drugs from their profile. So, Dr. Joe, thank you much for joining us on Boomers Today on this important subject.
Dr. Joe Nieusma: Sure. Frank, I appreciate the invitation and I'm glad to be here. Hopefully we have a great conversation.
Frank: Oh, I know we will. I know we will. It's an important subject. Have you ever been watching TV late at night you probably try to skip through all those commercials advertising prescription drugs, half of the commercial is spent talking about all the risks and side effects.
So how can the public trust what’s being said?
Joe: Well, Frank, I’ve spent 30 years in toxicology, and I've dealt with human exposure to pharmaceuticals and to chemical agents and to microbes as my bread and butter. I was in charge of setting the amount of a drug product that the people in the drug plants that are making the tablets and capitals can be exposed to before there's adverse effects. The other thing I did really a lot of was figuring out how much of drug A could be found in drug B before it's an issue for the users. One of the mantras in the pharmaceutical industry that the public really has absolutely no idea about is the saying, "Today's side effects lead to tomorrow's therapies," because they track all these adverse effects through the doctor's offices and they get funneled back to the pharmaceutical companies.
For instance, the drug Propecia that is marketed, I believe it's by Merck but don't hold me to that, for male pattern baldness was originally a prostate cancer drug, and during clinical trials when they were trying to treat the prostate cancer, they noticed that these men were growing hair everywhere, including on top of their head. So, that side effect turned into the next therapy.
That's why you get those commercials where you have the fast-talking undistinguishable speech, which talks about all this bad potential stuff that could happen. The trust has to come from, A, your physician, which has about three and a half seconds to talk to you in the office, B, the pharmacist, which has more time to talk to you if you take the time to do the counseling. You have to be your own best advocate, and you have to be able to weed through that information and determine, is what I'm trying to change worth the risk/benefit to taking that drug and what else it could possibly do?
And there's a lot of information online about drugs. Drugs.com is a great reference. People can type in what they're taking on drugs.com and they can get pages and pages and pages of information on it.
Frank: Do you work with individuals themselves on trying to eliminate these unnecessary drugs?
Joe: I do.
Frank: So, you are then giving advice to them or you're giving advice to their doctor? How does that work?
Joe: Well, I call it the HOPE program, which stands for health optimization prescription evaluation. What I do is I get the information from individuals, what drugs are taken, how long they've been taking it, what dose they're on, what they're taking it for, and if there's any changes to their life that they think are drug related. Physicians don't have time to talk to people in the office, and more times than not a physician had a semester of pharmacology in medical school and they're only as smart as the last drug rep that came through their office.
I read a statistic that up to 1% of physicians have been compensated by pharmaceutical companies in some way, most of them it's just meals, but the physicians are rewarded for writing those prescriptions and they don't always go back in time to see what else these people are on.
I mean, how many boomers have those big pill packs and they separate them all out so they know? They get up in the morning, they have their coffee, they take their pills, eat breakfast, there's some of them that they have to take in the morning. Some of them they have to take with meals. Some of them they have to take at night.
What I do is, I learn about all the drugs that they’re on, I take the time to understand their side effects, and then I work with the client to determine if it’s really necessary for them to be taking all the drugs that they’re taking.
Frank: And let me ask you about those side effects. So as you know, I'm in the senior care industry, I do that day in and day out, and I can't tell you how many seniors I met with that they admit the fact that they were getting dizzy. They take this pill, and it even happened with family members of mine. "I'm not taking it anymore."
What do you say to those people or to the adult children who could advise their loved ones of what to do?
Joe: When I have the list of drugs and write out a very detailed report and I provide the report back to the people and it states that these are questions that you need to bring back to your healthcare provider. I say a lot in those reports that you should have your doctor prove to you that you still need to be on this drug. It also helps with accountability from the clients end, too.
I talked to someone just the other day who told me some drugs that he was on, and over the course of the conversation, he admitted that one of the drugs he told me he was on, he hadn't taken in three years. I'm like, "Well, why'd you stop taking it?" And he's like, "Oh, I just didn't think I needed it anymore."
"Have you ever told your doctor?"
"No. Nothing's happened, so I don't think I will tell him." So oftentimes, in my line of work, I am working with these independent, tough personalities. This mentality is helpful, because they like to think for themselves and stand up for themselves, but it can also be harmful, because if you provide them the information in a report on the polypharmacy to try to get them off these drugs, they feel like they have more autonomy and will often take what you say and run with it, perhaps more than you intended.
Frank: Using statins as an example, can you explain why it is a good idea to check the side effects of a product, and to see explore other avenues before deciding to add another drug into your diet?
Joe: I'll tell you, the last thing I'd ever want to be on is a statin. The advice that I give in this situation is, challenge your doctor to prove to you that you need to be on the statin. Find out why he's putting you on the statin. Is it high cholesterol? Does he think you're pre diabetic? I mean, drill down on the reason for being prescribed that drug product and then challenge your doctor to say, "Before you put me on that drug, give me 30 days. Let's see if I can change my diet and eliminate the triglycerides and get the cholesterol ratios in a better order with diet and exercise before you put me on this drug that could completely wreck my body."
Frank: Okay, and how could it wreck your body?
Joe: Well, it's just, there's so many other effects. It affects your liver and it affects your endocrine system. Statins also start to break down your skeletal muscle. And as that proteinaceous material moves through your body, it gets clogged up in your kidneys as it's trying to filter it, and it starts to wreck your kidneys. So you'll lose your liver, you lose your kidneys, and you lose your skeletal muscle.
Frank: That's not good.
Joe: It's not good. It'd be much better to eat less animal protein, more plant material and walk around the block once a day. Because one of the mantras of toxicology is everything in moderation. The dose makes the poison, but everything in moderation, and that's going to get people through 95% of their challenges.
Everybody asks about alcohol too, Frank, and this is like, well alcohol, one or two, you're going to be fine. Everything in moderation. Ultimately, you have to keep living your life. You can make small changes every day, and eventually those small changes become habits, and those habits can help you decide which medications are really worth your time.
You have to talk to your doctor and you have to have an alternative plan. And if the doctor doesn't have time to do that, that's what part of that HOPE program is about, I'll give them those alternatives. I'll give them the, "We'll try this." I'll give them natural products that do the same thing.
Frank: So, what drug advertisements do is, they compel people to go to their local pharmacy and ask to be put on medication, oftentimes without understanding all the consequences and side effects. How do you control that? And what is your opinion on the non-prescription type drug?
Joe: Oh, sure. There's a whole host of non-prescription stuff that could still cause nasty side effects, especially when combined with other non-prescription drugs. Mixing in nonprescription drugs is also covered in the HOPE program. Dr. Joe for HOPE, you can Google that and you'll find me, but it asks about those non prescriptions, and it asks about the supplements, and it asks about diet and exercise and habits and social formations.
I've been able to make recommendations in every report I've done to help people regain their quality of life. There was one particular person that I really, truly believe I saved his life. He was on one drug to help him stop smoking, but the physicians weren't getting the response they wanted from him, so over the course of 18 months they jacked up the dose on him four times. He also started showing signs of depression, so then he was prescribed an antidepressant along with an anti-smoking prescription. His body was so saturated with all his medication that it was affecting his physiology, and he stopped that drug product. All of the side effects went away and he got his life back.
Frank: That's great.
Joe: That's the reason that I do that.
Frank: Dr. Joe, I mean, I could talk to you for hours on this stuff, but we don't have the time. I did want to get your opinion on the debate around taking probiotics and antibiotics, because there seems to be a lot of discourse around this topic.
Joe: With an antibiotic, what you're doing is you're targeting a pathogenic species of bacteria somewhere in your body with that antibiotic, and you're trying to kill it. So the objective is to have a high enough dose of antibiotic to kill which you don't want there, but not take out too much of the good bacteria in collateral damage. When someone takes an antibiotic and ends up getting diarrhea, well, they killed too much of the good bacteria because what people may or may not realize is that the human body lives in symbiosis, if you will, lives in conjunction with a whole host of different bacteria, and we need those bacteria in order to function and stay healthy.
And a lot of them live in our GI tract, because if you think about it in the human body you put stuff in your mouth and it comes out the South side, and technically your entire GI track is actually outside of your body. If you think about it, and there's protective mechanisms, which are the bacteria that you have to have there, which guard against so many attacks that come from your GI track. Just think about food poisoning would be salmonella or listeria or e-coli. Those are bad bacteria, and ironically e-coli is actually a good bacteria. It's just which strain is it, and how much are there? When you get this food poisoning, you eat something bad somewhere, you never know where or when or how, but the bacteria is outside your body until it's absorbed out of your GI track and into your intracellular spaces.
But that bad bacteria is flushed from your body because your body induces diarrhea. It's getting rid of that population of bacteria. Now, when you have a slow infection, whether it's let's say a staph infection or something, and then you need that antibiotic prescribed so that you can get rid of that bad infection, but that antibiotic is going to hit all the bacteria. And if it's at a specific dose, then you're going to hit more of it. And the divine design is that most pathogenic species die at a lower concentration than good bacteria, like the lactobacillus, which is the stuff you get from yogurt.
Let's say the pathogenic species dies at a maybe 100 milligrams and the good bacteria can resist 400, 500, 1000 milligrams. So you have that therapeutic window, which is why antibiotics work. So the probiotics, in taking the probiotics reestablishes those good populations of bacteria faster. So it would help people recover when they have an infection, but taken on a regular basis, it can be a good idea based on your own everyday gut health. And you have to listen to your body. Your body tells you everything you need. I mean, people who eat yogurt or the other like sauerkraut or a cabbage or any of those other types of foods, which are ripened with live cultures, you're going to have all that you need. So you can get that through diet as well, but supplements, yeah, they can work. Everybody doesn't have to be on them.
Frank: Got it. So, so tell us, people want to get ahold of you, want to get ahold of it, learn more about information and your organization. Tell us how they can do that.
Joe: Well, you could Google Dr. Joe for HOPE and you'll find it. Otherwise, you can go to my website, which is SuperiorToxicology.com. So that's easy to remember and you can click on the HOPE button and you can fill out the form for the drugs, and I'm happy to help anybody with that because I think that's a great program and it helps people recoup their health and wellness. And it's real easy to find. So just Google Dr. Joe for HOPE or go to SuperiorToxicology.com.
Frank: Great. So I had a list of questions here to ask you, and I don't think I got through even half of them, so it means you’re going to have to come back. There's lots to talk about. But maybe we could just leave our listeners with any just general advice you would have. What general advice would you give? What message do you want to leave with our listeners?
Joe: Oh, I would say don't be afraid to live your life. There's lots of things in this world that can really sour your day and you can't live in fear. You got to get out and you got to experience what's going on. And there's a lot of great tools for this day and age, and just enjoy it. Enjoy life, everything in moderation. Great.
Frank: Dr. Joe Nieusma, thank you so much for joining us on Boomers Today. I really appreciate it