Whitney Houston was an incredible talent. She will be missed by millions and forever be remembered for her huge, incredible voice. Today, we want to use her death to remind us of something else that is huge right now. We are talking about the abuse of prescription medications. According to reports, Whitney’s prescription of choice was a daily cocktail of at least three different types of anti-anxiety sedatives including the ever-popular Xanax. We say ever popular, because this single drug was prescribed nearly 50 million times in the past year alone.

Xanax works by numbing your brain when you start to feel anxious. The only problem is that the people become reliant on this numbing effect, and rather than dealing with the cause of the anxiety, patients pop the fast acting pills at an ever increasing pace.  The process of weaning yourself off this particular drug is said to beso painful that hospitalization is often necessary. So, why are our physicians dolling out these drugs like candy, drugs so addictive, and with such horrible withdrawal effects that few can successfully quit?

Additionally we need to point out that by taking three different prescriptions from this class of medication, known as benzodiazepines, Whitney was depleting her body of her vital micronutrients threefold. Her levels of vitamin C, B12 and CoQ10, the micronutrients depleted by benzodiazepines, must have been dramatically reduced. We should note here that as we discussed in Naked Calories, reduced vitamin C levels are HORRIBLE for stress levels. It becomes like a dog chasing its tale – a patient starts to feel anxiety or stress so their doctor prescribes them a pill that depletes them of the very micronutrient(s) that they need to properly deal with that anxiety and stress. In fact, research shows that the demand for vitamin C increases by up to tenfold during periods of stress and that vitamin C can be more effective than medications for relieving stress. So now instead of feeling better the micronutrient depletion causes the patient to feel worse, which causes them to use more of the drug which depletes more micronutrient(s) and so on…

Let’s add to this the numerous micronutrients she was depleting herself of through her years of alcohol consumption/abuse as well. Remember, that alcohol decreases digestive enzyme secretion, which impairs the absorption of vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B9 (folic acid). What do thiamin and folic acid have in common? Well, besides both being B vitamins that help with stress, deficiency of these specific micronutrients can cause congestive heart failure.  What other micronutrient do we know, that when deficient, causes congestive heart failure? Oh yes, we are talking about CoQ10 here, which if you remember Whitney Houston would have been extremely deficient in due to her trio of anti-anxiety drugs. Remember, in Naked Calories, we explain that studies have shown that congestive heart failure is primarily a CoQ10 deficiency disease.

 As of yet we cannot say what took this Divas life, however, we know that she did not drown. Did her heart give out? We don’t know this either.  What we can tell you is that we know her heart was in a good position to do so, looking at it from a micronutrient perspective, due to her everyday micronutrient depleting lifestyle habits of prescription medications and alcohol.

Regardless of whether the drugs depleted the micronutrients that caused Houston’s heart to fail, or if there was a drug overdose, one thing is certain…prescription drugs killed Whitney Houston – and she is not the only star that has fallen recently due to these habit-forming pills. Kurt Cobain, Chris Farley, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, and Michael Jackson were all addicted to medications. According to the CDC, prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., topping automobile accidents for the first time in 30 years! We think that Whitney’s death should be a wake up call to all of us, as to the over-prescribing and misuse of pharmaceuticals. Rather than treating the body with micronutrient-depleting drugs, physicians should prevent these conditions by creating a state of micronutrient sufficiency in their patients. We need to end this period of using prescription drugs as band-aids to mask the illness. Instead, we need to prevent the illness in the first place. With all the knowledge we have as to the body’s ability to use micronutrients to heal both body and mind, isn’t it time we start looking to them as safe and effective treatments for the health conditions and diseases that are plaguing our world?

Well, just how much safer are our vitamins, minerals and accessory micronutrients than prescription medications? According to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, there are over 100,000 Americans killed each year by adverse reactions to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. There are 100,000 additional deaths to do overdoses of these same prescription drugs. Over a ten-year period this is over 2 million deaths! Now, let’s look at micronutrients.  How many deaths are reported annually? According to the U.S. National Poison Data System the number of people killed in 2009 across America by vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbal supplements was zero. 

We hope that these fallen stars can help to illuminate the bigger message. We are a nation that is killing ourselves through the misuse of medications.  Medications that kill us through overdose, adverse reactions and yes, by depleting us of our essential micronutrients that we need to live long, healthy lives. Your health is in your hands. Take time today to evaluate your personal intake of prescription and over the counter medications.  Consider how you can improve your health through micronutrient sufficiency and start working with your physician to take steps towards the elimination of your pharmaceutical crutches. If your doctor laughs when you tell him/her of your goal, find a new doctor – your health is not a joke. Its time to transform America from a sick, overweight over medicated nation to one were optimal health is a reality!