Pharmaceutical Consumption

Pharmaceutical consumption is higher in the United States of America than in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, all of Latin America, Japan and the rest of Asia combined.

Consequences of Pharmaceutical Consumption

Unfortunately, many of the most commonly used pharmaceuticals can be quite damaging to the “good germs” or healthy microbiota in the gastrointestinal system. Antibiotics, oral contraceptives, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen), asthma medications, acid-reflux drugs, and many others, either kill the good bacteria or create an environment in the gut where good bacteria no longer thrive.

The consequences are often gut dysbiosis and downstream immune dysregulation, the two mechanisms at the root of chronic illnesses. In addition, once pharmaceuticals are given, they typically create additional health problems which often require additional prescriptions to deal with the additional symptoms stemming from the side effects of medications.

Children are not spared this fate. In fact, children are the fastest growing demographic of pharmaceutical drug users in recent years. Even a few decades ago, it was rare for a physician to prescribe an acid-reflux medication to a child, but today, use of these drugs is widespread in the pediatric population.

Pharmaceuticals are also widely found in our food and water supply, so that even if one thinks they are “drug-free”, they are probably consuming a certain amount of drugs (especially antibiotics) in their food and water.

Excess pharmaceutical consumption alone might not be responsible for the epidemic of chronic illness in children, but in conjunction with other environmental factors, it can be a serious problem.

Root-Cause Approach

By identifying and alleviating potential root causes of chronic health conditions, symptoms can often disappear and pharmaceutical consumption may become unneeded. Be aware that there isn’t typically one root cause of these conditions and that there isn’t typically one thing that can be done to ameliorate them. Potential root causes include:

The good news is that healing the body always starts with healing the gut, usually with specialized or gut-healing diets that remove problematic foods that are causing inflammatory and immune problems, which can and do extend into the function of the brain. This means that the power of improving your child’s health lies in your own hands!

As always, if you are considering reducing or eliminating pharmaceuticals for your child, please work with your child’s physician. You could also consider working with knowledgable healthcare practitioners such as functional-medicine practitioners and naturopaths that understand this root-cause approach.

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Saeed, Madiha and Wells, Katie. The Holistic Rx for Kids: Parenting Healthy Brains and Bodies in a Changing World. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021.

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