What Most Pharmacists Never Learn
Why is so much of pharmacy and so many pharmacists dependent on conventional medicine for treating lifestyle diseases? Why is the focus always on medications? What prevents pharmacists from being more mindful and holistic with how they approach and think about health and disease prevention?
Take for example Migraines and chronic headaches. In pharmacy school the majority of students learn about the conventional ways of treating migraines and headaches.
But what the majority of the soon to be pharmacists never learn are some of the dietary and supplement approaches that can combat chronic pain, including headaches and migraines. This is something that all pharmacists should be learning especially with the opioid epidemic that’s impacting hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Most Pharmacy Patients
We know that an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, low sleep quality and stress have a negative effect on chronic pain management. The majority of pharmacy patients, like the majority people living in western countries consume an unhealthy western diet.
It’s a diet that is lacking in fruits and vegetables. Even worse is that the typical western diet is abundant in refined flours, sugars and processed meats. All of which cause an excessive production of inflammatory markers that can worsen chronic pain.
What Plays a Role in Reducing Inflammation Related to Chronic Pain?
It is well known that diets that inlcude proper nutrients, vitmains, minerals, fiber, polyphenols, anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids plays a major role in reducing inflammation realted to chornic pain.
Evidence-Based Dietary and Supplement Approaches That May Help To Manage Migraines
Take for example the following evidence-based dietary and supplement approaches that help to manage migraines and chronic headaches:
- A low calorie ketogenic diet helps to reduce the number of and duration of migraine attacks
- Decreasing omega-6 fats and increasing consumption of omega-3 fats reduces pain and improves quality of life for people with chornic headaches
- Taking a daily supplement of 1.5 grams of omega-3s reduces the number of headache days in people with chronic migraines
- Consuming a low fat, plant-based diet helps to reduce the number and severity of migraine attacks
- Taking a daily multivitamin lowers the intensity of migraine pain
- Taking 100 mcg (4,000 IU) of vitamin D3 per day helps to decrease the frequency of migraine attacks
- Taking 250mg natto-derived supplement that contains bacillopeptidase F (has anti-thrombotic, fibrinolytic and blood viscosity lowering effects) reduces chronic headache pain that is caused by neck and shoulder stiffness.
What Role Might Magnesium Play In Preventing Migraines?
Magnesium, an essential dietary mineral and a prevalent electrolyte does have effects on reducing the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches according to an umbrella review that look at randomized controlled trials.
In another study done on people with migraines without auras, magnesium supplementation did reduce the severity of the migraines.
Solutions That Go Beyond the Rx Bottle
Pharmacy patients deserve more than just a pill. Pharmacists owe it to their patients to help them achieve a better quality of health and life that is based on a more mindful and holistic approach to health.
Pharmacists need to break out of the box that they have been placed in. Pharmacists need to break free from the conventional pharmacy mentality that has patients overly reliant on medications to treat their lifestyle diseases.
It isn’t enough to fill, dispense and counsel patients on their medications. It’s time for pharmacists to help patients to break free from the coventional pharmacy model.
That is what we aim to do at MH Coaching. We focus on helping people achieve their optimal health. As a pharmacists and health coaches, we can guide people through their unique journey towards the healthiest version of themselves.