Hidden Causes of Diabetes #2-Medications

I don’t think most of us think about how common medications can cause a negative effect on blood sugar levels and diabetes but there are many that do, for a variety of reasons.

This post is part of a five part series discussing hidden factors contributing to ‘pre-diabetes’ and diabetes. I look at these factors closely when a client hasn’t been able to see much improvement in their blood sugar markers after changing diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.

These hidden, underlying factors are not to be ignored but unfortunately, they will not find their way onto your doctor’s radar unless your doctor has been trained to look for the ‘WHY’ after they discover the ‘WHAT’ aka diagnosis. Western medicine, mainstream doctors have not been trained to do this.

This means you may be prescribed the first-line diabetes medication, metformin, to lower your high A1c, when it’s not really an insulin or blood sugar problem but more of an inflammation problem, caused by one or more of the factors I wrote about here.   

So today’s post is about how medications can disrupt and raise blood sugar. Below is a list of common medications that can affect blood sugar levels and mistakenly illicit a diabetes diagnosis (aka label) causing a person to be put on medication that does nothing to correct the underlying problem.

1.Statins: frequently prescribed to lower cholesterol, can cause insulin resistance by promoting loss of muscle mass which in turns reduces insulin sensitivity, and impacting the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.  For most people, it’s blood sugar dysregulation and inflammation that drives heart disease, not high cholesterol. So the drug given to treat high cholesterol can actually cause a bigger problem by causing insulin resistance in some people. 

  1. Antacids and proton inhibitors: used for Gerd and acid reflux. These drugs lower stomach acid and adequate stomach acid is super important! It’s needed to sterilize our food and make available B Vitamins and minerals from our food. Adequate B vitamins, in particular B6 and biotin a long with certain minerals are essential in the ability to use carbohydrates efficiently for energy and balancing blood sugar.
  2. Antibiotics: sometimes necessary but often over prescribed. Antibiotics change the type and population of our gut microbiome. The proper kind and balance of bugs is important as they make things like serotonin, vitamin K, and a B vitamin called biotin. Biotin is needed for carbohydrate metabolism and to modulate the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. 
  3. Birth Control Pills: given to prevent pregnancy and acne and to regulate periods (which it doesn’t BTW). B/C pills can cause blood sugar dysregulation in 3 ways. They change the gut microbiome, leading to possible digestive problems and inflammation, deplete B vitamins, in particular, biotin and B6, and deplete minerals needed for blood sugar control like magnesium, zinc, selenium and chromium.
  4. Corticoid Steroids: readily prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain, taken topically, orally, or inhaled. All three delivery systems cause nutrient depletion, an increased chance for leaky gut and dyspepsia and disruption of the microbiome which leads to inflammation along with a lack of key nutrients.
  5. NSAIDS: Over the counter pain medications, used by 30 MILLION people daily! When used frequently, can cause upper and lower GI problems and tax the liver as well, all of which can cause blood sugar dysregulation.

If you take any of these medications on a regular basis or have in the past, I recommend looking closely at your nutrient status as well as gut health. If these are not addressed, your ability to regulate blood sugar levels now and in the future may be compromised, even with medication. This is all part of getting to the root cause!

If you’d like some guidance and help navigating your blood sugar levels, please don’t hesitate to book an Introductory Call with me Here

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