Acetylcholine – Why Are We Killing Good Guys?
Well, the short answer to that question is that nobody seems to know that’s what’s going on. And if nobody knows, then nobody tells us, and we end up killing good guys-and our health.
Let’s talk about one good guy, acetylcholine, and how we’re doing it in.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter
Acetylcholine (uh see till KOH leen) is a neurotransmitter, created by a healthy body. Neurotransmitters shoot nerve impulses hither and yon, when and where your body needs them.
Such as, you ask? Acetylcholine plays a huge role in brain function; it’s the juice that energizes the brain. And it enables your nervous systems to do all they need to do-act, react, move muscles, and so on. It keeps nervous systems in balance, allowing you to deal with stress and anxiety. And it shepherds all parts of your endocrine system through their daily rounds.
Acetylcholine is a VERY BIG deal, but a lot of us are making life hard for the brain, nervous system, etc. How? We take anticholinergic drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, for pretty much every problem we encounter. Nutrition would work better, but we don’t know that. And we don’t know how dangerous these drugs are.
A brief list of some anticholinergic drugs
- Advil PM – for pain and sleep
- Aleve – for pain
- Antivert – for dizziness
- Benadryl – for allergies
- Claritin – for allergies
- Dramamine – for motion sickness
- Excedrin PM – for pain and insomnia
- Nytol – for insomnia
- Pepcid AC – for acid reflux
- Prozac – for depression
- Scopolamine – for motion sickness
- Sominex – for insomnia
- Tagamet – for acid reflux
- Unisom – for insomnia
- Warfarin – a blood thinner
- Zantac – for acid reflux
- And I could go on, and on, and on, almost endlessly
A study in the June 1, 2016, JAMA Neurology journal said anticholinergic drugs are associated with “poorer cognition (particularly in immediate memory recall and executive function), reduced glucose metabolism [in the brain], whole-brain and temporal lobe atrophy, and clinical decline. The effect appeared additive . . .”
And you don’t even have to know exactly what all those words mean to realize anticholinergics are a bad idea.
As one woman wrote, “I have had to get off these drugs due to difficulty processing and recalling information. I have had trouble finding the right words. A long time ago I decided for myself that anticholinergic meds create stupidity in me. I can’t afford to swallow stupidity.” (And so say we all!)
Some possible side effects of anticholinergic drugs
- Dry mouth, nose, and/or throat
- Dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness
- Headache upon headache
- Digestion woes
- Difficult urination, retention
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing
- Visual difficulties
- Muscle weakness, clumsiness, unsteadiness
This is serious stuff. Several years ago, a review found a link between anticholinergic meds and dementia, cognitive impairment, or delirium in 25 out of 27 studies.
To know whether you’re taking an anticholinergic, search for the name (example, Tylenol PM) + “anticholinergic” and see what comes up. It’s always good to know what you’re up against.
Weaning yourself from anticholinergics takes a little learning and some time, but it’s worth whatever it takes.
It’s good to know some “swaps.” For instance, vitamin E, garlic, and/or cod liver oil are well-known blood thinners that work as well as drugs. And 90% of the time, acid reflux symptoms are a sign of low stomach acid, which makes antacids the wrong way to go; but taking HCL with pepsin does the job without any of the drug risk.
Your body works its fingers to the bone for you, all day, every day. Why not show your appreciation by helping out?
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.