People in the U.S. take too many prescription drugs. That’s not a distortion of the truth – that’s a fact. Let’s look at the statistics:

According to an IMS Institute report titled The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010 (published April 2011), Americans spent more than $307 billion on medicines in 2010.

This is out of control. That’s a ton of money to throw down the drain, especially considering that many medications merely mask symptoms instead of resolving the real issue.

If we’re going to spend that much money, I think we should spend it on something that will bring us real health - lasting changes, less side effects, less invasiveness.

Fortunately, there are plenty of natural alternative remedies to prescription drugs.

Here’s a list of America’s top 5 most commonly prescribed drugs and their natural counterparts:

The #5 most commonly prescribed drug in America: Amlodipine Besylate

What is it?
An Angina/blood pressure drug. (Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart does not receive enough blood.)

# of prescriptions purchased in 2010: 57.2 million.

Natural alternative: Work with your integrative physician or doctor to create a personalized supplement regime based on your body’s specific needs. Increase your potassium intake to 500 mg per day (available in 1 banana, 1 cup of tomato juice, or 1 cup of coconut water) and/or magnesium intake to 200 mg per day. Taking 200 mg daily of Coenzyme Q10 – an antioxidant shown to lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels – may also help.

The #4 most commonly prescribed drug in America: Levothyroxine Sodium

What is it? A synthetic thyroid hormone intended to treat hypothyroidism – a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

# of prescriptions purchased in 2010: 70.5 million

Natural alternative: Correct possible mineral deficiencies in your body by increasing consumption of iodine, iron, or selenium. A natural thyroid glandular supplement, such as BMR Complex by Integrative Therapeutics, may also help.

The #3 most commonly prescribed drug in America: Lisinopril

What is it? A blood pressure drug.

# of prescriptions purchased in 2010: 87.4 million

Natural alternative: Decrease your refined sugar intake, and increase your consumption of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Excessive sugar intake raises blood sugar, which is known to increase blood pressure. Fruits and veggies contain flavonoids – compounds that can dilate blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.

The #2 most commonly prescribed drug in America: Simvastatin

What is it? A statin drug (i.e., a drug that lowers cholesterol). Statins stop your liver from producing cholesterol by blocking a specific enzyme.

# of prescriptions purchased in 2010: 94.1 million

Natural alternative: Improve your diet. Certain anti-inflammatory foods such as red wine, dark chocolate, garlic, and olive oil can lower the amount of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in your body, while raising the “good” cholesterol (HDL).

The #1 most commonly prescribed drug in America: Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (e.g. Vicodin)

What is it? A pain killer.

# of prescriptions purchased in 2010: 131.2 million.

Natural alternative: Healing physical touch. Try getting healing massages, chiropractic therapy, and/or acupuncture. “Pain can be caused by an interference in our body’s nervous system,” says Sungwon D. Yoo, a chiropractor and acupuncturist, “so manipulating the body’s main nervous system channel to the brain—the spine—can help remedy aches.”

Now that you’re aware of natural alternatives to the top 5 most commonly prescribed drugs in America, you can make more informed choices when it comes to addressing any of the health ailments listed above. As always, though - always check with your doctor before making any major medical decisions. After all, your doctor knows you better than I do, unless I’m your doctor, of course.

Author's Bio: 

Throughout his lengthy career, Dr. Char has spent a lifetime researching and applying holistic treatments to benefit thousands of patients worldwide. As an ardent supporter of naturopathic medicine and a well known voice of reason in the holistic medical and dental community, he has authored three books and countless articles on the subject of wellness. He is also a nationally recognized authority on alternative and complementary medicine, and has used both successfully throughout his distinguished career.