Sunday, August 4, 2013

Is Your Medication Depleting your Nutrients?

The right medication at the right time can be a life-saver.  But pharmaceutical medications are foreign chemicals to the body.  That is why they may have side effects, because it doesn't quite match up to your own body's chemistry.

And some medications may actually make you sicker by depleting your levels of critical nutrients.  This doesn't mean you should stop the medication without the advice of your physician, but make sure you are supplementing the nutrients that are being depleted.

The following is a list of medications and the nutrients they deplete:

Proton Pump Inhibitors (antacids such as Omeprazole, Nexium, AciPhex, etc.) interferes with the absorption of minerals (they have been proven to increase osteoporosis and cause iron deficiency because of this), B-vitamins (especially B-12), amino acids (resulting in lower than optimal protein levels), and vitamin C. 

If you are taking a Proton Pump Inhibitor (and I believe I will write another blog on this alone, because there are ways to get off of them), I would recommend taking 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at the beginning of each meal to increase your stomach acid while eating for better absorption of nutrients.  Take your nutrients during mealtime for the same reason.  If you are older than 55, have diabetes or another chronic disease, you may need something stronger, such as betaine HCL, which turns into hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Blood pressure medications of the class Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone inhibitors (ACE inhibitors, renin inhibitors, angiotensin II blockers, aldosterone blockers--a large list of brands)--depletes zinc, which impairs the immune system, slows wound healing, causes abnormal cell division, reduces appetite, and causes a bitter or sour taste in the mouth when it is empty.

Daily aspirin can deplete vitamin C, iron (through microscopic GI bleeding) and folate.

Metformin--depletes B-12, which increases the risk of diabetic neuropathy, increases fatigue, causes depression, increases bruising or bleeding.  If you are taking both Metformin and a Proton Pump Inhibitor you may want to get B-12 shots.  Metformin can also deplete folate and Thiamine (Vitamin B-1) which is necessary to protect the body from high levels of blood glucose.

Insulin can deplete magnesium.

Cholesterol lowering statin drugs--deplete coenzyme Q10, critical for muscle health, including heart muscle, and mitochondrial health, which makes the energy for the body.  These medications also deplete Vitamin D, which is proven in adequate levels to lower heart disease and mortality.

Acetaminophen can deplete glutathione, which is an important antioxidant in the body, and is important for the detoxification process.

NSAIDS can deplete iron through microscopic GI bleeding, and some folate dependent enzymes are inhibited by some NSAIDS.

Antibiotics can deplete many B-vitamins and vitamin K through the destruction of normal bowel flora.

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin, etc.) can deplete calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.

Penicillin antibiotics can deplete potassium, so especially if you have vomiting or diarrhea, supplement potassium.

Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Minocycline can deplete calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium.

Antifungal Fluconazole (Diflucan) can inhibit potassium.

This does not come close to naming all of the medications and what nutrients they may deplete.  If you are taking a medication that is not listed in this blog, go to, which has a chart with a fairly comprehensive list.

The take home message is, if you are taking a medication, make sure you are taking a high potency multivitamin-mineral supplement such as SpringTree Health's SuperMulti Plus (, and research to find if there are any other nutrients that need to be supplemented to keep yourself as healthy as possible.

Until we meet again,
Dr. Judi