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


Marisa said...

Hi! I just found you from a search for more holistic doctors that I came upon on the "How to Stop the Thyroid Madness" website. I'm so desperate for good treatment and to find someone to treat according to symptoms and not just the TSH. I'm curious to know if you have read that book or the website and/if you follow some/all of the protocols they talk about for handling Hashimoto's Disease and what blood work to look at? I'd love to know some of your thoughts on treatment before making an appointment with you--if that's ok :).

I ask because I've had this disease for over 9 yrs. I took synthroid until a year ago when a doctor switched me to Armour as I had low t3 levels and have pretty much never felt 100% on synthroid. I initially felt wonderful and my t3 went up to 3.9. But my TSH went really low so he reduced my dosage. I have also gone 100% gluten free since January and I still feel hypo. Since reducing my Armour dose I have had a horrific time losing weight (despite being Paleo, exercising 6 days a week, counting calories, am SO tired (can barely function without a nap) and am so, so frustrated. I recently had blood work done and my TSH was .006 while my t3 was 3.0 and t4 at 1.24. My dr didn't reduce my armour (thank heavens) but was worried about my TSH. So he advised me to take iodoral. I took one pill on Saturday and immediately got a headache, body aches, mental fog, and SO irritable. I haven't taken the iodine since but have gained a pound a day since then--now totally 5 lbs up. Ugh. I'm feeling desperate and don't know what to do. From what I've read the TSH shouldn't be the key indicator in dosage. What are your thoughts?

Thank you SO much in advance!!!

Dr. Judi said...

Treating by the labs usually works, but not always. I have found that when my patients are getting T3, the TSH is often suppressed, but that doesn't always mean they are getting too much. I go by symptoms as well as by labs. Have you explained to your doctor how you feel? He may be willing to increase the dose again.

Sometimes I decrease the Armour and add a little Synthroid to balance things out, so there is a little less T3 and a little more T4. But again, a lot of it depends on how the patient is feeling.

I don't give iodine unless the blood levels are low. It is possible that you may have an allergy to it, or you could have gotten too much.