There are many ways for us to get to our optimal heath and wellness. For some people that might include taking some form of medication. A question has been put forward recently about the side effects of medication, asking do drugs deplete nutrients? It’s important to know this kind of information, so that more nutrients can be acquired to replace those being depleted. RoseMarie Pierce, a Holistic Pharmacist has written an article to explain more on this topic.
Do Drugs Deplete Nutrients?
Drug-induced nutrient depletion is an important topic, however most consumers know very little about it. More than 400 prescription and over-the-counter medications are known to cause multiple nutritional deficiencies. Over the last 4 decades, in excess of 600 scientific studies have documented the evidence. (1)(2) Unfortunately, this potentially life-saving information has not been made widely available.
The side effects from these nutrient losses can affect energy, mood, libido, the immune system, the ability to ward off degenerative diseases, and can even shorten life. Pharmaceutical drugs rob vital nutrients by interfering with the ability to properly digest, absorb, transport, metabolize, synthesize, utilize or excrete vital nutrients
Who are most susceptible to nutrient depletion?
- Elderly (renal & liver issues)
- Multiple drug users
- Poor eaters
- Those with digestive issues
- Those with pH imbalances (acidosis)
- Alcoholics & frequent alcohol users
If it is necessary to take medication, it is recommended to cover the bases nutritionally through the addition of superfoods and natural supplements along with a healthy diet containing an abundance of local and organic fruits and vegetables. Commercially grown produce and packaged foods will not provide the kind of nutrition needed. Many reliable studies now indicate that modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil. (3)
The following is an easy-to-follow path through some of the most common drug categories that affect health by depleting valuable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I have also included the foods and supplements recommended to replenish the body and meet its optimal needs.
ACID-BLOCKING DRUGS (e.g. Losec, Nexium,Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac) deplete vitamins B1, B12, and D, folic acid iron, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. A high-quality multi vitamin/mineral plus a liquid solution form of calcium, magnesium and iron are suggested to replenish these nutrients. Acid-blocking drugs substantially decrease production of stomach acid, causing potential bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine.
When using these drugs, it is important to take probiotics (acidophilus/bifidus) and consume fermented vegetables (sauerkraut) and beverages (kombucha, kefir). Acid-blocking drugs also interfere with proper protein digestion and the production of adequate digestive juices. A potent digestive enzyme that also breaks down the hard-to-digest proteins (e.g. gluten & casein) can help gut issues. Kiwifruit contain protein-digesting enzymes that can relieve constipation, gas and bloating caused by improper digestion.
ANTIBIOTICS deplete folic acid, biotin, vitamin B complex and vitamin K2. They also immediately wipe out certain strains of friendly bacteria flora that colonize the intestinal tract and support healthy digestion and immune function. Unfortunately, antibiotics can create a massive gut bacteria imbalance encouraging the presence of obesity-promoting bacteria. Researchers speculate antibiotic usage is a major contributor to both obesity and diabetes. The healthy bacteria can be replaced with a probiotic supplement and fermented foods during and following use of this type of medication. Also, look to replenish with 30 – 100 mcg daily of vitamin K2-M7, normally made by friendly intestinal bacteria.
Note: mineral supplements (magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, selenium, iodine) need to be taken at least 2 hours away from many types of antibiotics, as they can bind to antibiotics and reduce absorption of both.
That’s some serious information, but really good to know, especially if you have loved ones who are taking medication.