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What You Should Know About Drug-Nutrient Depletion

Updated: Sep 6, 2019


No matter how healthy you are, at some point you’ll probably visit the pharmacy for prescription drugs. Medication is generally prescribed to address specific health concerns and improve the quality of life. Unfortunately, some types of prescription drugs can also deplete nutrients in your body. Here’s what you should know about drugs that cause nutrient depletion, and what you can do to keep your body healthy while you take them.


NSAIDS

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are formulated to decrease fever, reduce pain, decrease inflammation and prevent blood clots. A few common NSAIDs include:

  • Aleve

  • Aspirin

  • Motrin

  • Advil

  • Naprosyn

While these medications are frequently used to ward off headaches and other common pains, they are also known to deplete the body of folic acid. Folic acid deficiency can cause a variety of unwanted side effects, including anemia, birth defects and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim to increase your consumption of this nutrient by eating more leafy green vegetables, beans, rice and citrus fruits.


Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors

Many people take antacids or proton pump inhibitors (PPI), like Nexium, Prilosec, or Prevacid, to combat acid reflux and heartburn. While short-term use of antacids is unlikely to cause problems, long-term use could lead to deficiencies in these nutrients:

  • Vitamin B12

  • Iron

  • Magnesium

  • Vitamin D

  • Calcium

Of all the above deficiencies, vitamin B12 deficiency is the most common type experienced by frequent antacid and PPI users. Fortunately, it’s an easy nutrient to supplement. Look for a methylated form of Vitamin B12 for best results. Keep in mind that this nutrient provides the body with energy, so avoid taking it at night.


Antibiotics

Most people use antibiotics rarely and for short periods of time. However, some people use them daily to prevent recurring infections. For those who use antibiotics for the long term, the following deficiencies are a real concern:

  • Vitamin B

  • Iron

  • Vitamin K

  • Magnesium

  • Zinc

  • Calcium

Eating foods rich in these nutrients can help replenish them, but in many cases additional supplementation is required.


Cholesterol Medications

High cholesterol is a common problem among adults, and drugs called “statins” are commonly prescribed to treat it. A few commonly prescribed statins include:

  • Lipitor

  • Zocor

  • Crestor

With prolonged use, these drugs are associated with depleted levels of Coenzyme Q10. This coenzyme is naturally made by your body and generates cellular energy. If you’re concerned about low Coenzyme Q10 levels, eat more fatty fish, organ meats, cruciferous vegetables like leafy greens, and legumes. You may also choose to supplement with a Co-Q10 product.


Diabetes Medications

Diabetes is becoming a common problem among children and adults of all ages. While treatments vary, a few commonly prescribed diabetes medications include:

  • Rosiglitazone

  • Metformin

  • Repaglinide

These drugs are associated with depleted levels of folic acid and vitamin B12. As previously discussed, you may choose to increase your dietary intake of these nutrients or supplement them with over the counter products.


Learn More About Pharmacy Drugs

It’s important to understand how the medications from your local pharmacy interact with your body’s nutrient levels. To learn more about drug interactions and what you can do to prevent drug-induced nutrient depletion, come talk to one of our D-Rex pharmacists about the unique solutions available for you!

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