Everyone knows that prescription drugs can come with side effects, from minor annoyances to very serious complications. But what you may not know is that many commonly prescribed medications (and over the counter, as well) can deplete your body of essential nutrients. And as with side effects, the longer you take them, the worse they can become, and the more likely they are to impact your health. Nutrient depletions can affect your energy, mood, lower your immunity, and cause digestive issues. Sometimes they can make existing health problems even worse, and ironically, in some cases the medications can deplete nutrients important to treat the condition you are taking the medication for!
The following list contains some commonly prescribed medications and the nutrients they can deplete. If you are taking any of these medications on a regular basis, it is important to pay special attention to ensure you are getting enough of these nutrients in your diet and/or supplementing if necessary.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Glutathione
- Antidepressants: B-complex vitamins, coenzyme Q10, magnesium
- Antibiotics: Probiotics (lactobacillus and bifidobacterium), B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, magnesium
- Antacids/Acid blockers: Vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin d, vitamin c, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, potassium, zinc
- Anticonvulsants: Calcium, biotin, vitamin D, folic acid, B1, B6, B12, vitamin K, glutathione, carnitine
- Antihypertensives: vitamin B6, folic acid, Coenzyme Q10, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, zinc,
- Aspirin: Vitamin C, iron
- Beta blockers: Coenzyme Q10
- Birth Control Pills: Folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium
- Cardiovascular Drugs (Digoxin): Vitamin B1, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus
- Corticosteroids: Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, selenium, zinc, potassium
- Diuretics: Potassium, calcium, magnesium, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, zinc
- Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs: Folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron
- Hormone Replacement: B-complex vitamins (especially B6 and B12), folic acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc
- Diabetic Medications: Folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, magnesium, coenzymeQ10
- Laxatives: Vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium
- Obesity Drugs: essential fatty acids and fat-soluble nutrients vitamins A, D, E, and carotenes
- Statins: Coenzyme Q10
- Thyroid replacement drugs: Calcium
Obviously, drugs are necessary and can be life-saving in some cases. But it is important to know the ramifications of taking them, and in the case of nutrients depleted, to replenish the body’s stores in order to avoid any negative consequences to your health.
(1) Common Drugs Deplete Nutrients. (2015, April 24). Retrieved July 21, 2017, from http://www.alive.com/health/common-drugs-deplete-nutrients/
(2) (2016, December 11). NutritonReview.org. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from https://nutritionreview.org/2016/12/practical-guide-avoiding-drug-induced-nutrient-depletion/
(3) Pelton, R. (2001). Drug-induced nutrient depletion handbook. Hudson, Ohio: Lexi-Comp.