Although nutritional supplements are not prescription medications, those taking prescription medications should consider potential drug-nutrient interactions. Some drugs do not combine well with certain supplements and can affect the drugs efficiency and utilization in the body or increase side effects. One of the most common drug-nutrient reactions involves a blood-thinning medication called warfarin with omega-3 fish oils. Another common interaction results from the use of prescription niacin with a cholesterol-lowering drug called simvastatin. Sometimes taking certain drugs can also result in vitamin depletion. Unfortunately, sometimes these vitamin depletions can cause other problems to arise. For example, although antibiotics kill “bad” bacteria, they also destroy beneficial “good” bacteria, which may lead to problems with digestion, malabsorption of certain nutrients or yeast infections.
It can be challenging to know whether or not your daily supplements can safely be combined with your prescription medications and what nutrients may be affected, so CustomVite’s Nutrition Team is here to help. On our Free, Online Health Quiz, we use the latest peer-reviewed sources to perform a drug-nutrient interaction check to make sure you’re getting the supplements you need that can be safely combined with your prescription medications.
Below are some popular drugs, their uses, and the nutrients they may deplete:
Atorvastatin: Used to lower elevated cholesterol levels, however may deplete Co-enzyme Q10.
Antibiotics: Used to treat bacterial infections, however may deplete good bacteria, Calcium, Magnesium, B-vitamins and Vitamin K.
Acetaminophen: Used to reduce pain and fever, however may deplete Vitamin C and Iron.
Antidepressants: Used to treat depression and other mental-health conditions, however may deplete B-Complex Vitamins, Selenium, Zinc, L-Gluthathione, Calcium/Magnesium and Vitamin C
Diuretics: Also called water pills, help eliminate water and salt from the body and treat high blood pressure, however may deplete Potassium, Calcium/Magnesium, B-Complex Vitamins, Zinc and Vitamin C
The take home message is this: if you are a taking prescription medications it is important to be aware of the potential interactions with nutritional supplements, as well as their effect on nutrients in your body.
(1) Common Drugs Deplete Nutrients. (2015, April 24). Retrieved from https://www.alive.com/health/common-drugs-deplete-nutrients/
(2) Gaby, Alan. A-Z Guide to Drug-herb-vitamin Interactions: Improve Your Health and Avoid Side
Effects When Using Common Medications and Natural Supplements Together. New York: Three Rivers, 2006. Print.
(3) Painter, Special for USA TODAY, Kim. “Warning: Supplements and Medications May Not Mix.” USA Today. Gannett, 24 Apr. 2016. Web. 12 July 2016.
(4) Yeast Infection from Antibiotics: Why It Happens – Healthline. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/yeast-infection-from-antibiotics