We are blessed to live in a time when there are thousands of pharmaceutical treatments available for the majority of medical problems we face today. These miracle drugs have saved or improved millions of lives over the last hundred years. But did you know that many of those drugs are known to cause the body to lose precious nutrients at the same time? And because those nutrients are lost, there are some situations in which the end result is that the patient is less healthy than if he or she did not take the medication in the first place.
It might come as a surprise for many of you, but for many medications used commonly we do not have a clear idea of how they function in the body to do what we are expecting them to do. So it is no wonder that they also can do things we are not expecting them to do, like deplete the body of various nutrients. Depletion of nutrients is responsible for many of the side effects these drugs have.
So once we are armed with this knowledge, the next step is to determine if the medications you are taking could be depleting your nutrients. Since there are so many medications which can deplete nutrients, this is by no means a complete list, but we will hit some of the more common drugs known to deplete nutrients.
One of the major examples of drug depletion is due to the class of medications called statin drugs. Millions of people in the U.S. take these medications daily. These drugs work to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting its formation in the liver. Unfortunately, by the same process, the drugs inhibit the formation of Co-Enzyme Q-10. Co-Q-10 is an essential substance for the body and is involved in many different processes. Primary among these processes is cellular respiration which is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in every cell of the body. Since muscles of the body use the most oxygen they are the tissues of the body most affected by deficiency of Co-Q-10. The most active muscle we have is the heart, so heart problems can be aggravated and sometimes caused by a deficiency. There are multiple other conditions like leg cramps, depression/memory loss, impotence, elevated blood sugar and fatigue have been associated with lack of Co-Enzyme Q-10. There are also other drugs which lower Co-Q-10 including diuretics, beta-blockers, some anti-depressants, and metformin.
Other common drug depletions include the B-vitamins and vitamin C, along with minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iodine. These depletions come from a variety of medications including hormones, (both for hormone replacement and birth control), and other classes including diabetes and antacid medications.
This is not a complete list of drug induced nutrient depletion, so if you have questions about drug depletions for the medications you are taking, just ask one of our pharmacists to review the list and discuss it with you.