Drug induced nutrient depletion’s can be a significant contributing factor to a wide range of health problems. Add to the issue: a stressful life with a poor diet, a decline in the food supply’s nutrient content, commercial farmers not replenishing the soil with trace minerals, and environmental pollution – leaving us all vulnerable. As doctors prescribe one or more medications for a particular health issue that create the depletion of nutrients, one may find themselves with another health problem as a result.
This article will address several classes of medications, their nutrient depletions and what one needs to do to prevent or correct other health problems.
Blood pressure medications. Within this class, CoQ10 and Zinc are the common nutrients depleted. If you are using multiple BP medications you therefore are compounding the depletions. CoQ10 is an essential antioxidant and critical for energy production within the cells. If you are taking a blood thinner, this enzyme should not be used without the close supervision of your doctor. Zinc is important for immunity and wound healing.
The Statins. These cholesterol lowing drugs deplete CoQ10. Your LDL cholesterol ”the supposed bad one” is problematic when its oxidized . CoQ10 travels in unison with LDL in the bloodstream to protect it from being oxidized. When LDL is oxidized it will damage the cell walls of arteries. The body will try to repair the damage with cholesterol and plaque deposits, creating inflammation. The heart is also weakened when CoQ10 levels are lowered. CoQ10 is required for energy production, and the heart is the most energy demanding muscle in the body working to drive fluids throughout the body.
Magnesium is also a vital cardiovascular nutrient. It decreases platelet aggregation like ASA, it thins the blood like warfarin, acts as a calcium channel blocker like nifedipine, relaxes blood vessels like ACE inhibitors, and is nature’s muscle relaxant (great for legs cramps, PMS and migraines too). Choose your magnesium wisely. Magnesium oxide is the cheapest and the least absorbed. Magnesium glycinate is best absorbed and can be found at compounding pharmacies or health food stores. Also, if you start taking Mg and are on cardiovascular medications please involve your doctor.
Anti-Diabetic drugs. This class will deplete CoQ10, B12 (metformin) and folic acid. B12 is needed to create the myelin sheath that protects our nerves. Without this protective layer, irreversible nerve damage can occur. B12 is best absorbed in its methylcobalamin form in either sublingual drops or by injection. Folic acid deficiency can lead to depression, anemia with weakness, birth defects and cervical dysplasia.
Anti-inflammatory drugs. If you are taking long-term corticosteroids you need to be on a high dose multivitamin and mineral supplement, as this group depletes A,C,D,B6, B12,B5,folic acid, calcium, Mg , potassium, selenium, zinc, iron, Beta-carotene and melatonin. The NSAID group (i.e. ibuprofen, naproxen) depletes melatonin and folic acid. Melatonin is required to regulate sleep, and acts as a powerful antioxidant as well.
The aforementioned drug induced nutrient depletions are not all inclusive. I simply chose the most important deficiencies which affect our overall health. As always, it is important to be proactive and preventive in the ageing process.
Maria Musitano, B.Sc.Pharm,
Concession Medical Pharmacy email@example.com