Prescription drugs may deplete your body’s nutrients
They lower your cholesterol, keep your blood pressure in check, control your blood sugar levels, help with your acid reflux and even keep you from being depressed. Prescription drugs have many benefits but they also have many side-effects and one of the most common ones is the depletion of our body’s nutrients.
Essential vitamins and minerals are depleted by prescription drugs and this effect is a lot worse in people taking multiple drugs. It is not uncommon to take three different blood pressure drugs along with a diuretic. Of course if you ate the perfect diet, the effect would be minimal but most of the people on medication have diets that are less than stellar.
Drugs interfere with nutrients in three different ways; they may interfere with the actual absorption of the nutrients, they may enhance nutrient excretion or they may impede the body’s ability to convert those nutrients into useable forms.
For the purposes of this article I am only going to discuss the most widely used prescription drugs that are taken by the majority of the people. If you find that your drug or its category is not included, please contact me directly and I will inform you of its side-effects and what nutrients it may deplete. If you are taking any of the drugs that I talk about, you may have to change your diet to increase the nutrient level through food or through supplements or both.
Drugs such as Losec (omeprazole), Tecta (pantoprazole) and ranitidine (Zantac) are used to treat ulcers in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum by blocking specific sites in the wall of the stomach called proton pumps that excrete stomach acid. They strongly interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B12 and calcium. When taken for long periods of time, this results in anaemia from lack of B12 and sometimes osteoporosis from lack of calcium absorption into the bones. Since B12 is involved in DNA production, long term low levels of this nutrient can result in dementia, heart attacks and strokes.
If you are using this drug I would recommend a B-Complex, high in Vitamin B12 and a calcium supplement. Your diet should change to include fish, poultry, eggs, lean meat, dairy, and plant based beverages such as soy, rice or almond drinks.
STATINS (Cholesterol-lowering drugs)
Drugs such as Crestor and Lipitor lower blood cholesterol by blocking your liver’s production of cholesterol. However, as they do this in your liver they also block the production of Coenzyme Q10, a nutrient manufactured by the body that is not found in food. Depending on the strength of the drug, they may deplete up to 50 per cent of your body’s output of CoQ10. CoQ10 is essential for producing energy in cells and is your body’s most potent natural antioxidant. It is useful in lowering blood pressure and increasing arterial blood flow to your heart. They also interfere with L-Carnitine, Magnesium and Vitamin E, all of which are used to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is required for cellular energy.
The only food sources for this great loss are red meat (for the carnitine), poultry, oily fish and nuts.
If you must take the statin I strongly recommend 100 to 200mg of CoQ10 twice a day, 500mg of acetyl-L-carnitine twice a day, Vitamin E and at least 150mg of magnesium.
Canadians are among the highest users of antidepressants in the world, roughly 9 per cent of our population. Examples of these drugs are Celexa, Lexapro, Cymbalta, Pristiq and Effexor. Some inhibit serotonin uptake and others inhibit both serotonin uptake and norepinephrine. They strongly inhibit B12 absorption and interfere with the body’s production of melatonin. They also prevent utilization of selenium, zinc and in some cases, calcium. Once again interfering with the absorption of Vitamin B 12 is very dangerous and the reduction of melatonin production is the main reason why antidepressants may cause insomnia. Essential minerals such as selenium and zinc are extremely important for your nervous system and must not be depleted.
Supplements required are a high potency B Complex, high in Vitamin B12 and folic acid, selenium 100mg, zinc 50mg and at least 500mg of calcium per day.
The diet can be improved with an increase in dairy products, meat, poultry, oily fish and nuts.
BLOOD PRESURE DRUGS
There are many different types of drugs to lower your blood pressure and they work primarily by lowering your heart rate. They are beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin inhibitors and calcium channel blockers. The nutrients they interfere with are Vitamin D, thiamine, calcium and once again CoQ10. Once again, Vitamin D is used in almost every biochemical process in your body and is not found in very many foods. CoQ10 is your body’s natural antioxidant and provides energy to all the cells of your body and especially your heart. Thiamine is an essential nutrient for your eyes and has a profound effect on your central nervous system. Deficiency of this nutrient can result in very serious disease. For most people it is very important to stay on their meds and it is not unusual for a person to take 3 different blood pressure medications along with a diuretic which also reduces blood pressure but by excreting sodium from the kidneys.
Supplements required are CoQ10 100mg twice a day, Vitamin D about 2000 units a day, 100mg of thiamine each day and a calcium supplement.
Your food intake should include more dairy, meat, poultry, good fats and nuts and products that contain yeast.
The two most common ones are hydrochlorthiazide and furosemide (Lasix). As I said earlier they reduce your blood pressure by causing your kidneys to excrete more sodium salts which cause water retention and elevated blood pressure.
They not only push sodium out of your kidneys but large amounts of potassium and magnesium. Potassium is such an important electrolyte. It helps maintain normal fluid balance, nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure. Magnesium regulates many body processes including protein synthesis, energy production, muscle and nerve function, as well as blood sugar and blood pressure control.
If you take diuretics regularly you need the 600mg slow acting form of potassium only found in pharmacies. Magnesium from 100 to 200mg a day would offset the use of most diuretics.
Food sources for potassium include bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, baked potato with skin, squash, prunes, coked leafy greens, lima beans, yogurt and milk. Magnesium is found in black beans, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, tofu, endamame, spinach, Swiss chard, halibut, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, yogurt and wheat germ.
They are used to treat infections by slowing down the growth of harmful bacteria. However, they also kill off our “friendly” bacteria and yeast present in the gut. These friendly bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics, keep the intestinal tract healthy, produce vitamins and are a strong boost to your immune system to keep infections from reoccurring.
Although probiotics may be found in food they are usually in very low quantities. However you could try kefir, yogurt, miso soup, sauerkraut and kombucha tea which is actually a fermented tea. However if you were taking antibiotics I would definitely recommend a good high strength probiotic to counter the side-effect of your medication and to prevent the infection from returning. They are known as acidophilus or acidophilus and bifidus (bifidobacteria). If your antibiotic causes severe diarrhea then I would recommend Bio K Plus to restore your natural bowl movements.
If you are taking antibiotics you need whole grains to help with the loss of yeast. Also bananas, onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus, artichokes and soybeans.
Type 2 diabetes is rising exponentially and many people take Glucophage, and Glumetza to control elevated blood sugar. The cells of people with Type 2 diabetics are resistant to taking in blood sugar so these drugs lower the resistance and get the sugar into the cells where it is needed. However, in the process they inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B12 which has been mentioned many times already in this article.
If you have been taking one of these drugs for three years or more not do I recommend a high potency B- Complex but also a high potency Vitamin B 12 dose of 5000mcg daily. There is not enough food to eat, even for a diabetic to get these nutrients from foods.
Let us not forget the most important nutrient in our body. All drugs cause dehydration and if you are on any prescription drug you MUST increase your water take or you will have multiple symptoms of dehydration such as dry mouth, bacterial infections of the teeth, blurred vision and muscle weakness.
Besides drinking copious amounts of water, if you are taking multiple medications
they are detoxified at a site in your liver known as cytochrome P 450 and milk thistle detoxifies your liver making it more efficient at taking care of these drugs.
I have tried to list the most common and most prescribed categories of drugs. However, if you take a medication that I have not mentioned and you want to know more about it, specifically if it depletes nutrients and if you need a supplement, contact me at the store and I will be glad to answer your questions.