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  • Dr. Brittany Long

Nutrient Depletions from Common Pharmaceutical Drugs

Did you know it is estimated that about 66% of the United States population is taking a prescription medication? And while I truly do not have any issues with medications, they can serve a very important purpose just as most forms of medicine can, one thing that is often missed are the nuances of the pharmacodynamics (what the drug does to the body) specifically on how medications can interact with critical vitamins, minerals, antioxidants in our body.

Below are some of the most commonly utilized medications (over-the-counter or prescription) used in the United States and some of the well-known impacts these medications can have on our body's vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It's dense and a lot of info so the medication and common nutrients that are depleted are in bold for your ease of reading!

  • Acetaminophen (ex: Tylenol) - depletes glutathione (a very strong, potent and important antioxdant).

  • ACE inhibitors - a medication class used to treat high blood pressure, deplete zinc which is used in immune system function, cellular health including cell division, growth and repair.

  • Antibiotics - you all know what these are used for - can disrupt your normal microbiome balance and while the research is mixed on if supplementing with probiotics helps to restore microbiome balance, multitudes of providers report importance.

  • Hydrochlorothiazide and/or Triamterene - two medications that can be used to treat high blood pressure, depletes CoQ10, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, calcium, folate, and potassium each of which are vitally important in a multitude of processes so strongly consider taking each or taking a multi-vitamin and CoQ10 on the side!

  • Beta blockers - another medication class used to treat high blood pressure, is very strongly correlated with depleting CoQ10 which is another strong and potent antioxidant that helps protect and repair cells.

  • Statins - a medication class used to control cholesterol levels also depletes CoQ10 and it has been found clinically that supplementing with CoQ10 can potentially lower the risk of the muscle pain that commonly occurs with taking this medication along with helping with cellular health overall.

  • Furosemide - yet another potential medication used to control high blood pressure, depletes calcium, magnesium, B1, B6, vitamin C, zinc. Again, a large list of vitamins and minerals that this medication burns through during its processing and use and another example of when a multi-vitamin might be the best "bang for your buck!"

  • Metformin - used to treat diabetes depletes folate and B12, both very important vitamins for cellular, and especially neurological health.

  • NSAIDs (ex: ibuprofen, naproxen) - you probably know these as they are commonly recommended as first-line treatment for any kind of pain, deplete folate.

  • Prednisone - a steroid and commonly used to treat things such as inflammation, autoimmune conditions, pain and much more, depletes folate, magnesium, selenium, vitamins C & D, and zinc. Again, a large list of vitamins and minerals that this medication burns through during its processing and use and another example of when a multi-vitamin might be the best "bang for your buck!"

  • Proton pump inhibitors (ex: Omeprazole aka Prilosec, Nexium, etc.) - used used to treat heartburn depletes B12, mostly due to the action of the proton pump inhibitor itself as you need a robust amount of stomach acid and something called intrinsic factor to be able to absorb B12 from your food.

  • Oral contraceptives/hormones - used in pregnancy prevention, painful/irregular periods, peri-menopause, menopause deplete ALL the B vitamins (B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), B12).



*DISCLAIMER: This document is not intended to treat or diagnose disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols be sure to consult with a licensed physician. The author has nothing to disclose in regards to supplements or products mentioned within this document and the author does not receive any monetary or other incentive to mention the recommended supplements or products.

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