We're welcoming Sam Cotto from Natural Health Planner back to the blog today!
When it comes to our health, we don’t compromise. We exercise, eat nutritious food, and keep an eye on what we put in our bodies. When our health deteriorates, we take medications to cure us of our ailments. But what if we told you that the medications you take — the ones that are supposed to help you live a longer, better life — can do more harm than good? Out of 900 drugs and fixed-drug combinations in the U.S, almost 400 can cause the serious depletion of essential nutrients in your body. While it’s difficult and perhaps even impossible to completely write off prescription drugs, we can limit their detrimental effects. In this article, we’ll go over the types of drugs that lead to nutrient depletion and offer information on how you can replace the vital nutrients that are lost from taking them.
Statins, a class of drugs, block a substance that is integral to the production of cholesterol. The reduction of synthesized cholesterol increases the liver’s removal of “bad” cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. While useful, the depletion of nutrients that they cause also exposes patients to some serious health risks.
Medications: Advicor, Caduet, Crestor, Lescol, Lipitor, Mevacor, Vytorin, Zocor, and Pravachol
Nutrients Lost: Coenzyme Q10, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K Potential Health Problems: Depletion of coenzyme Q10 can lead to decreased protection against cancer and aging, congestive heart failure (CHF), increased lipid levels as well as muscle pain and weakness.
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: 100-300 mg of CoQ10, Vitamin D (1000–2000 IU) to protect yourself against side effects and improve your overall health
Antibiotics are used to treat infections, prevent the spread of disease, prevent secondary infections, and reduce serious complications. However, their misuse and long-term consumption can also open up a plethora of potential health issues. Depending on the medication you take, you may get yeast infections, insomnia, memory loss, depression, muscle weakness, higher risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), mental confusion, anemia, decreased immune function, anxiety as well as skin, nervous system, and intestinal issues
Medications: Amoxicillin, Azithromycin (Z-Pak/Tri-Pak/Zithromax), Cefaclor (Ceclor), Cefdinir (Omnicef), Cephalexin (Keflex), Clarithromycin (Biaxin), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), Doxycycline (Vibramycin), Erythromycin, Levofloxacin (Levaquin), Minocycline (Minocin), Moxifloxacin (Avelox), Nalidixic Acid (NegGram), Penicillin, Tetracycline, and more
Nutrients Lost: Biotin, calcium, folic acid, helpful bacteria, inositol, iron, major B vitamins (vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, B9, B12), vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, zinc, etc.
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: Calcium (500-1000 mg), magnesium (250-400 mg), B-complex
vitamins, inositol (100-1,000 mg), and probiotics to maintain immunity and gut health
Birth Control (Oral Contraceptives)
While oral contraceptives — a combination of estrogen and progestogen — can help prevent pregnancy, women also rely on the pill for various of health reasons. They may use them to reduce cramps or menstrual pain, regulate menstrual cycles, and treat endometriosis and acne. While the pill comes in handy for these physical concerns, it also comes with a host of side effects that can impact your health.
Nutrients Lost: Calcium, folic acid, vitamin C, selenium, vitamins B2, B6, B12, magnesium, and zinc.
Potential Health Problems: Increases the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, cervical dysplasia, heart attack, blood clots, muscle weakness, cramps, low sex drive, and depression.
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: You can take calcium (1,000-1,200 mg), folic acid (400-800 mcg), magnesium(400-600 mg), zinc (25-50 mg), vitamin C (1,000 mg), vitamin B6 (5mg) daily to make up for the lost nutrients.
SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, work by making the serotonin molecule more available in the synapse increasing the neurotransmitter's feel-good effects.
Medications: Nortriptyline (Pamelor), Doxepin (Adapin), Clomipramine (Anafranil), Imipramine (Tofranil), Desipramine (Norpramin), Amitriptyline (Elavil), Prochlorperazine (Compazine), Fluphenazine (Prolixin), Promazine (Sparine), Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Perphenazine, Thioridazine (Thioril), Phenelzine (Nardil)
Nutrients Lost: Coenzyme Q10, sodium, melatonin, vitamin B12 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Potential Health Problems: Changes in blood sugar levels, congestive heart failure, higher risk of cancer, higher lipid levels, fatigue, growth hormone deficiency, and PMS
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: B vitamins, CoQ10 (100-300 mg), folic acid (800mcg), SAMe or S-adenosyl methionine (200mg), omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 mg)
Antacids and Acid-Suppressing Drugs
Antacids and acid-suppressing drugs reduce stomach acid. Stomach acid is part of the body’s defense system. It kills a host of harmful intruders such as bacteria and viruses and suppresses and decreases acid production. However, this also prevents acid from entering the gastric lumen, leading to health issues.
Medications: Maalox, Mylanta, Pepcid, Zantac, Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix, and Aciphex
Nutrients Lost: Vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Potential Health Problems: Increased risk of a particular type of pneumonia, reduced bodily defense against hazardous microorganisms, impaired protein digestion.
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: Vitamin B12 (25-1000 mcg), magnesium (250-400 mg), calcium (1,000-1,200mg), omega-3 fatty acids (1,000-2,000 mg), vitamin D (1000-2000 IU), iron (discuss dosage with your healthcare provider), zinc (11 mg), and high-quality, broad-spectrum probiotics.
Blood Sugar Control Drugs
Blood sugar control medications work in different ways to lower the glucose levels in your blood.
It does so by enhancing the effect of insulin to help keep your blood sugar levels closer to the
Medications: Metformin (Glucophage and Glucovance), Glipizide (Glucotrol), Glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase, Micronase), Glimepiride (Amaryl)
Nutrients Lost: Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B12, vitamin B9 (folic acid)
Potential Health Problems: Congestive heart failure, increased lipid levels, hair loss, higher homocysteine levels (can lead to heart disease), congenital disabilities, anemia (feelings of being tired and weak), abnormal development of the cervix, adverse neurologic problems, and depression
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: Vitamin B12 ( 200-1,000 mcg), folic acid (400-800 mcg) and CoQ10 (30-200 mg)
Antihypertensives such as beta-blockers work by reducing cardiac output to lower blood
pressure. Another class of hypertension drugs, diuretics, reduces blood pressure by moving
fluid out of the body with the help of the kidneys.
Medications: Chlorothiazide (Diuril), Spironolactone (Aldactone), Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol, Propranolol (Inderal), Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), torsemide (Demadex), Bumetanide (Bumex), Furosemide (Lasix), Hydralazine (Apresoline), and Hydrochlorothiazide
Nutrients Lost: CoQ10, vitamins B1 and B6, vitamin C, melatonin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and sodium.
Potential Health Problems: Sexual dysfunction, impaired immune system (higher risk of infection and less ability to fight them), anemia, edema, muscle pain and weakness, high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, insomnia, depression, PMS, tooth decay, mental confusion, high risk of heart disease, muscle cramps, loss of taste and smell, and the slower healing of wounds
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: CoQ10 (100-300mg), a well-balanced complete multivitamin supplement containing key nutrients, calcium (1,000mg), magnesium (250–400 mg), potassium (≤ 100 mg), and zinc(11 mg)
Benzodiazepines, a class of drugs known as tranquilizers, have sedating effects which have
proven to help treat anxiety.
Medications: Diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), Ativan, Prosom, Restoril
Nutrients Lost: Melatonin, calcium
Potential Health Problems: Decreased protection against cancer and aging, changes in blood sugar, depression, growth hormone deficiency, insomnia
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: Calcium (500–1000 mg), melatonin (1–3 mg)
Anticonvulsants or antiepileptics help prevent or treat epileptic seizures. Many anticonvulsants
act as mood stabilizers and are used for the treatment of neuropathic pain. They’re often used
to treat bipolar and borderline personality disorders.
Medications: Butalbital (Fioricet, Phrenilin, Fiorinal, Phenytoin (Dilantin), Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Primidone (Mysoline), Valproic Acid (Depakene/Depacon), Phenobarbital (Luminal sodium),), Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
Nutrients Lost: Zinc, copper, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin B9 (folic acid), selenium, carnitine, DHA fatty acid, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin B7 (biotin)
Potential Health Problems: PMS, muscle cramps, high blood pressure, higher homocysteine which can contribute to cardiovascular diseases, skin problems, neurologic issues, thinning and weakening of the bones, bone and muscle weakness, anemia
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: Calcium (500 mg), vitamin B12 (25–1000 mcg), vitamin D (1000–2000 IU)
Antipsychotics or neuroleptics are a type of psychiatric medication available by prescription for
treating and managing psychosis. They can reduce symptoms of schizophrenia and other
mental health disorders, decrease agitation and aggression, and can help stabilize mood.
They’re used to treat different psychiatric conditions, including bipolar disorder.
Medications: Abilify, Haldol, Seroquel, Risperdal, Zyprexa
Nutrients Lost: Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Potential Health Problems: Mild sedation, dry mouth, weight gain, tardive dyskinesia, constipation, acute dystonia, akathisia, and sexual dysfunction
How to Replace Lost Nutrients: Daily multivitamin, B vitamins, vitamin C (250–500 mg)
This article isn’t meant to dissuade you from using prescription medications. After all, they’re
often necessary to ease symptoms and improve one’s quality of life. However, being aware of
how it affects our nutritional supplies can help us reduce their potentially harmful effects.
The key takeaway is to take them only when necessary and take additional supplements while
you’re on them. This can go a long way in restoring our lost nutrients and avoiding health
Please note that this article is meant to inform. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases.
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