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Nutrients Depleted by Medications …

Nutrient Depletions from Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs have side effects. That is, they have effects which are besides the intended effect. This can vary from person to person. This is Not Medical Advice. Always Consult your Doctor since all conditions are unique

antihypertensive Nutrient Depletions from Prescription DrugsThe intended effects of drugs are mostly to stop a process in the body, hence the “anti-” designation: anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, anti-hypertensive. These altered processes are most likely produced as the body’s compensation for an imbalance somewhere. When you stop a natural process with a drug, like the stomach producing acid, there are consequences. The symptom – heartburn – may be gone, but the body does not function the same, and over time will result in compromised health.

medicinalherbs Nutrient Depletions from Prescription DrugsI always try to focus on restoring the functions of the body, with natural means such as herbs, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, and some natural hormones. What is most important to me is the understanding of how a human functions, and to support and restore functions, not stop them.

For example:  I suffered from what was called acid reflux disease many years ago.  I was prescribed a pill to stop the ‘excess’ acid.  But I still suffered from the condition that the pill was prescribed to alleviate.  After months of going back & forth with my doctors, different meds and, keeping a journal of foods I was eating – lo and behold … I found out that it was a lactose intolerance.  All the symptoms (including the ulcer …) was thought to be acid reflux disease but it WAS NOT that.  It was the task of eliminating all dairy products from my diet as well as eliminating the pill too!

I view prescription drugs as a valid option for some people with some conditions. If you are one of these, please be informed about what consequences result from taking your drug. Understanding how your body is compensating for an imbalance with your symptoms and finding treatments to restore the function (or eliminate the over-function) is the best approach. And if you need to take a prescription drug now, be aware of its side effects.

clinicaltrials Nutrient Depletions from Prescription DrugsOne way to understand some of these side effects is that the drugs cause certain nutritional deficiencies when taken over time. Prescription drugs can deplete nutrients through many mechanisms, including impaired nutrient absorption, storage, transport, metabolism, or even excretion.

There are a large number of studies in medical literature which report the nutrient depletion of certain drugs. I’m sure your drug package insert does not list these, and most doctors who prescribe the drugs are not aware of them. I believe that everyone would serve themselves by becoming informed health consumers.

To that end, I am listing here the nutrient depletions of common prescription drugs. This is meant to simply be a starting point, with common brand names of drugs listed. There are several handbooks (see resources at the end), so you can look it up in more detail. If you feel that it is in your best interest to take your prescribed drug, then you will probably have a better health outcome and reduce the risk of the drug’s side effects by supplementing with the listed nutrients.

5-Aminosalycyclic acid (for bowel inflammation)

  • Sulfasalazine, Colaza1, Mesalamine
  • Depletes: Folic acid


  • Aranesp, Epogen, Procrit, Neulasta
  • Depletes: None reported

Antacids (H2 Blockers, Proton Pump Inhibitors)

  • Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix, Maalox, Mylanta,Tagamet, TUMS, Pepcid, Zantac
  • Depletes: Calcium, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, Vitamin D, Folic acid, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B1


  • Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Pennicillin, Tetracycline, Cephalosporin, Ciprofloxacin
  • Depletes: Bifidobacteria, Lactobaccillus, Biotin, Potassium, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Vitamins C, E, K, Inositol, Magnesium, Zinc


  • Warfarin
  • Depletes: None reported

Anti-Depressants (SSRI)

  • Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil
  • Depletes: Folic acid, Vitamins B6, B12, D, Essential Fatty Acids, Sodium


  • Actos, Metformin, Glucotrol, Avandia
  • Depletes: CoQ10, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12
    Low magnesium levels may predispose to this condition. 


  • Singulair, Zyrtec
  • Depletes: Essesential Fatty Acids

Anti-Hypertensives (ACE inhibitors, Beta-Blockers)

  • Toprol-XL, Norvasc, Lisinopril, Furosemide, Chlorthalidone, Clonidine, Propanolol
  • Depletes: CoQ10, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin B1


  • Aspirin, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Naproxen
  • Depletes: Folic acid, Iron, Potassium, Sodium, Vitamin C, Glutathione


  • Advair Diskus, Singulair, Albuterol
  • Depletes: Potassium

Cholesterol-Lowering (STATINS)

  • Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Cholestyramine, Colesevelam, Fenofibrate
  • Depletes: CoQ10, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Folic acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamins A, B12, D, E, K


  • Prednisone, Hydrocortisone, Prednisole, Bethamethasone
  • Depletes: Calcium, Folic acid, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Vitamins A, B6, C, D, K, ZInc


  • Furosemide, Hydorchlorothiazide, Triamterene
  • Depletes: Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Vitamins B1, B6, C, Zinc, CoQ10, Folic acid


  • Colchicine
  • Depletes: Vitamins A, D, B12, Folic acid, Iron, Potassium

Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • Estrace, Premarin, Prempro, Alora
  • Depletes: Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, Magnesium, Biotin, Pantothenic acid


  • Metamucil, FiberCon, Citrucel, Colace, Glycolax, Milk of magnesia, Dulcolax
  • Depletes: Vitamins A, D, E, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium

Oral Contaceptives

  • Ortho Cyclen, Ortho Novum, Ortho TriCyclen, Triphasil, Seasonale, Yasmin, Ethinyl Estradiol plus Norgestrel
  • Depletes: Beta-Carotene, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, Folic acid, Biotin, Pantothenic acid, Magnesium, Zinc, Tryptophan, Tyrosine


  • Seroquel, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Haldol, Amitriptyline
  • Depletes: Vitamin B2, CoQ10

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Enbrel, Remicade, Methotrezate
  • Depletes: Folic acid

Sleep Aids

  • Ambien, Lunesta, Restoril, Sonata
  • Depletes: None reported, but those that act on the GABA-A receptor may deplete Biotin, Calcium, Folic acid, Vitamins B1, B12, D, K


  • Synthroid, Levothryoxine sodium
  • Depletes: Iron


  • Pelton, Lavalle, Hawkins, Krinsky. Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook. Lexi-Comp; 2nd Ed., 2001
  • Pelton R Lavalle. The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Drugs. Morton Publishing Co, 2nd Ed., 2004
  • Vaglini F, Fox B. The Side Effects Bible: The Dietary Solution to Unwanted Side Effects of Common Medications.Broadway, 2005.

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