by: Melissa A. Bartoszewski, DC
Many people do not realize that the medications they take on a daily basis can negatively affect the amount of nutrients stored in the body. Numerous drugs actually deplete specific vitamins and minerals, causing a whole host of additional problems. Being aware of what is being depleted by the prescription you are taking can help you to choose what to supplement with. Vitamins and minerals are vital for the everyday cellular processes in your body; inadequate amounts may lead to decreased immunity, digestive issues and much more.
What you are losing
Below are a few examples of some commonly prescribed drugs and a list of the nutrients that are automatically depleted.
Anti-inflammatory drugs deplete: Calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, Vitamins B6, C, D, K, folic acid, chromium, glutathione, Vitamins B6, C, D, and K
NSAIDs: Folic acid, melatonin
Aspirin/Salicylates: Vitamins C, K, B5, folic acid, calcium, iron and sodium
Corticosteroids: Vitamins A, C, D, B6, B12, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc
Cochicine (used for gout): Vitamin B12, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, Beta-carotene
Statins (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor,etc.): Coenzyme Q10
ACE Inhibitors for hypertension (Lisinopril, etc.): Zinc
What’s the big deal?
Zinc is a master mineral necessary in hundreds of enzymatic reactions throughout the body and plays a vital role in immune function. Zinc is not stored in the body and must be ingested through diet or supplementation. If you are chronically sick, you may be deficient in zinc due to poor dietary intake or from drug induced nutrient depletion. A good way to see if you are zinc deficient is to buy organic zinc lozenges, hold in your mouth, if it tastes sweet, you are deficient, if it tastes bitter, you are not. Once the sweetness wears off and there is no taste/bitter, discard the lozenge.
Coenzyme Q10 is a very powerful vitamin and antioxidant, also known as ubiquinone (“found everywhere”), because it is found in every cell of the body. Energy and ATP production are the main functions of this important vitamin. Research has shown that people with heart failure have lower levels of coenzyme Q10 and the vitamin may help to increase the energy production, pumping action and strength of the heart muscle.
Folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9, helps convert food into energy, assist with proper brain function, DNA/RNA synthesis, red blood cell production and iron functions. This vitamin may also aid in the prevention of heart disease, although further studies are still needed. Folic acid deficiencies may occur due to drug induced nutrient depletion, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and alcoholism, just to name a few.
These are only a few examples of very important vitamins and minerals that are automatically depleted when taking certain medications. Zinc, coenzyme Q10, folic acid and the other vitamins and minerals are essential for good health and the processes that go on inside of our bodies on a constant basis.
Take control of your health
What’s important to remember is that no drug is 100% percent safe and side effect free. Researching any drug your doctor prescribes is vital to being your own health advocate. Question your health care provider as to why the medication that he/she is prescribing is necessary. A list of side effects is now given with each prescription at the pharmacy; a list of vitamins and minerals that are automatically depleted as a direct result of the medication should also be supplied to every patient, with every prescription. You only have one body and should do everything in your power to protect it and keep it functioning optimally.
About the author:
Dr. Melissa Bartoszewski is a chiropractor at Estramonte Chiropractic & Wellness Center. She is a graduate of New York Chiropractic College. Dr. Bartoszewski is also a raw food and natural healthcare advocate.