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Nutrient Depletion

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Did you know that certain medications can steal your vitamins, minerals, and more?

No one can deny that conventional modern medicine is a blessing. The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease helped improve the average human life expectancy from 52 years in 1960 to 72 years in 2018 1️⃣.

However, many people rely on drugs for both acute and chronic conditions without knowing they are also depleting important nutrients from their bodies. This can cause even more damage than the reason they started taking the medication in the first place.

Some common examples are 2️⃣3️⃣4️⃣:

💊Antacids, like Gaviscon (heartburn, acid reflux): Deplete Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Calcium, Folate (folic acid), and Phosphate Salts.

Potential depletion problems: thinning and weakening of the bones, muscle cramps, tooth decay, muscle pain, insomnia, skeletal problems, low energy, anemia (tiredness, weakness), birth defects, increased homocysteine levels which may help contribute to cardiovascular disease, and hair loss.

💊Antiepileptics or Anticonvulsants, like Diazepam (seizures): Deplete Vitamin K, Calcium, Folate (folic acid), Inositol, L-Carnitine, Melatonin, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Selenium, and Zinc.

Potential depletion problems: insomnia, depression, growth hormone deficiency, blood sugar changes, decreased protection against cancer, and aging.

💊Biguanides, like Metformin (Type 2 diabetes): Deplete Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B12, and Folate (folic acid).

Potential depletion problems: decreased protection against cancer and aging, tiredness, anemia (tiredness, weakness), depression, adverse neurologic problems, increased homocysteine levels which may help contribute to cardiovascular disease, and hair loss.

💊Corticosteroids (skin conditions, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis): Deplete Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium, Chromium, Folate (folic acid), Magnesium, Selenium, Strontium, and Zinc.

Potential depletion problems: vision problems; anemia (tiredness, weakness), birth defects, increased homocysteine levels which may help contribute to cardiovascular disease, hair loss, weakened immune system (increased susceptibility to infections and decreased ability to fight off infections), bone and muscle weakness, hearing loss, muscle cramps, tooth decay, insomnia, blood sugar dysregulation, insulin resistance, anxiety, nervousness, asthmatic attacks, mental confusion, and dizziness.

💊Estrogens (post-menopause symptoms): Deplete Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Folate (folic acid), Magnesium, and Zinc.

Potential depletion problems: depression, insomnia, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, weak bones, anxiety, nervousness, and asthmatic attacks.

💊Penicillin antibiotics, like amoxicillin (bacterial infections): Deplete Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin B12, Vitamin K, Folate (folic acid), Magnesium, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Potassium, and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).

Potential depletion problems: yeast infections (due to incomplete nutrient and food absorption); depression, irritability, problems with the skin (acne, scaly skin), problems with the eyes (sensitivity to light, cracked, dry mucous membranes), anemia (weakness, tiredness), decreased immune function and slow wound healing, and constipation.

💊Salicylates, like Aspirin (analgesic, ischemic attacks and myocardial infarction risk reduction): Deplete Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, and Folate (folic acid).

Potential depletion problems: anemia (tiredness, weakness); problems with the skin, intestinal and nervous systems, and weakened immune system.

💊Statins (lower cholesterol): Deplete Beta Carotene, Co-Enzyme Q10, and L-Carnitine.

Potential depletion problems: decreased protection against cancer and aging, low energy, congestive heart failure, and increased lipid levels.

Not to mention that most drugs are not tested regarding their impact on the gut microbiota. A study from 2018 with more than 1,000 marketed drugs showed that 24% of them inhibited the growth of at least one gut bacterial strain (even though they are considered non-antibiotic drugs) 5️⃣. The gut microbiome is really important in maintaining human health, it supports digestion of our food, regulates the immune system, protects against bacteria that can cause disease, and produces vitamins.

We now know that changing diet and lifestyle can prevent the use of medications as well as supporting the patient's health to the point they might not need the drugs anymore. Once they’ve achieved optimal health this can be the case of people with high cholesterol, skin conditions, depression, asthma, and diabetes, to name a few.

Work with your doctor (ideally a Functional Medicine doctor) and your Nutritional Therapist/ Nutritionist to figure out what can be done in your case, like reevaluate your diet, supplements, daily habits, stress management, try natural remedies (e.g.: Homeopathy, Homeobotanicals, and herbs) and learn how to improve your health even if you have to keep taking medications.

Please have a look at my Services page and get in touch if you would like to book a consultation.

🍋 Love, Juli 🌷


1️⃣The World Bank

2️⃣Chiro Drug-Nutrient Depletion and Interaction Charts

3️⃣Pharmacy Solutions Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion

4️⃣Coastal Pharmacy Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletions

5️⃣Extensive impact of non-antibiotic drugs on human gut bacteria.

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