Medications and Nutrient Depletion Part II

In CategoryHealth News, Pharmacy

As promised, here are some very commonly prescribed drugs, and a little about how they can affect a patient’s nutritional status and overall health.   

Acid reducing medicines (Omeprazole, Prevacid, Zantac, Nexium, etc.)

 It seems to me that acid-reducing medications are prescribed more and more often, for a variety of conditions.  They are certainly one of the most commonly prescribed medicines we dispense.  I’m sure you don’t go a day or two without being exposed to an advertisement for Prilosec or Prevacid.  These medicines can relieve discomfort, cure ulcers, and protect the stomach from other medications.

These medicines also affect the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.  The digestive system has been calibrated over the centuries to efficiently absorb nutrients from food, processes which may be dependent on the pH, or acidity in the gut.  There are several essential vitamins and minerals that might be affected.  

These include:

  • Calcium

  • Vitamin D

  • Folic Acid

  • B-12

 Of special note is vitamin D.  A mountain of recent research has shown the importance of vitamin D in supporting a variety of healthy processes in the body.  Low levels are associated with increased risks of cancer, mental illness, and poor bone health, among other things. Vitamin D is obtained in the diet, and through exposure to sunlight.

 In northern areas, such as ours, we don’t have the benefit of sun exposure many months out of the year.  If you’d like to learn more about Vitamin D, check out for more information, or contact a Lehan’s pharmacist.

 Antibiotic therapy (Levaquin, Amoxicillin, etc.)

Antibiotics have revolutionized healthcare, saved countless lives, and battled some of the most deadly diseases known to man.

 They are also quite effective in destroying the microbes in our intestines that we rely on for proper digestion, intestinal health, vaginal health, and even proper functioning of our immune systems.

Supplementing with a high-quality probiotic helps maintain the correct intestinal flora and can prevent antibiotic side effects.  Ask one of our pharmacists how to tell the difference between higher and lesser quality products to ensure you are getting optimal benefit.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs (“Statins” i.e. Lipitor, Crestor, Simvastatin, Lovastatin, etc.)

Statins, or HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors, lower cholesterol.  There is evidence they can improve cardiovascular health and reduce major health events.

 They also deplete Coenzyme Q10.  CoQ10 is a substance vital for normal functioning of the mitochondria, or the “engines,” in every cell of our body.  Healthy levels of coenzyme Q10 are critical in supporting the normal functioning of those energy pathways.  One patent application by a major drug manufacturer for their product references this depletion, and even goes so far to recommend replacement for all patients!

There are other benefits from taking taking CoQ10.  A review of clinical trials in 2007 also showed CoQ10 may help lower blood pressure..

 Note: Coenzyme Q10 is not well absorbed when taken orally.  Certain formulations can provide more efficient absorption.  Ask one of our pharmacists for recommendations.

 Beta blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, etc.)

 These medicines help control blood pressure, heart rate, and can improve survival in certain chronic heart conditions.

 They also reduce levels of coenzyme Q10, and they deplete melatonin, a hormone vital in the normal functioning of our sleep-wake cycle.

 We’ve provided you a very short list, and many other medications may cause nutritional deficiencies.  Sometimes nutritional supplementation with vitamins or minerals is an effective means to help combat drug-induced deficiencies.  Don’t hesitate to contact a Lehan’s pharmacist for more information, or for other recommendations to help you maintain optimal health and nutrition.

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One Response to “Medications and Nutrient Depletion Part II”

  1. Elizabeth Padron Vos Says:

    Can you tell me if there are any Beta Blockers (or substitutes for Beta Blockers that do not deplete Co Q 10?)

    Thank you.