Could Your Meds Be Doing More Harm Than Good?
Sarah Reid, RHNC
It’s enough of a struggle for most modern people to get all the vital nutrients they require to stay healthy. In 2005, a study reported that approximately 73% of us are deficient in zinc, 85% are low in Essential Fatty Acids, and 56% lacked Vitamin A. Widespread B-vitamin, healthy gut flora and phytonutrient deficiencies were also found. Each of these nutrients plays a part in maintaining the delicate immune balance, and their absence leads to the over-susceptibility to common “winter” ailments such as the common cold or flu, as well as chronic illnesses and even mental disorders.
The problem compounds when medications come into play. Many of the commonly prescribed drugs, even if they aren’t for an acute infection, deplete the body’s stores of nutrients or prevent them from being absorbed entirely. In short, the medications that are supposed to help you heal are actually prolonging your discomfort and raising the chance of having worse problems down the line.
Here are some of the common medications and the nutrients they counteract (either by preventing absorption or depleting the body’s stores):
Birth Control Pill: Vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12 and C, folic acid, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Iron
Proton pump inhibitors, H2 blockers or antacids: Calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamins D and C, beta-carotene
Metformin/Glucophage: Vitamin B12, folic acid, coenzyme Q10
Antibiotics: Healthy gut bacteria, all B vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, biotin
Statin drugs: Coenzyme Q10, vitamin A
Blood thinners: Vitamins E, K, coenzyme Q10, EFAs
Diuretics: Potassium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, folic acid, vitamins B1, B6, and C
If you’ve been prescribed these medications and are using them for the long term, make sure you regularly monitor your nutrient levels with blood work. Never stop a prescribed medication without talking to your physician first!