Pharmaceutical Drugs and Nutrient Depletion


Many people who regularly take medications may not be aware that some commonly prescribed drugs can cause nutrient depletions. Studies in the scientific literature for the past thirty years have been reporting the drug-induced depletion of nutrients. However, much of this information has been buried in scientific journals and is only recently coming to light. More than 1,000 commonly prescribed prescription drugs and many over-the-counter (OTC) medications deplete one or more nutrients in humans, according to a recently published book titled The Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook.

This is alarming information when you consider that millions of Americans regularly eat nutritionally poor diets consisting of junk and processed foods which do not supply the minimum daily requirement of many essential nutrients. In fact, a nutritional survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 80 percent of Americans do not consume the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for one or more of the essential nutrients on a daily basis. Giving one or more drugs to a person whose immune system is already compromised from a nutritionally depleted diet, environmental toxins and pollution, anti-nutrients, and high-stress lifestyle, and who is already sick, only further depletes their body of nutrients.

A survey in 1998 revealed that at least 12 of the top 20 medications prescribed in the United States are drugs that cause nutrient depletions. Some of the commonly prescribed drugs that cause nutrient depletions include oral contraceptives, anti-ulcer medications, estrogen replacement therapy medications, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsants, anti-hypertensive, tricyclic antidepressants, antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta blockers, phenothiazines, and benzodiazepines.

Some of the nutrients commonly depleted and affected by drugs, according to the handbook are: Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, Zinc, Co-Q10, Vitamin A & D, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Vitamin K, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, and Folic acid.

If you are on medication, it is important that you discuss this with your doctor. If your doctor prescribes medication but fails to address the nutrient effects of the medication, it may be wise to seek a doctor who will take this into account and consult a nutritionist who understands and is trained in this area.

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