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Drugs and nutrient depletions



We've likely all needed prescription and over-the-counter medications at some point in our lives. They certainly have their place in modern medicine but chronic use can sometimes lead to deficiencies. Side effects of a drug stem from these deficiencies an estimated 30% of the time and not necessarily the drug itself. In certain high risk populations (seniors, children) this is estimated to be much higher.

In practice it is difficult for any health care provider to discern what symptoms stem from a disease condition vs nutrient depletion vs drug side-effect.

Drugs can affect nutrient absorption, production, storage or excretion.

  • CHOLESTEROL LOWERING DRUGS (STATINS): Perhaps the most well-known class of drugs that causes nutrient depletion so much that it is never recommended to prescribe without coQ10 [although it happens all the time].

  • Blocks cholesterol production = decrease production of coQ10 (leading to muscle fatigue, pain and heart failure). also depletes other micronutrients.

  • ACID-SUPPRESSANTS: Both H2 receptor antagonists and PPIs decrease stomach acid.

  • B12, Iron and other minerals require sufficient acid for absorption.

  • ANTI-DEPRESSANTS: Serotonin and Dopamine production depends on adequate B vitamin status

  • In particular B12 and folic acid are necessary as is melatonin.


This is a very short list of the most common drugs I see but speak with a professional if you're on any medications (especially the following) to find out how you can have the drug work for you without causing depletions - or if there are alternatives.

  • ANALGESICS

  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES

  • BLOOD PRESSURE Rx

  • ANTIBIOTICS

  • LAXATIVES

  • ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

  • HYPOGLYCEMICS

  • STIMULANTS

Naturopaths were awarded prescribing rights in 2015 and many of us have opted to achieve this additional accreditation by writing our prescribing and therapeutics examination. Talking to an ND that has some pharmaceutical background and prescribing rights - is a good call. We'll help you navigate your options and avoid unwanted side-effects wherever possible.


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