Are Your Medications Stealing Your Nutrients?

Medications are a vital part of modern healthcare, helping us fight illness and manage chronic conditions. Long term medications for conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, diabetes and digestive complaints can cause nutritional depletions.

This means that certain medications can reduce the levels of vital nutrients in our bodies, leading to new health issues. Understanding these depletions and their potential impacts is crucial for maintaining overall wellness.


How Medications Deplete Nutrients:

Medications can affect your nutrient levels in several ways:

Reduced Absorption: Some medications hinder your gut's ability to absorb nutrients from food.

Increased Excretion: Certain drugs can cause your body to flush out vitamins and minerals more quickly.

Interference with Metabolism: Medications can sometimes disrupt the processes your body uses to convert nutrients into usable forms.


Common Medications and Their Nutritional Depletions

Here is a table highlighting some common medications and the nutrients they may deplete:

Everyday prescribed medications can cause a depletion of nutrients, which over time can have a detrimental effect on overall health, and unfortunately can lead to further medication being prescribed!

Some common examples include:


  • Antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin) - Magnesium & Vit B12 depletion
  • Antacids (e.g. omeprazole, lansoprazole) - Magnesium, Calcium, & Vit B12 depletion
  • Statins (e.g. simvastatin, atorvastatin) - Co-Q10 and Vit D depletion
  • Calcium channel blockers (e.g. amlodipine, felodipine) - Vit D depletion
  • Anti-diabetics (Metformin) - Vit B12 and Folate depletion
  • Oral Contraceptives - B Vitamins and Magnesium
  • Ace Inhibitors (e.g. Lisinopril, Ramipril) - Zinc
  • Steroids (e.g. Prednisolone, Beclometasone) - Vitamins B6, C, D & Folate depletion
  • NSAID's (e.g. Ibuprofen, Diclofenac) - Folate and Vitamin C depletion                            


How Nutritional Depletions Affect Your Health

Nutritional deficiencies can lead to a variety of symptoms, some of which may mimic the very condition your medication is meant to treat. This can make it difficult to diagnose the cause. For example, a B12 deficiency caused by metformin (used for diabetes) can present with fatigue, similar to a diabetic symptom.


  1. Fatigue and Weakness: Depletions in B vitamins, Magnesium, and Coenzyme Q10 often lead to fatigue and muscle weakness. These nutrients are vital for energy production and muscle function.
  2. Mood and Cognitive Issues: Nutrients like Vitamin B12, Folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health. Their depletion can cause symptoms like depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline.
  3. Bone Health: Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for bone strength. Medications like antacids and steroids can reduce these nutrients, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  4. Cardiovascular Health: Magnesium and Potassium play key roles in heart function. Diuretics and some blood pressure medications can deplete these minerals, potentially leading to heart rhythm problems.
  5. Immune Function: Vitamins like C and Zinc are essential for a robust immune system. Anti-inflammatories and other medications can reduce these nutrients, making you more susceptible to infections.


Steps to Mitigate Nutritional Depletions

  1. Nutrient-Rich Diet: Incorporate a variety of nutrient-dense foods into your diet to help replenish depleted nutrients. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  2. Supplement Wisely: Consult with a healthcare professional about taking supplements to address specific deficiencies. This should be done based on individual needs and the medications you are taking.
  3. Regular Monitoring: Have regular check-ups and blood tests to monitor nutrient levels, especially if you are on long-term medication.
  4. Discuss with Your Doctor: Always inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. They should be able to provide guidance on managing potential nutrient depletions.


If you've started experiencing new symptoms or feel unwell without any clear reason, it might be due to nutritional depletions caused by your medications. Don't ignore these signs. Take a proactive step towards better health by consulting with your healthcare provider. They can help determine if nutritional depletions are affecting you and develop a plan to address them. Stay empowered, informed and stay healthy!


Remember, your health is a journey, not a destination. Keep learning and growing towards a healthier you!



Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
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