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Prescription Drugs and Micronutrient Deficiencies

//Prescription Drugs and Micronutrient Deficiencies

Prescription Drugs and Micronutrient Deficiencies

What have my meds got to do with micronutrient deficiencies?

Your prescription drugs may have more negative side effects than just an upset stomach or nausea. The pharmaceutical industry has been growing continuously in the past decade to meet the demands of the aging baby-boom population, but did you know that by taking prescription drugs, the absorption of essential micronutrients is compromised?

The best-selling prescription drugs in the country used to treat hypertension, chronic heart failure, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), gastritis, diabetes, insulin resistance and hypercholesterolemia can cause micronutrient deficiencies in zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B12, iron, CoQ10 and vitamin D. For people who have to take these medications to help relieve their disease symptoms, it is absolutely critical to receive dietary supplementation to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, which can manifest in a vicious cycle of initiating many more diseases.

Physicians use a class of prescription drugs encompassing Angiotensin-Conversion Enzyme Inhibitors (ACEI) and Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonists (ARA II) to lower blood pressure in hypertensive and diabetic patients. The usage of ACEI and ARA II decrease the availability of zinc for cellular use and increases the amount eliminated by the kidneys. Zinc deficiencies result in a myriad of unpleasant conditions, such as hypogonadism (where the testes or ovaries do not produce enough sex hormones), hypothyroidism and increase the vulnerability to infections.

The usage of Acetylsalicylic Acid (ASA) for its anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties cause the deficiency of vitamin C by decreasing the absorption in the gut and availability for cellular use. Here is the catch, individuals suffering from inflammation often take ASA, but the deficiency of a powerful antioxidant vitamin C will exacerbate the inflammation, resulting in a lose-lose situation against inflammation.

Both Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) and Metformin cause micronutrient deficiencies by decreasing absorption in the gut. PPIs are used to treat acid reflux and GERD by raising the pH of the stomach, which then limit absorption of vitamin B12, vitamin C and iron. Metformin, a prevalent drug to treat diabetes and insulin resistance, perturb the absorption of vitamin B12 and folic acid. Both vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies can lead to anemia. Folic acid is also an important methyl donor in the body and is related to heart disease and brain development.

Statins, perhaps the most over-prescribed drug in the country to lower cholesterol, compromise cellular availability of CoQ-10 and decrease the endogenous production vitamin D. The irony is that both CoQ-10 and vitamin D have been found to reduce cardiovascular disease, so the supplementation of CoQ-10 and vitamin D will be extremely beneficial for individuals on statins.

More often than not, information about the potential detrimental aspects of a prescription drug never gets relayed to the patient. However, since the usage of such drugs alter our absorption, reabsorption and metabolic pathways, dietary supplementation will be essential to keep body systems in check. And not to mention, it will certainly be helpful for physicians to think about more natural therapies before they bring their pen to the prescription pad.