Drugs CAN Rob Some Vital Body Nutrients

Please note........ the use of drugs can create secondary complications. I am not saying to stop your drugs, just be aware of secondary issues that can result when using the following drugs.

Beware the Drugs That Rob Your Health and Strength

By Al Sears, MD

Popular prescription drugs can rob your body of many essential nutrients, doing you more harm than good.

Scores of popularly prescribed drugs for all kinds of health problems have been proven to leach important vitamins, minerals, and key enzymes out of your body or prevent it from being able to absorb them. They can also affect metabolism and even make it impossible for your body to use certain nutrients.

Look for These Common Thieves in Your Medicine Cabinet

Some of the most commonly used drugs in America today can cause any one of the problems on this list.

You may be surprised to learn that aspirin makes it harder for your body to absorb vitamin C.1 It can also decrease levels of iron and folic acid, leading to anemia, susceptibility to cold and flu, and a host of additional ailments.2

Oral Contraceptives
Oral contraceptives have been shown to drain your body of vitamin B6, B12, zinc, and blood magnesium levels. This can set a cascade of unwanted side effects in motion, including sleeplessness, mood swings, diarrhea, poor immune resistance, insomnia, depression -- even anorexia.3

Acid Blockers
If you're taking drugs to relieve heartburn or acid reflux, chances are you're shortchanging your body of zinc and iron.4-5 You need zinc in abundance for its power to help your body recover from wounds and injury and fight off infectious diseases.

It's also one of the keys to prostate health, virility, and sexual performance. In fact, for men, the prostate gland is where most of the body's zinc is concentrated.

Acid blockers' also effect iron levels -- particularly in women. We all need iron to enable our blood to deliver oxygen to every cell in our bodies. Without enough of it, a host of problems set in, including anemia, fatigue, and greater vulnerability to illness.

Prednisone and hydrocortisone are some of the top drugs used to treat lupus, Crohn's disease, and other autoimmune or inflammatory conditions. Unfortunately, they also leach calcium from your body and increase its elimination, putting you at greater risk of bone fracture and osteoporosis.

Some studies have shown these drugs can also lower levels of key trace elements, including magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper, and potassium. You should be taking supplements to offset the loss of so many important nutrients.

Hormone Replacement Drugs
The term "hormone replacement" is totally misleading: the drugs doctors are prescribing to millions every year to offset declining hormone levels aren't "replacing" anything. That's because drug makers derive them from animal hormones that are utterly foreign to your body.

Studies show that these drugs deplete a long list of critical nutrients, including:

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Folic acid
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
Vitamin C
Anti-Diabetic Drugs
Metformin, one of the most widely used medications to treat the symptoms of diabetes, robs your body of vitamin B12 and folic acid. It can attack heart health over time, partly because it also lowers CoQ10 levels. Every cell in your body needs it for metabolism, and it's especially crucial for the proper function of your vital organs, including the brain, heart, and liver. As you age, your body makes less and less of it.

Statin Drugs
Lipitor, Zocor, Mevacor, and the like are great at driving your LDL cholesterol levels through the floor; unfortunately, they do the same thing to CoQ10 levels. Here are just a few of the risks you face if you're taking statins:

Inability to concentrate
Lowered sex drive
Weakened immune system
Shortness of breath
Liver damage
Kidney failure
Nerve pain
Muscle weakness
Rhabdomyolysis (painful bursting of muscle cells)

Blood Pressure Drugs
Sixty-five million Americans have high blood pressure according to the American Heart Association. If all of them were to take some of the most common drugs to treat hypertension, they'd also be deficient in vitamin B6 and CoQ10.

There are two kinds of diuretics: thiazides and loop diuretics. They're great at lowering blood pressure. Doctors also prescribe them for diseases of the kidney and liver, as well as for heart health.

While they help to fight these health conditions, they can also cause serious health problems. Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide, Hydrodiuril) lowers levels of zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Loop diuretics like furosemide (Delone, Detue, Lasix), and bumetanide (Bumex) also deplete calcium, and vitamins B6 and C.

Halt These Health Problems in Their Tracks . . . Now

Here's a list I've put together of signs to watch out for. They may mean you're missing an important nutrient:

Medical Malnourishment: Nutrients and Signs to Watch For
B1 (Thiamin) Depression, memory loss, weight loss, fatigue, numbness
B2 Dermatitis, lesions at the corners of the mouth, swollen tongue, vision loss
B3 (Niacin) Skin lesions, insomnia, depression, aggression, swelling, diarrhea, weakness, "brain fog," balding
B5 (Pantothenic Acid Fatigue, numbness, foot pain
B6 (Pyridoxine) Depression, fatigue, dermatitis, anemia, glucose intolerance
B7 (Biotin) Balding, depression, dermatitis, nausea, anorexia
B9 (Folate) Anemia, fatigue, cervical dysplasia, diarrhea, gingivitis, depression, irritability, insomnia
B12 (Cobalamin) Anemia, fatigue, poor nerve function, diarrhea, loss of memory
Vitamin C Liver spots, bleeding at the gums, fatigue
Calcium Weakened bones and fractures, muscle spasms
Magnesium Fatigue, irritability, weakness, muscle cramps, insomnia, anorexia
Potassium Fatigue, irregular heartbeat, irritability, confusion, reduced nerve function
Iron Anemia, weakness, fatigue, poor immune function
Zinc Slow recovery from wounds, decreased immunity, loss of taste and smell, balding, skin disorders, sexual dysfunction
Selenium Poor immune function, heart disease
CoQ10 Hypertension, fatigue, cardiovascular disease
Carnitine Muscle weakness, inability to digest fat, stunted growth in children, poor athletic performance

If you're not taking supplements and wonder if you should, here are the basics that I recommend to most of my patients.

Vitamin C: 1,500 mg to 4,000 mg per day
B Complex: B6 - 150 mg; Folic Acid - 1600 mcg; B12 - 800 mg per day
CoQ10: 200 mg (or 50 mg of my Accel) per day
Cod Liver Oil: 1 to 2 tablespoons a day


Das et al. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 1992. 17(6):343-6.

Lawrence et al. Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine. 1984. 103(6):944-8.

Bielenberg J. Medizinische Monatsschrift für Pharmazeuten. 1991. 14(8):244-7.
Sturniolo et al. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1991. 10(4):372-5.

Aymard et al. Medical Toxicology and Adverse Drug Experience. 1988. 3(6):430-48.

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The information provided by this online support network through WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and Inspire is for general informational purposes only. The information is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. If you are ill, or suspect that you are ill, see a doctor immediately. In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease never recommends or endorses any specific physicians, products or treatments for any condition.