COLUMN: Which Nutrients to Supplement When Taking Certain Medications

Dr. Brenda Gill
By Dr. Brenda Gill
October 5th, 2016

          Medications can deplete our nutrients by changing the way a nutrient is absorbed, produced, stored or eliminated. Some medications lower stomach acid, which is needed to break down protein, carbohydrates and fat, so, reduced digestion can result in reduced absorption of nutrients. Other medications bind on to certain substances in the blood, like bile, but, will also decrease the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Another problem is drugs that block the production of a nutrient, like statins, which inhibit the pathway that produces cholesterol, but, CoQ10 as well, which is a preventative for heart disease! Some medications increase the breakdown or elimination rate of the nutrient. Others increase urine output, thus increasing loss of water soluble nutrients, like magnesium and potassium. This list gives you an easy way to see if you are being affected, which nutrients are depleted, how it may be affecting you and therefore need supplementing.   (The source for this information is the Physician’s Desk Reference; Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, better known as the PDR.)


Drug                                                  Nutrients Depleted



Pepsid, Tagamet, Zantac                  Vitamin B12, Folic acid, Calcium                                                                 Vitamin D, Iron, Zinc

Proton pump inhibitors        

Prevacid, Prilosec                         Vitamin B12, Magnesium

Lack of these nutrients can cause: decreased energy, memory and concentration, gum disease,   muscle cramps and heart disease.


Amoxicillin, Erythromycin,              beneficial intestinal bacteria              

Penicillin, Tetracycline                    calcium, potassium, B1, B2, B3,                                                                         B6, B12, Biotin, Vitamin K

Lack of these nutrients can cause: reduced beneficial intestinal bacteria that help produce Vitamin K, muscle aches, poor blood sugar regulation, decreased energy, irregular heart beat, cardiovascular disease and adrenal imbalance.                                                          


Clomipramine, Elavil,                     Co-enzyme Q10, B2, B12, folic acid

Nortriptyline, Amitriptyline                     

SSRIs                                                melatonin

Lack of these nutrients can cause: sleep disturbance, lack of energy, poor memory, concentration and focus, brain fog, depression, irritability and hormonal imbalances.  


Metformin                                        Vitamin B12, folic acid,

                                                         Co-enzyme Q10, magnesium      

Glyburide, Glipizide                       CoQ10

Lack of these nutrients can cause: poor metabolism and reduced cellular absorption and elimination, muscle cramps, anemia and irreversible nerve damage (neuropathy due to demyelination).


Acetaminophen(Tylenol)                 glutathione, B12

Lack of these  nutrients can cause: decreased ability to handle toxins, reduced liver detoxification


NSAID’s(salicylates, Aspirin)            Vit C, Folic acid, Iron, Potassium

Advil, Aleve, Dolobid,                                                                   

Feldene, Indocin, Lodine     

Motrin, Nalfon, Naprosyn,   

Orudis, Relafen, Voltaren                    Folic acid

Betamethazone, Cortisone                Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Folic acid,

Budesonide, Hydrocortisone             Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium,

Prednisolone, Prednisone                 Selenium, Zinc

Lack of can these nutrients can cause: osteoporosis, fractures, decreased energy, muscle aches, increased risk of stroke and damaged digestive lining


Beta blockers (Atenolol etc)               CoQ10

Calcium channel blockers                  Potassium

ACE inhibitors (Ramapril,                   Zinc

Lisinopril, Capropril)

Loop diuretics (furosemide)               Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium,

                                                                   B1, B6, Vitamin C, Zinc

Thiazide diuretics (HCTZ-                    Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc


Potassium-sparing diuretics               folic acid, CoQ10, Calcium

(Spironolactone, Triamterene)

Lack of these nutrients can cause: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, lack of energy, and muscle aches.


Resins (Cholestyramine,                  beta-carotene, folic acid, Vitamins

Colestpol)                                              A, D, E and K

Statins (simvastatin,                          CoQ10, copper, selenium, zinc

Atorvastatin, lovastatin)      

Fibrates (fenofibrate)                             CoQ10, Vitamin E

 Lack of these nutrients can cause: cardiovascular disease, skin sensitivity to sun, osteoporosis, increased colds/flus and decreased energy.


Lubricant laxatives                        Vitamins A, D, E and K,

(mineral oil)                                    beta-carotene

Stimulant laxatives                       Potassium

(Bisacodyl, senna)                         

Lack of these nutrients can cause: muscle aches or cramps, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.        

If you are taking any of these medications, you should consider an appointment to see if any of your vitamin or mineral levels are low.  For an appointment  with Dr. Brenda Gill, call 250-362-5035. 


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