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  1. Consequences of Nutrient Depletions (common symptoms of deficiency)

  2. Nutrient Depletions Caused by Common Medications

I encourage you to list all of the side effect of your prescription medication and then make a list of all the symptoms caused by nutrient depletion that medication causes.  You will be surprised that many of the "side effects" are actually nutrient depletions.


Stealing Nutrients (Last updated 6/26/2012)

Twelve of the top 20 most frequently used prescription drugs are known to cause clinically significant nutrient depletion. These include common drugs such as anti-biotics, antidepressants, and birth control pills along with medications that treat diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and epilepsy. 

Women must be especially aware of the potential for nutrient depletion. As women age, they require increased amounts of certain nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D. They are more likely to go on calorie restrictive diets – removing the good along with the bad – eliminating essential fats, or healthy, necessary carbs. And, few women know that oral contraceptives and some hormone therapies also lower levels of the vital nutrients Vitamin B2, B6 and B12, Vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium and zinc.

Connections, symptoms and countermeasures Drug-induced nutrient depletion may result when a drug alters the body’s ability to digest, absorb, synthesize, transport, store, metabolize or eliminate nutrients. Common symptoms are: nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, constipation, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps. The strength and consistency of skin, hair and nails can be affected. If the drug connection isn’t identified, symptoms treated with additional medications can compound side effects.

This list will continue to be expanded as new information emerges so keep checking back to see if your prescription drug is on this list.

Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletions

Prescription Drug Category

Nutrients Depleted

Proton Pump inhibiting ulcer medication: Lansoprazole (Prevacid), Omeprazole (Prilosec), Esomeprazole (Nexium), Pantoprazole (Protonix) Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Folic Acid, Vitamins B1, B12


Antibiotics (general)amoxicillin, penicillin, keflex

Friendly Beneficial Intestinal Bacteria, all B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C

Tetracycline antibiotics

Calcium, magnesium, B6, B12, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc  Friendly Beneficial Intestinal Bacteria

Tuberculosis drugs: Isoniazid

Vitamin B3, B6, D


Beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, B12

Trimethoprim, Bactrim,Septra

Biotin, folic acid, inositol, B vitamins, vitamin K, Friendly Beneficial Intestinal Bacteria

Ephalosporin antibiotics: Cefprozil (Cefzil), Cefuroxime (Ceftin), Loracarbef (Lorabid) Macrolide antibiotics: Azithromycin (Zithromax), Clarithromycin (Biaxin), Erythromycin Penicillin antibiotics: Amoxicillin, Penicillin V Potassium Quinolone antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), Gatifloxacin (Tequin), Levofloxacin (Levaquin), Lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), Moxifloxacin (Avelox), Norfloxacin (Noroxin), Ofloxacin (Floxin), Sparfloxacin (Zagam), Trofloxacin (Trovan) Sulfa Drug antibiotics: sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra) Vitamins B1, B2, B6, Friendly intestinal bacteria, Folic Acid, Niacin, B12, Vitamin K, Biotin, Inositol


Phenobarbitol & barbituates

Vitamins D, K, biotin, folic acid, Calcium

Phenytoin, Dilantin

Vitamins B1, B12, D, K, folic acid, Biotin, calcium


Tricyclic antidepressants:amiltypyline, Clomipramine, dioxepin, elavil, Tofranil

Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B2

SARI, Seratonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor Trazodone Hydrochloride, Desyrel

Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B2

SSRI: Prozac, Zoloft


Antidiabetic drugs

Sulfonylureas: Micronase, Diabeta, Biguanides

Coenzyme Q10, vitamin E

Biguanides for diabetes: Metformin (Glucophage)

Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B12, Folic acid

Antiinflammatory Drugs

Carbamazepine, Tegretol

Vitamin D, folic acid, biotin


Biotin, folic acid, vitamins D, K

Valproic acid

Folic acid, carnitine

Corticosteroid drugs for inflammation: Beclomethasone (Beclovent, Vancenase, Vanceril), Budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort), Dexamethasone (Decadron), Fluticasone (Flonase, Flovent), Hydrocortisone (Cortef), Mometasone (Nasonex), Prednisone (Deltasone,Meticorten), Triamcinolone (Azmacort, Nasacort) Vitamins A(Beta-Carotene) B6, Folate, B12, C, D, DHEA, Melatonin, Protein and Amino Acids, calcium, chromium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, 
NSAID drugs for inflammation: Celecoxib (Celebrex), Diclofenac (Voltaren),Diflunisal (Dolobid), Etodolac (Lodine), Fenoprofen(Nalfon), Ibuprofen(Advil,Motrin,Nuprin), Indomethacin(Indocin),Naproxen(Aleve,Anaprox,Naprosyn), Oxaprozin (Daypro),Piroxicam(Feldene),Sulindac (Clinoril),Tolmetin (Tolectin) Folic Acid Iron, Melatonin, Zinc
Gout medications; Colchicine Beta carotene, vitamin B12, Calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus

Sulfasalazine, Azulfidine

Folic acid

Indomethacin, Indocin

Folic acid, iron, vitamin C

Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen, Naproxen

Folic acid

Antimalarial (used for Lupus)
Plaquenil Ca, vit B6, vitD,
Antiviral Medications

Zidovudine (Retrovir, AZT & other related drugs) Foscarnet

Carnitine, Copper, Zinc, Vitamin B12, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium 

Birth Control medication
Numerous combinations of female hormones Magnesium,VitaminB2,VitaminB6,

Blood Pressure Regulators

Alpha2-adrenergic agonist medication for high blood pressure: Clonidine (Catapres) Coenzyme Q10
Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonist medication for high blood pressure: Candesartan (Atacand), Irbesartan (Avapro), Losartan (Cozaar), Olmesartan (Benicar), Telmisartan (Micardis), Valsartan (Diovan) Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Coenzyme Q10
BetaBlocker medication for high blood pressure: Acebutolol (Sectral),Atenolol (Tenormin),Betaxolol (Kerlone),Bisoprolol (Zebeta),Carvedilol (Coreg),Metoprolol (Lopressor,Toprol),Nadolol (Corgard),Propranolol (Inderal) Special note;Beta-Blocker drugs frequently cause a decrease in the level of protectiveHDL-cholesterol; although the drugs do not deplete Chromium, taking this mineral may offset the drop in HDL; 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate is a suggested dosage. Coenzyme Q10, Melatonin

Calcium Channel Blockers: Norvasc, Plendil, Procardia, Nimolop, Sular

Vitamin D

Vasodilating medication for high blood pressure: Hydralazine diuretics: Apresoline, Apresazide

Vitamin B6, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium

Loop diuretics: Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin

Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, vitamins B1, B6, C

Thiazide diuretics: Diuril, Enduron, Lozol

Magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, Coenzyme Q10

Potassium-sparing diuretics: Dyazide

Folic acid, calcium, zinc, magnesium

ACE Inhibitors: Lisinopril, Altace, Accupril, Capoten, Prinivil, Zestril, Vasolec


Bone Building Medication

Bisphosphonate bone building medication: Alendronate (Fosamax)

Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus

Cardiovascular Medications

Beta blockers: Corgard, Lopressor, Betapace, Sectral, Indiral

Coenzyme Q10, Melatonin

Cardiac Gycoside: Digoxin, Digitek, Lanoxin

Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, B1

Anti-anginal: Norvasc, Procardia, Adalat

Potassium, magnesium

Loop diuretics: Bumetanide (Bumex), Ethacrynic Acid, Furosemide (Lasix) Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, B1, B6, Vitamin C
Potassium sparing diuretics: Amiloride (Midamor), Spironolactone (Aldactone), Triamterene (Dyrenium) Calcium. Folic Acid
Thiazide diuretics: Chlorothiazide (Diuril), Hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix, Hydrodiuril, Oretic), Methyclothiazide (Aquatensen, Enduron), Metolazone (Zaroxolyn) Potassium, Zinc, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

Hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins): Mevacor, Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor

Coenzyme Q10

Bile acid sequestrants: Questran, Colestid

Vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, beta carotene, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, fat ("fibrates" deplete vitamin E, B12, copper, zinc)


Coenzyme Q10, vitamin E

Estrogen replacement therapy: Premarin, Enjuvia, Estrace, Climara

Vitamin B6, magnesium, folic acid, Vitamin B12, zinc

Oral contraceptives: Alesse, Ovral, Mercette, Triphasil

Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, folic acid, magnesium, selenium, zinc, tyrosine

Other categories and/or commonly prescribed drugs


Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B2, melatonin

Potassium chloride supplementation

Vitamin B12

Chemotherapeutic drugs

Most nutrients


Vitamin B6

Anticoagulants: Warfarin, Coumadin

Vitamin K

Reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Copper, zinc, vitamin B12, carnitine

Bronchodilator (asthma) Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)

Magnesium and calcium

Over-the-counter drugs

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Glutathione (detoxification)


Vitamin C, folic acid, iron, potassium


Folic acid

Laxatives-mineral oil

Vitamins A, D, E, K, beta carotene



Magnesium and aluminum antacids

Calcium, phosphate, folic acid (protein)*

Sodium bicarbonate

Folic acid, magnesium, potassium (protein)

Ulcer medications: Pepcid, Tagamet

Vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin D, Zinc

Thyroid Medications
Thyroid (synthetic)
Levothroid ® (levothyroxine),
Levoxyl ® , Thyrolar ® , Synthroid ® ]

Ulcer medications/GERD

H2-receptor antagonists: Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac

Vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc

Proton pump inhibitors: Prilosec, Prevacid

Vitamin B12 (protein)

Information resources: University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index, Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions Bible; Prima Publishing, The Side Effects Bible; Broadway Books, A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions; Prima Health, Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions; Eclectic Medical Publications, Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook; Lexi-Comp, TauMed Beta, PubMed Journals

CONSEQUENCES OF NUTRIENT DEPLETIONS (cross-check with medication side effects as these may be the consequence of nutrient depletions)

Beta-Carotene. This nutrient is converted to vitamin A by the body.  Therefore deficiency symptoms are the same as those of vitamin A. The earliest symptom is reduced night vision.  Prolonged deficiency leads to more advanced changes in eye tissue. Other potential signs of mild to moderate deficiency include rough, dry skin, loss of appetite, loss of hair lustre, brittle nails, joint pain, and possibly increased susceptibility to infection.

Biotin. Low levels of biotin are associated with changes in skin colour, inflammation of the skin, hair loss, muscle pain, anaemia, loss of appetite, depression, insomnia, and elevated cholesterol levels.

Calcium. Osteoporosis (bone loss) is the primary disease associated with long-term calcium deficiency.  It may be associated with bone pain and spinal deformity. Depleted levels can also cause muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and depression.

Carnitine (L-Carnitine). Deficiency is associated with anemia, fatigue, increased blood levels of ammonia, lethargy, unexplained stupor, and heart irregularities. Vegetarian diets do not include carnitine and vegetarians and vegans should supplement.

Co-Enzyme Q10. A deficiency of the anti-oxidant co-enzyme Q10 may be associated with long-term conditions including heart disease and high blood pressure. Symptoms of deficiency include gingivitis, and weakened immune function.

Copper. Signs and symptoms of long-term depletion of copper include anaemia, changes in the structure and appearance of hair, heart damage, growth retardation, impaired bone formation, osteoporosis (bone loss), and emphysema (lung disease)

Folic Acid. Low levels of folic acid have been linked to anaemia, elevated homocysteine, heart disease, increased cancer risk, and birth defects.

Iron. Depleted levels of iron may lead to anaemia and weakened immune function. In the event of anaemia, symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin colour, and possible irregular heartbeat.

Lactobacillus. Reducing the number of probiotic organisms in the gastrointestinal tract may decrease the body's ability to resist infections and diseases. Symptoms of deficiency include gas, abdominal distress, diarrhoea, immune complaints, allergies, aggravation of auto-immune diseases, and yeast infections.

Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency affects calcium and vitamin D levels in the body and may be associated with muscle cramps, heart irregularities, insomnia, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis (bone loss).

Melatonin. Reduced levels of melatonin in the body have been associated with sleep disturbances and accelerated brain ageing (through oxidative damage).

Potassium. Symptoms of potassium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, drowsiness, feelings of apprehension, excessive thirst, irrational behaviour, fatigue, muscle pain and weakness (usually of the lower limbs), severe cases may lead to irregular heartbeat. Protein. 

Protein deficiencies are characterized by weakened immune status, including increased susceptibility to infection, impaired wound healing, muscle and weight loss, growth retardation, and deterioration in skin and hair condition.

Selenium. Selenium deficiency may be associated with muscular, digestive, and heart disorders; long-term deficiency may be associated with increased risk of developing certain chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, or liver disease.

Vitamin A (Retinol). The earliest symptom of deficiency of this nutrient is reduced night vision.  Prolonged deficiency leads to more advanced changes in eye tissue. Other potential signs of mild to moderate deficiency include rough, dry skin, loss of appetite, loss of hair lustre, brittle nails, joint pain, and possible increased susceptibility to infection.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). symptoms of depleted levels of thiamine include weakness, fatigue, anorexia, constipation, memory loss, confusion, and depression. Deficiency may lead to beri-beri, a condition characterised by inflammation of nerves, heart irregularities, and fluid retention.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency may include cracks at the corners of the mouth, inflammation of the skin, growth retardation, and impaired wound healing.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin or Niacinamide).  Because this nutrient plays a key role in many metabolic processes, low levels may impair the breakdown and use of starches, fats, and proteins.  Symptoms of deficiency may occur within 1-2 months. Severely low levels of niacin or niacinamide cause pellagra, a condition characterised by inflammation of the skin, mental depression, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine). Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency may include weakness, nervousness, insomnia, mental confusion, irritability, and anaemia.  Long-term low levels of this nutrient may also increase the risk of heart disease as well as colon and prostate cancers.

Vitamin B12. It can take years to develop complications associated with long-term depletion of this nutrient.  Irritability, weakness, numbness, anaemia, loss of appetite, headache, personality changes, and confusion are some of the signs and symptoms associated with vitamin B12 depletion.  Low levels of this vitamin may also be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, brain disorders, and birth defects.

Vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency may include bruising, fever, anaemia, emotional changes, swollen and bleeding gums, fatigue, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), increase susceptibility to infections, slow wound healing, and swelling of the lower limbs.  Very rarely severe deficiency leads to scurvy, a disorder that affects muscles and bones and is potentially fatal.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency leads to abnormal bone formation (rickets) in children and softening of the bones (osteomalacia) in adults. Vitamin D deficiency interferes with calcium absorption, leading to deficiency of that nutrient with all of the associated symptoms (such as increased risk of fractures, osteoporosis (bone loss), and muscle weakness).  Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with increased risk of cancer (especially breast cancer), and depression.

Vitamin E. Vitamin E deficiency negatively affects muscle tissue, red blood cells, and the nervous and reproductive systems. Over the long-term, depleted levels of this nutrient may also be associated with cancer, heart disease, and altered immune function.

Vitamin K. The major symptom of vitamin K deficiency is an inability of the blood to clot properly, which may lead to excessive bleeding and a tendency to bruise easily. A deficiency of this vitamin can also accelerate hardening of the arteries.

Zinc. Signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite or sense of taste, impaired immunity, growth retardation, skin changes, reduced hormonal production, decreased sex drive and increased susceptibility to infection.







































































































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