Side effects from pharmaceutical medications are provided with every prescription that gets filled and drug commercials with such warnings are now filling the airwaves with a sense of doom. What these cautions often fail to mention are the actual nutrients that may be depleted when taking medications, either through blocking absorption or affecting transportation or utilization of nutrients in the body. Nutrient depletions are behind some of those side effects.

In Part 1 I’ll touch on statins, which are prescribed to regulate cholesterol levels and anti-depressants; Part 2 deals with Proton-Pump Inhibitors (stomach acid reducers) and the birth control pill. These articles are not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your physician and natural health practitioner before making any changes to medications or nutritional supplements.


May deplete: vitamins A, some Bs, D, E and K; minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron; coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

CoQ10 is significantly depleted by statins. It is an antioxidant present in every cell in the body and is particularly concentrated in heart and liver tissue. One of its key roles is to help the cells produce energy.

Supplementing with the “ubiquinol” form of CoQ10 in gel caps is highly recommended by health care practitioners to replenish what is lost.


There are two categories to note. Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI) may deplete: melatonin (which regulates the sleep-wake cycle) and sodium (an electrolyte, important to maintaining fluid balance and regulating blood pressure). Tricyclic anti-depressants may deplete: CoQ10 and riboflavin (B2).

The first step in countering the depleting effects is to avoid processed foods entirely, as they have been stripped of up to 80% of the nutrients from the food in its original form and will do nothing to fill the gap.

Instead, on a daily basis consume:

•lots of fresh vegetables, especially dark green leafy ones that are a great source of minerals, folate and betacarotene (as found in orange or yellow vegetables);

•nuts and seeds (sesame seeds contain abundant amounts of calcium; pumpkin seeds provide zinc, sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium; nuts, seeds and olive oil are natural sources of vitamin E);

•whole grains, which will provide some B vitamins and minerals.

Taking a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral formulation on a daily basis is important for anyone dealing with health conditions or on medications. Vitamin D and B content in multivitamins are generally at minimal levels, so additional supplementation may be appropriate in certain situations. Post-menopausal women are advised against taking supplemental iron unless blood tests indicate that it is necessary as iron overload, a toxic condition, may occur.

Contact me at Pinstripe Nutrition if you would like nutritional guidance on dealing with these health conditions.


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