Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine March 2006

Report

Preventing Pharmaceutical-Induced Nutritional Deficiencies

By Frederic Vagnini, MD, and Barry Fox, PhD

OMEPRAZOLE (Prilosec®)

Omeprazole, which interferes with the secretion of digestive acid by the proton pumps in the stomach lining, is considered first-line therapy for heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and associated problems.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • beta-carotene
  • folic acid
  • thiamin
  • vitamin B12
  • iron
  • sodium
  • zinc

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

Speak to your physician about taking 25,000 IU of beta-carotene, 800 mcg of folic acid, 25-200 mg of thiamin, 500-1000 mcg of vitamin B12, and 50-100 mg of zinc. Ask your physician to consider the potential effects of iron and sodium depletion. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

PHENYTOIN (Dilantin®, Diphenylan Sodium®, Tremytoine®)

Phenytoin is used to treat grand mal seizures and partial seizures, and to prevent seizures in people who have had brain surgery or a head injury.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • biotin
  • folic acid
  • thiamin
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin K
  • calcium
  • phosphorus
  • carnitine

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

To compensate for the nutrient loss caused by this drug, speak to your physician about taking 500-1000 mcg of biotin, 800 mcg of folic acid, 25-200 mg of thiamin, 500-1000 mcg of vitamin B12, 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D, 1-10 mg of vitamin K, 1200 mg of calcium, 700 mg of phosphorus, and 250-2000 mg of carnitine. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

PREDNISONE (Deltasone®, Liquid Pred®)

Prednisone is used to treat inflammatory ailments of the skin, eye, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and other areas of the body. It may also be used in organ transplants to prevent rejection.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B6
  • folic acid
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin K
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • selenium
  • zinc

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

Speak to your physician about taking 5000 IU of vitamin A, 100 mg of vitamin B6, 800 mcg of folic acid, 250-1500 mg of vitamin C, 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D, 1-10 mg of vitamin K, 1200 mg of calcium, 1500 mg of magnesium, 100-300 mg of potassium, 200 mcg of selenium, and 50-100 mg of zinc. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

PROPRANOLOL (Detensol®, Inderal®)

Propranolol is used to treat mildly to moderately elevated blood pressure, migraine headaches, angina, and certain tremors, and may be useful in treating anxiety and stage fright.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • coenzyme Q10
  • melatonin

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

To compensate for the nutrient loss caused by this drug, speak to your physician about taking 100-300 mg of coenzyme Q10 and 1-3 mg of melatonin. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

RALOXIFENE (Evista®)

Raloxifene is an estrogen agonist, which means that it plugs into estrogen receptors and triggers “a little bit” of estrogen activity, but not the full “dose.” It is used to help prevent bone loss and improve cholesterol levels, without encouraging breast or uterine cancer.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • vitamin B6
  • magnesium

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

To compensate for the nutrient loss caused by this drug, speak to your physician about taking 100 mg of vitamin B6 and 1500 mg of magnesium. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

RANITIDINE (Zantac®)

Ranitidine is used to treat duodenal and gastric ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophagitis, and related ailments by inhibiting the production of stomach acid.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • thiamin
  • folic acid
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D
  • calcium
  • iron
  • zinc

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

Speak to your physician about taking 25-200 mg of thiamin, 800 mcg of folic acid, 500-1000 mcg of vitamin B12, 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D, 1200 mg of calcium, and 50-100 mg of zinc. Ask your physician to consider the potential effects of iron depletion. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

THE “SARTANS” (Micardis HCT®, Diovan HCT®)

The sartan drugs (including candesartan, irbesartan, losartan, telmisartan, and valsartan) are used to reduce elevated blood pressure. All are used in conjunction with hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking these medicines may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • sodium
  • zinc
  • coenzyme Q10

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

Speak to your physician about taking 1500 mg of magnesium, 700 mg of phosphorus, 50-100 mg of zinc, and 100-300 mg of coenzyme Q10. Ask your physician to consider the effects of sodium depletion, as well as to monitor your potassium status. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

SIMVASTATIN (Zocor®)

Simvastatin belongs to the “statin” family of drugs used to reduce cholesterol and blood fats.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • beta-carotene
  • vitamin E
  • coenzyme Q10 (some researchers fear that the long-term use of statin drugs may cause congestive heart failure due to the reduction of coenzyme Q10 levels)

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

Speak to your physician about taking 25,000 IU of beta carotene, 400 IU of vitamin E, and 100-300 mg of coenzyme Q10. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

TETRACYCLINE (Nu-Tetra®, Topicycline Topical®)

Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that works against a variety of bacteria, including the kinds that cause acne, stomach ulcers, syphilis, and gonorrhea.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • biotin
  • folic acid
  • inositol
  • thiamin
  • riboflavin
  • niacin
  • vitamin B6
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
  • calcium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • zinc
  • Bifidobacteria bifidum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

Speak to your physician about taking 500-1000 mcg of biotin, 800 mcg of folic acid, 250-1000 mg of inositol, 25-200 mg of thiamin, 25-100 mg of riboflavin, 50-100 mg of niacin, 100 mg of vitamin B6, 500-1000 mcg of vitamin B12, 250-1500 mg of vitamin C, 1-10 mg of vitamin K, 1200 mg of calcium, 1500 mg of magnesium, 15 billion live Bifidobacteria bifidum organisms, and 15 billion live Lactobacillus acidophilus organisms. Ask your physician to consider the potential effects of iron depletion. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

FOOD CHOICES TO REPLENISH DRUG-DEPLETED NUTRIENTS
Selecting foods rich in the nutrients depleted by prescription drugs provides another way to avert pharmaceutical-induced nutrient deficiencies. Below are food sources for some of the nutrients most commonly affected by prescription drugs.

Beta-carotene:
carrots, spinach, mangos, cantaloupe, apricot nectar.

Potassium:
dried figs, California avocado, papaya, bananas, dates.

Bifidobacteria bifidum:
Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, garlic, and onions may stimulate the growth or activity of this probiotic.

Riboflavin:
dried sunflower seeds, orange juice, bulgur, spinach noodles, pine nuts.

Biotin:
beef liver, soybeans, rice bran, peanut butter, barley.

Selenium:
Brazil nuts, tuna, beef liver, turkey breast, spaghetti with meat sauce.

Calcium:
milk, dried figs, Swiss cheese, oysters, spinach.

Thiamin:
braised liver, turkey heart, roasted chicken, gefilte fish, sardines.

Carnitine:
ground beef, pork, Canadian bacon, whole milk, cod.

Tyrosine:
soy, turkey, chicken, peanuts, bananas, milk, cheese.

Chromium:
broccoli, green beans, potatoes, grape juice, orange juice.

Vitamin A:
beef liver, chicken liver, cheese pizza, whole milk, cheddar cheese.

Coenzyme Q10:
beef, chicken, trout, salmon, oranges, and broccoli.

Vitamin B6:
potatoes, bananas, garbanzo beans, chicken breast, fortified oatmeal.

Folic acid:
beef liver, fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, Great Northern beans, asparagus.

Vitamin B12:
beef liver, rainbow trout, sockeye salmon, beef, haddock.

Inositol:
cantaloupe, oranges, green beans, grapefruit juice, limes.

Vitamin C:
papaya, guava, red pepper, cantaloupe, black currants.

Lactobacillus acidophilus:
yogurt containing live lactobacillus cultures, kefir, acidophilus milk.

Vitamin D:
salmon, mackerel, sardines, eel, fortified milk.

Magnesium:
Florida avocado, toasted wheat germ, almonds, shredded wheat cereal, pumpkin seeds.

Vitamin E:
wheat germ oil, almonds, safflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil.

Niacin:
chicken breast, beef liver, mackerel, barley, bulgur.

Vitamin K:
kale, broccoli, parsley, Swiss chard, spinach.

Phosphorus:
plain nonfat yogurt, lentils, salmon, milk, halibut.

Zinc:
oysters, beef shank, chicken, pork tenderloin, plain yogurt.

THEOPHYLLINE (Bronkodyl®, Elixophyllin®, Theo-Dur®)

Theophylline is used to treat asthma by preventing the contraction of the airway muscles, slowing the release of asthma-causing chemicals, and inhibiting inflammation.

Which Nutrients Are Robbed

Taking this medicine may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of:

  • thiamin
  • vitamin B6
  • phosphorus

Restoring the Nutrient Balance

To compensate for the nutrient loss caused by this drug, speak to your physician about taking 25-200 mg of thiamin, 100 mg of vitamin B6, and 700 mg of phosphorus. You can also eat foods that contain the depleted nutrients.

Drugs Are Helpful, But . . .

Pharmaceutical drugs perform many miracles every day, from controlling diabetes to containing virulent infections. However, it is important to remember that all drugs—every single one of them, even the simple and ubiquitous aspirin—have side effects, and that some of these side effects can be ameliorated or even eliminated by restoring the missing nutrients.

Information on other drugs and the nutrients they deplete is available in The Side Effects Bible: the Dietary Solution to Unwanted Side Effects of Common Medications by Frederic Vagnini, MD, and Barry Fox, PhD (Broadway Books, 2005).

COMMON NUTRIENT THIEVES

You may not think twice when you pop a Tums® or take a hit of Flonase®, but some of our most commonly taken drugs (both prescribed and over the counter) are real nutrient zappers, especially when used for extended periods of time.

Brand name

Generic name

Used for

Nutrients depleted

Flonase®

fluticasone

hay fever,
asthma

vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, melatonin

Lanoxin®

digoxin

irregular heartbeat

thiamin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium

Lasix®

furosemide

hypertension

thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc

Percodan®

oxycodone plus aspirin

pain

folic acid, vitamin C, iron, potassium, sodium

Tums®

calcium carbonate

stomach upset

chromium, iron, manganese, phosphorus

Vaseretic®

enalapril plus hydrochlorothiazide

heart failure

vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, coenzyme Q10