An Ounce of Prevention

5 minutes reading time (952 words)



The worst thing about medicine is that one kind makes another necessary
Elbert Hubbard

Modern drugs have benefitted mankind in many ways. However, while pharmaceuticals can save lives, many of them have serious side effects, like heart attacks or suicide. It is very important to remember that all drugs - every single one of them, have side effects. Many drugs are known to actually have toxic effects on various organs like the liver or the kidneys or the brain. But did you know that many other side effects result from the ability of these drugs to rob the body of important vitamins and minerals.

Experts estimate that about 30% of the side effects of pharmaceuticals are the direct result of these drug-induced nutrient deficiencies. In other words, a drug steals nutrients from your body, and this lack of nutrients causes additional side effects. The drug acts like an “anti-vitamin pill,” taking away the substances you need for good health. Thus, nutrient depletion caused by the drugs is often directly responsible for many of the side effects associated with pharmaceuticals.

Among the most common nutrient stealing drugs are oral contraceptives (birth control pills), cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), and the antibiotics. These and many other medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, can interfere with your body’s ability to digest, absorb, manufacture, or utilise certain nutrients, leading to “side effects. Let me specifically explain which popular drugs deplete vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from the body.


This is usually a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestin used to prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation.

Taking this pill may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the actions of folic acid, magnesium, tyrosine, riboflavin niacin (B3), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C and zinc.


Aluminum containing antacids are popular over-the-counter remedies for heartburn, designed to neutralize excess stomach acid and prevent it from burning the esophagus.

The use of aluminum antacids may deplete your supply of and increase your need for vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.


Simvastatin is just one of a long list of the “statin” family of drugs used to reduce cholesterol and blood fats.

Taking the statin drugs may deplete your supply of and increase your need for coenzyme Q10 (researchers believe that the long-term use of statin drugs may cause heart failure due to the reduction of coenzyme Q10 levels in the muscles of the heart), beta-carotene and vitamin E,


Ciprofloxacin is a popular antibacterial agent used to treat infections of the urinary and respiratory tracts, sinuses, and other areas of the body.

Taking this antibiotic may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of biotin, inositol, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin K, zinc plus the healthy bacteria like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus acidophilus.


Two popular drugs used to treat diabetes create problems in the long run. Glyburide stimulates the pancreas to produce larger amounts of insulin, while metformin helps to remove excess glucose from the blood.

Taking these medicines may deplete your supply of, increase your need for, or interfere with the activity of critical nutrients like vitamin B12, folic acid, coenzyme Q10 and the mineral sodium.


Stomach drugs like Prilosec and Tagamet and are now considered first-line treatment for heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux disease (GERD). But they interfere with the secretion of hydrochloric acid by the cells in the stomach lining  The use of these medicines may deplete your supply of and increase your need for beta-carotene, folic acid, thiamin, vitamin B12, iron, sodium and zinc.


Prozac is the first in a family of drugs to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. These drugs are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Taking this medication may deplete your supply of the hormone melatonin normally produced by the pineal gland in the brain.


The ‘sartan’ drugs are prescribed to lower elevated blood pressure and are all are used in combination with a diuretic hydrochlorothiazide,

Taking these medicines may deplete your supply or increase your need of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc and coenzyme Q10. Sadly, many of these nutrients are very important in normalizing blood pressure.


Drugs like Phenytoin is used to treat various types of epileptic seizures, and to prevent seizures in people who have had brain surgery or a head injury.

This drug may deplete your supply of or interfere with the action of biotin, folic acid, thiamin, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus and carnitine.

- Prednisone

Prednisone is a steroid commonly used to treat inflammatory problems of the skin, joints, eyes, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and other parts of the body. It may also be used in organ transplants to prevent rejection.

Taking this well known medicine may deplete your supply of or increase your need for vitamin A, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc.


First: try to take the least amount of drugs necessary. I suggest that you have a frank discussion with your health care provider on this matter.

Second: select foods that are rich in the nutrients depleted by prescription drugs you are taking. This provides another way to avert pharmaceutical-induced nutrient deficiencies.

Third: Take adequate amounts of the appropriate nutritional supplements with your meals to replace what has been lost or made deficient.

A goldmine of information on many other drugs and the nutrients they deplete is available in The Side Effects Bible by Dr. Frederic Vagnini, and Dr. Barry Fox.


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