Prescribed Drugs and Nutrient Deficiency

Jim Fain

Posted on October 30 2017

Are prescribed drugs affecting your absorption of vital nutrients?

While most all prescribed drugs affect the absorption of certain nutrients whether from food or supplementation, most people are unaware.

In fact, the lopsided biased healthcare system typically only warns about nutritional supplements interfering with the prescription drugs. In the most recent series of Natural Way columns I’ve discussed heart drugs like blood pressure beta blockers and cholesterol lowering statins (Coreg, Lisinopril, Zestril, Norvasc, Lipitor, Zocor) the diabetic drug Glucophage/Metformin and acid reducers like Pepsid, Prilosec, Nexium and Protonix. Today, I’ll touch on antibiotics.

A few of the most prescribed antibiotics are Z-Pak, Zithromax and Amoxicillin. High-dose therapy (penicillin) can lead to increased excretion of potassium by the kidneys. These drugs kill off the important and good bugs in our belly, too. This can/does cause antibiotic-induced diarrhea or poor appetite, this effect may lead to potassium deficiency, with tiredness and weakness as symptoms. Also if you’re taking antibiotics for several weeks, it may drop your vitamin K levels impacting blood clotting and contributing to the reduction of bone density. Here, is a summary of the nutritional impact.


Consider adding a multivitamin, vitamin K (not if you’re on coumadin/warfarin) and a quality probiotic with many families and in the billions of each. Yogurt, while good for you, isn’t enough.


Blood pressure/cholesterol drugs

First emphasize eating anything green like chard and kale (unless you’re on coumadin/warfarin,  adding nuts and beans to the recipe. I’d add 300-450 magnesium each day. Remember, magnesium is required for a long list of body processes yet we don’t get enough in our diet. I like the chelated type and take 2 tablets daily. Supplement formulas typically named Blood Pressure Support have enough magnesium for most people. Add CoQ-10 at 200-400mg/day especially in you have heart trouble or take cholesterol meds.
Diabetic drugs Glucophage/Metformin: Adding B12/folic acid in your diet by eating red meat or dark green leafy veggies may not be enough. Supplementing with B12 methylcobalamine, B complex and folic acid is almost always satisfactory.

Curiously, adding highly absorbable calcium like AdvaCal can reverse malabsorption. Of course, reducing your dosage, if possible, of the drug likely would benefit, too.

For Acid reducers like Pepsid, Prilosec, Nexium and Protonix: Supplement with folic acid, B12 methylcobalamine, beta-carotene, calcium, iron and a thyroid support product.

You can find how your particular drug(s) interfere with your healthy nutrient load easily. I simply do an internet search for “drug name nutrient deficiency”. I use the conservative sites like WebMD first, but look at others. Your pharmacist can be helpful as can your MD but be aware of the reverse bias you may encounter. All of these drugs are powerful and life saving so don’t change without your healthcare professional knowing.

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