Are Prescription Medicines Depleting Your Nutrients? Part 2 of 2

Prescription RX Part 2

This is part two in my series on nutrient deficiencies that can result from long term use of medications.  This month I am going to address anti-depressants, antibiotics, cholesterol lowering drugs, and diabetic drugs.  I would like to stress that I am NOT advocating that you stop taking any medication that your doctor has prescribed, only letting you know that you may require additional amounts of these nutrients to stay healthy while on that medication.


Anti-depressants include Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, and many more.  With long-term use of anti-depressants, you are going to deplete two things:  Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).  You can get some CoQ10 from your diet, but most patients require a supplement.  Natural sources are: red meat, oily fish, and some nuts.  When choosing a CoQ10 supplement, make sure the manufacturer is reputable (preferably pharmaceutical grade).  Your doctor can help you understand what dose of CoQ10 is right for you.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is found in foods such as beef liver, lamb, mushrooms, spinach and almonds.  You can also find B2 as a supplement alone or in a B-Complex.


Antibiotics include medications such as Gentamycin, Neomycin, Streptomycin, Cephalosporins, Penicillins, and Tetracyclines.  Most antibiotics are used only for a short amount of time.  However, some patients are put on long-term antibiotic therapies.  This long-term use can lead to depletion of:

  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc

You can increase intake of these vitamins and minerals through a healthy diet, but some patients will need to incorporate a high-quality multivitamin daily.  No matter what choice you make for vitamin repletion, every patient will require a high-dose probiotic to recolonize the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.  Talk to your doctor about what probiotic is right for you.

Cholesterol Drugs:

Drugs in this category are collectively called “statins” and include names like: Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, and others.  They too deplete Coenzyme Q10.  Low energy is a common complaint from patients on statins and this can be partially due to depleted CoQ10.  Seek a high-quality CoQ10 supplement to fight this fatigue.

Diabetic Drugs:

Metformin and Sulfonylurea drugs are used to manage Type 2 Diabetes.  Metformin being the oldest and most common drug in this category, depletes: Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid.  All three of these directly affect energy levels, cardiovascular health, and the immune system.  Since most patients continue with long-term Metformin therapy, I recommend repletion with high-quality supplements for these nutrients.  When purchasing your supplements, be sure that your Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid are in the active/bioavailable form.  Look for “methylcobalamin” for B12 and “5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid” for Folic Acid.

Want to know if you are nutrient depleted?  We offer Spectracell Micronutrient Testing.  This test looks at your nutritional status from a cellular level checking vitamins and minerals such as: B Vitamins, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Selenium, Coenzyme Q10, Copper, and many more.  Test results come with repletion suggestions for foods or supplements and the appropriate dosing.  Come by our office today and ask for Spectracell.

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