More than 1000 of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs can rob our bodies of essential nutrients. This type of adverse drug reaction is known as drug induced nutrient depletion (DIND). Since not all healthcare professionals realize the depletion that many drugs can cause, they are not educating their patients of the vital nutrients that their prescriptions can deplete. There is a helpful website called www.mytavin.com that gives people the ability to address their DIND.
Medications can deplete nutrients by altering the way the nutrient is being absorbed, stored and excreted. To use an example of one of the more overprescribed medications that we see at our office, statins drugs are commonly prescribed for cholesterol (the brand names are Lipitor, Crestor, etc.) and they work by shutting down the pathway that is involved in cholesterol production, however this is the same pathway by which CoQ10 (an antioxidant that protects the heart) is made, and closing the pathway to cholesterol also closes the pathway for CoQ10 to be made. In effect statins although they may lower cholesterol for the individual, they also are robbing the individual of CoQ10, which can lead to muscle fatigue, muscle pain and heart failure.
Although the risk of nutrient depletion occurs for anyone taking prescriptive medication, seniors tend to be the most at risk. They often are taking the most prescriptive drugs (taking more then 5 prescription medications at one time is called polypharmacy – polypharmacy increases drug to drug interaction but also increases nutrient depletion) and that is further compounded by the fact that seniors metabolize and eliminate drugs much more slowly due to an aging digestive system.
Over the next few newsletters we will hone in on particular medications and look at ways to offset nutrient depletions. It is important that if you are taking a prescriptive medication(s), that you are proactive in replenishing the essential vitamins and minerals that are lost by your specific medication. This in turn will help reduce the potential risks of drug side effects and keep you feeling more energized.