Understand Nutrient Depletions Associated to the Most Commonly Prescribed Pharmaceuticals


Updated on: February 20, 2019

practitioner handing a patient a paper recommendation

Specific pharmaceuticals will deplete the body of vital nutrients needed to maintain optimal wellness.

Pharmaceutical drugs can affect the nutritional status of patients and contribute to nutrient depletions, even when they are prescribed according to the label instructions.

Did you know?
Common medications may deplete the body of vital nutrients that are important to health and wellness? Almost 50% of American adults currently take one prescription pharmaceutical drug, but nearly 20% (and 55% of those over 65) take three or more. (1)

Also, often forgotten is that any chemical consumed by the body requires detoxification, which further utilizes nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The evidence is now showing us that many common ailments may, in fact, be caused by nutritional deficiencies (2), but treating those ailments with pharmaceuticals could make the problem worse.

For example, certain drugs may:

  • Impact the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract
  • Accelerate the metabolism of certain nutrients
  • Impact the excretion of nutrients (2)

Understanding the interactions between drugs and nutrients can help to prevent nutrient depletions in patients, as well as some of the negative health outcomes associated with the use of certain pharmaceuticals. Further, optimizing the nutritional status of patients may positively impact the intended therapeutic effects of the drugs administered, improving outcomes.

Click on the images for an expanded view!

List of nutrients affected by common pharmaceuticals.

The Fullscript Integrative Medical Advisory Team (IMAT) conducted a review of existing literature to develop a reference chart and white paper summarizing common drug-nutrient depletions. The preliminary report included over 200 citations, including human, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled (RDBPC) trials, in-vivo animals studies, and in-vitro studies. Periodic review will take place to ensure the content is up-to-date.

The original content review included all literature posted/published via:

  • Pubmed
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Science Direct

Note: The information provided in this content is based on a review of the literature available at the time of publication. While the content is considered to be accurate at the time of publication, new or updated research released after the publication date may impact the accuracy of the information.

Please use your discretion when using this resource and if you’re not a practitioner, always consult with your practitioner first when considering how to address drug-nutrient depletions.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf#093
  2. Bellows, L., & Moore, R. (2013). Nutrient-drug interactions and food. Health: Food and Nutrition Series. (https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/09361.pdf)

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