Drug-induced Nutrient Depletion: Are Your Medications Ruining Your Energy?

Drug-induced nutrient depletions are often overlooked as the root cause of side effects and medical conditions. It is important that physicians, specialists, dentists, dietitians and pharmacists pay close attention to a patient’s full medication list and explain nutrient depletion side effects of each medication the patient is taking or is considering taking. This includes prescription and over the counter drugs and supplements (Examples: Benadryl/diphenhydramine, green tea,  Alpha pills, multivitamins, injections, steroids, melatonin). Patients should be educated and aware of symptoms of nutrient deficiencies.

Some common symptoms of nutrient deficiencies:
• Fatigue
• Weakness
• Change of color of skin (ex: more yellow, more pale)
• Trouble breathing
• Depression, anxiety, brain fog and inability to think or remember things, words, and directions
• Tingling or numbness
• Changes in appetite, nausea, constipation, diarrhea

Common diabetes medication that causes nutrient depletions:

Category of medication: Biguanides (Metformin)

Biguanides are oral antihyperglycemic drugs responsible for improving glucose tolerance in those who suffer from type 2 diabetes. These drugs inhibit glucose production, decrease intestinal absorption of glucose, and improve insulin sensitivity. The most common example is Metformin.

Nutrients Depleted:

Metformin reduces the absorption of vitamin B12, which in turn reduces associated vitamins and minerals such as calcium
Chromium deficiency may occur and contribute to insulin resistance (opposite intended effect of the drug)
Magnesium depletion has also been reported

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is necessary for energy metabolism, nervous system and mental health
Food sources: Meat, fish, yogurt, cheese, eggs, soybeans, spinach

Chromium is necessary for glucose metabolism and increases the effectiveness of insulin (the way your body pulls sugar into cells to be used for energy), fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis
Food sources: Salt, soy sauce, brewers yeast, whole grain cereals

Magnesium is necessary for bone mineralization, enzyme action, nerve function and muscle relaxation
Food sources: Nuts, leafy green vegetables, seafood, whole grains, dark chocolate

It is important to know that there is a healthy range of nutrient levels and exceeding these levels can also cause adverse health effects. You can find healthy levels of nutrient intake by age and gender at https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx

Click here for more info and examples


This site provides general educational information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in the site and any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.

Published by Admin

Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Simmons College while working as a Personal Trainer at Boston Sports Clubs and Gold's Gym. While at Simmons College, she competed in crew, ice hockey and cheerleading. She went on to earn her master's degree in Applied Nutrition with a concentration in Fitness from Northeastern University. Between undergraduate school and graduate school, Nicole completed one year of service under the auspices of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as a Wellness Coordinator at a K-12 public charter school. Nicole completed her Dietetic Internship through Wellness Workdays to gain experience in Clinical Dietetics, Community Nutrition, Long Term Care Nutrition, Food Service Management, Corporate Wellness, Private Nutrition Counseling, and Sports Dietetics. Nicole worked as a Research Assistant at Tufts University for a Preliminary Investigation of Civic Engagement as a Novel Approach to Behavior Change and Body Weight Improvement in African American Females: The Change Club Study. Nicole recently launched the clinical and fitness nutrition programs for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital's Home Base Program. For the past few years, Nicole has increased wellness programs at the John Nagle Co. in Boston's Seaport District, bringing in fitness instructors, yoga instructors, the American Heart Association, healthy restaurant options, and health screenings to a diverse population of fisheries workers. More recently, Nicole worked on the Framingham State Food Study with Boston Children's Hospital and is currently working on the Breast Cancer Weight Loss Study with Dana Farber. Nicole continues to help deployed service members and their spouses and partners find and create new avenues for healthy lifestyles before, during, and after deployment. Nicole has experience counseling veterans, professional, adult and college athletes, and individuals and families looking to make changes in their routines to better their health. Nicole lives an active lifestyle and this year completed the Boston Marathon injury and cramp-free. Nicole enjoys educating individuals and groups. Some of the topics she teaches include: Choosing Foods to Improve Your Mood, Eating for Exercise, How to Navigate the Grocery Store, Eat This not That, Building a Balanced Meal, How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off, and Finding Health Sources You Can Trust.

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