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Nutrient depletions from Common Medications

Helping patients avoid nutrient depletion

3 min read


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This post is sponsored by Nature Made®.

The US is facing a serious and growing problem with nutrient depletion from medications. Fifty-five percent of Americans take a prescription medication regularly.1 Those on prescription drugs are taking four medications on average, and many are taking OTC products. There is a high probability of nutrient losses or nutrient depletions with some common medications,2 as well as the potential for interactions with other medications and/or dietary supplements.3

This comes as the nation is already in a nutrition crisis. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than two out of every three adults is considered overweight or obese.4 Americans also suffer from many nutrient shortfalls. In particular, vitamin D, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber are “nutrients of public health concern,” according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.5 Considering the large number of people taking prescription medications, coupled with the above facts, drug-nutrient interactions and depletions are a serious concern.

Acid-suppressing medications, particularly H2 receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors, may affect both vitamin B12 and calcium absorption.2 Cholesterol-lowering medications, or statins, can impact CoQ10, which is necessary for cellular energy production.2 Oral hypoglycemic drugs (e.g. metformin/glucophage) used to help control blood glucose in people with diabetes, can affect folic acid and vitamin B12 levels.2 It is clear that these medications and other commonly used therapies have the potential to affect individual nutrient status.

But patients may not be aware of the possibility of nutrient depletion if their health care provider doesn’t talk to them about it.6 Family physicians and nurse practitioners are instrumental in educating their patients to help avoid possible drug-nutrient interactions and depletions that may have a significant impact on patient nutritional status and overall health.

These clinicians can also help uncover hidden problems in patients who are not presenting signs or symptoms of depletion. For patients that require treatment, health care practitioners can check relevant nutrient levels, recommend supplements and monitor their effect.6

To ensure they are providing the best care for patients, it is essential for clinicians to stay up to date on drug interactions and nutrient depletions through various methods, including educational tools and webinars.

Nature Made provides resources online at, including a DNI/DND booklet and quick-glance handouts. These resources can help family physicians, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals work with patients to avoid nutrient deficiencies.

Learn more about Nature Made® vitamins and supplements at



1. Carr, Teresa. Too many meds? America’s love affair with prescription medication. Consumer Reports. Aug. 3, 2017. Accessed at

2. Meletis CD, Zabriskie N. Common nutrient depletions caused by pharmaceuticals. Alternative and complementary therapies 2007;13(1):10-7. doi: 10.1089/act.2006.13102

3. Mason P. Important drug-nutrient interactions. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2010;69(4):551-7. doi: 10.1017/s0029665110001576.

4. Overweight & Obesity Statistics. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. August 2017. Accessed at

5. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2015. Accessed at

6. Are your medications causing nutrient deficiency? Harvard Health Publishing. August 2016. Accessed at