August 2018

Nutrient depletions: when to take a supplement

It’s not uncommon for patients to ask their prescribers if taking a vitamin or nutrient can affect levels of drugs they're already taking. But certain drugs can actually affect nutrient levels. This can become a big problem, yet it’s often overlooked. So which drugs are most likely to deplete nutrients from the body?

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid) increase gastric pH and have the potential to affect the absorption of many nutrients, particularly magnesium. Several reports of low magnesium have been linked to long-term PPI use. A supplement is needed for most patients.

Both loop and thiazide diuretics can increase excretion of potassium, magnesium, and thiamine. Potassium is the biggest concern, especially when high doses of a loop diuretic are used. Many patients will need a potassium supplement, so levels should be monitored.

Many other drugs can cause nutrient depletions. Check out our new chart on Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletions for a quick reference, including severity ratings so you know which ones to really keep your eye out for.

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