Last month, we examined prescribed and herbal diuretics which can deplete your body of vital vitamins, minerals or other nutrients. This month, we continue with our list of drugs that have this effect on your body’s essential nutrients.

If you must take one of these drugs, it’s wise to consider supplements of the nutrients leached from your body.

Antibiotics and antimicrobials

Antibiotics (as a group);

disrupt your intestinal ecology by killing beneficial gut bacteria, allowing other organisms to grow and settle in the intestinal tract. Certain beneficial bacterial strains in the gut manufacture (through biosynthesis) six water soluble vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and folic acid) as well as vitamin K. When such strains are absent from the gut, you may become deficient in these vitamins. Specific metabolic functions and enzyme activities are also undertaken by these ‘friendly’ bacteria, which play a role in metabolising vitamins and other nutrients. Loss of these beneficial bacteria also adversely affects metabolic and homoeostatic functions (Eur J Cancer Prev, 1997, 6 [Suppl]: S43-5).


decreases copper and zinc levels (Toxicology, 1984; 31: 207-16).


decreases vitamin B3 levels (Clin Ther, 1982; 45: 423-40)

decreases vitamin B6 levels (Chest, 1985; 87: 419-20)

decreases vitamin D levels (Arch Fr Pediatr, 1988; 45: 145-8).


decreases vitamin A levels (Int J Vit Nutr Res, 1994; 2: 98-103).


decreases vitamin D levels (Recent Prog Med, 1998; 89: 529-33).


decrease calcium levels (Biopharm Drug Dispos, 1997; 18: 459–63)

decrease iron levels (Drugs, 1976; 11: 45-54)

decrease magnesium levels (J Inorg Biochem, 1983; 19: 1-18).


decreases vitamin M (folic acid) levels (Clin Pharmacol Ther, 1968; 9: 550-60).

Anti inflammatories


decrease vitamin C levels (Arch Androl, 1984; 12: 65-7)

lead to relatively reduced vitamin D levels by depleting calcium (Rev Med Intern, 1998; 19: 492-500)

decrease folic acid levels (J Neurol, 1993; 240: 305-8)

decrease calcium levels (Br J Rheumatol, 1998; 37: 27-33)

decrease magnesium levels (Int J Cancer, 1998; 11 [Suppl]: 35-9)

decrease potassium levels (Eur J Clin Pharmacol, 1995; 49: 31-6)

decrease selenium levels (J Rheumatol, 1987; 14: 1104-7)

decrease zinc levels (Biull Eksp Biol Med, 1993; 116: 412-3).


decreases folic acid levels (Biochem J, 1992; 282: 197-202)

decreases iron levels (Br J Rheumatol, 1995; 34: 727-31).


decreases vitamin C levels (Biochem Pharmacol, 1982; 31: 4035-8)

decreases folic acid levels (J Lab Clin Med, 1984; 103: 944-8)

decreases iron levels (Baillires Clin Haematol, 1994; 7: 787-804)

decreases potassium and sodium levels (Ind J Gastroenterol, 1998; 17: 4-5).


decreases folic acid levels (Scand J Clin Lab Invest, 1996; 56: 421-9).



decreases carnitine levels in muscles (Ann Neurol, 1994; 35: 482-7)

decreases vitamin B12 levels (Am J Haematol, 1995; 49: 318-22)

decreases copper and zinc levels (J AIDS, 1991; 4: 1218-26).


Butyrophenones (e.g. haloperidol);

inhibits Q10 (ubiquinone) ability to prevent adverse effects on mitochondria (Yamamura Y et al., eds, Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of Co-enzyme Q, vol 2, Amsterdam: Else vier/North Holland Biomedical Press, 1980: 139-54).

Phenothiazines (e.g. chlorpromazine, thioridazine, trifluoperazine);

decrease vitamin B2 levels (J Am Coll Nutr, 1992; 11: 159-63)

inhibits Q10 ability to prevent adverse effects on mitochondria (Jpn Heart J, 1984; 25: 127-37).

Tricyclic antidepressants;

decrease all B-vitamin levels (Arzneimittelforschung, 1985; 35: 536-8

inhibits Q10 ability to prevent adverse effects on mitochondria (Yamamura Y et al. (eds), Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of Co-enzyme Q, op cit).

Bronchial decongestants and bronchodilators


decreases vitamin B6 levels (Biochem Pharmacol, 1997; 54: 67-72).

Female hormones;

Oestrogen replacement therapy;

decreases vitamin B6 levels (J Am Coll Nutr, 1993; 12: 442-58).

Oral contraceptives;

decrease vitamin B2 levels (Clin Ther, 1982; 4: 423-40)

decrease vitamin B6 levels (Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol, 1997; 17: 283-93)

decrease vitamin B12 levels (Acta Obstet Gynaecol Scand, 1985; 64: 59- 63)

decrease vitamin C levels (Am J Clin Nutr, 1982; 35: 1408-18)

decrease folic acid levels (Acta Cytol, 1994; 38: 324-30)

decrease magnesium levels (Fertil Steril, 1998; 69: 958-62)

decrease zinc levels (J Reprod Med, 1984; 29 [7 Suppl]: 547-50).

Medication for diabetes


decrease vitamin B12 levels (Horm Metab Res, 1985; 15 [Suppl]: 111-5).


decrease Q10 levels (J Med, 1976; 7: 307-21).

Medication for gout


decreases beta carotene levels and vitamin B12 absorption (Am J Med Sci, 1970; 259: 32-41)

causes malabsorption and faecal loss of potassium and sodium (Am J Med Sci, 1970; 259: 32-41).

Colchicum autumnale (meadow saffron) (a herbal medicine that is given only by prescription by a qualified herbalist);

has similar effects as colchicine.

Harald Gaier

Harald Gaier is a registered osteopath, naturopath and homoeopath

(c) 2001 Harald Gaier

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