While I agree that drug-nutrient interactions are complex, with much yet to be learned, I feel that Alternatives (WDDTY vol 14 no 4) did not provide a balanced view. It could even provide more ammunition to the anti-food-supplement lobby. Care indeed needs to be taken to avoid adverse interactions but, equally, it is just as important to look into the effect that drugs have on nutrient status.
One example is hormone replacement therapy, which increases the demand for vitamin B6, an effect associated with depression. The widely used statin drugs are another example. These can affect coenzyme Q10 production, which might, in turn, have an adverse effect on the body’s energy-requiring muscle tissues.
If a particular nutrient or food supplement regime is considered to be of likely benefit, then the patient should undergo close monitoring initially to check for adverse effects.
Because this is a complex area and there may not be sufficient resources to monitor compatibility, many patients could well be missing out on beneficial nutrient regimes that could improve their quality of life. The article did not address this most fundamental point at all.
It is a fact, however unpalatable, that any individual can react to a substance, be it drug or food. But it is impossible to test every individual for every interaction.
The only way to overcome this problem would be the creation of a vigilant monitoring system involving both the medical profession and nutrition experts. – R. Stoffanellar, Senior Nutritionist, Wassen International Ltd, Leatherhead