Drug induced nutrient depletions

Prescription Drug Category
Nutrients Depleted

Female hormones

Estrogen replacement therapy Vitamin B6, magnesium
oral contraceptives Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, folic acid, magnesium, selenium, zinc, tyrosine

Blood pressure regulators

Hydralazine Vitamin B6, Coenzyme Q10,
Loop diuretics Sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamins B1, B6, vitamin C
Thiazide diuretics Magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, Coenzyme Q10
Potassium-sparing diuretics Calcium, folic acid, zinc
Blood pressure regulators Zinc

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

Hydromymethylglutaryl Coenzyme Q10, Coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins)
Bile acid sequestrants

Vitamins A,D,E,K,B12,beta-carotene, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, fat (“fibrates” deplete vitamin E, Vitamin B12, copper, zinc)

Gemfibrozil Coenzyme Q10, vitamin E


Phenobarbital and barbiturates Vitamin D, biotin, folic acid, calcium, vitamin K

Vitamin D, folic acid, vitamins B1 and B12, biotin, calcium, Vitamin K,

Carbamazepine Vitamin D, folic acid, biotin
Primidone Biotin, folic acid, vitamins D, vitamin K
Valproic acid Floic acid, carnitine


Antibiotics (General) Acidophilus and Bifidus, all B vitamins, vitamin K
Tetracycline antibiotics Calcium, magnesium, iron
Tuberculosis drugs Vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, vitamin D

Beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron

Trimethoprim Biotin, folic acid, inositol, B vitamins, vitamin K

Antidiabetic drugs

Sulfonylureas Coenzyme Q10, vitamin E
Biguanides Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B12, folic acid

Ulcer medications

H2-receptor antagonists

Iron, Vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin D, calcium, zinc (protein)*

Proton pump inhibitors Vitamin B12 (protein)*

Other categories and/or commonly prescribed drugs

Digoxin Magnesium, phosphorus, calcium,
Beta blockers Coenzyme Q10, melatonin
Tricyclic antidepressants Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B2
Phenothiazines Coenzyme Q10, vitamin B2, melatonin
Potassium chloride supplementation Vitamin B12
Chemotherapeutic drugs Most nutrients
Theophylline Vitamin B6
Anticoagulants Vitamin K
Reverse transcriptase inhibitors Copper, zinc, vitamin B12, carnitine

Over-the-counter drugs

Aspirin Iron, Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium
NSAIDs Folic acid
Laxatives-mineral oil Vitamins A, D, E, beta carotene, vitamin K
Laxatives-bisacodyl Potassium
Magnesium and aluminum antacids Calcium, folic acid, phosphate, (protein)*
Sodium bicarbonate Folic acid, magnesium, potassium, (protein)*
Ulcer medications Vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin D, zinc

*Problems with the digestion of proteins with use of these drugs have not been documented by scientific studies. However, it is well known that stomach acid is required for proper protein digestion. Therefore, drugs that either neutralize stomach acid or suppress the production of stomach acid are likely to have a negative effect on protein digestion. The passing of undigested protein from the stomach into the small intestine may also cause health problems in its own right. Drug Nutrient Depletions, Copyright 2001, Intramedicine, Inc. The data in this table are derived from the sources used by Ross Pelton, R.Ph., Ph.D. and James B. LaValle, R.Ph. in The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Drugs: How to Maintain Good Nutrition While Using prescription Drugs.

The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Drugs: How to Maintain Good Nutrition While Using Prescription Drugs (Englewood, CO: Morton Publishing Co., 2000)