Replenish the Nutrients that Medications Deplete - Weil Vitamin Advisor
By the Weil Vitamin Advisor Editorial Staff
Here's some troubling news: Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug. More than half take at least two prescriptions.

These sky-high numbers – based on figures released in June of 2013 by Mayo Clinic researchers – should give us pause. No society on Earth has ever gobbled as many pharmaceuticals as does this one.

The main problem: it may not be helping to the degree people believe.

"As the pace of taking drugs has gone up, American health in many categories has gotten worse," said Andrew Weil, M.D.

In addition, "Many people – including some physicians – don't realize that some of the most widely taken pharmaceuticals deplete the body of vital nutrients," said Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. "It's hard to care for our bodies if the drugs we take rob us of the nutrients we need for overall health."

Here are two common drugs, the nutrients they deplete, and Dr. Low Dog's advice:

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): Known by trade names including Nexium and Prilosec, these popular meds tame heartburn and serious reflux by reducing stomach acid production. Unfortunately, they also deplete magnesium levels in the blood and impair absorption of calcium and vitamin D. This boosts the risk of bone fracture, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.
Metformin: Sold as Glucophage, this diabetes drug depletes vitamin B12, a nutrient that's vital for brain and nervous system health. "This depletion is especially risky for people over 50 and for vegetarians and vegans, who may already have low B12 levels," said Dr. Low Dog. "I recommend 500 micrograms [mcg] of B12 to anyone who takes this drug."

This list is actually much longer. The point, Dr. Low Dog said, is that no one should take a prescription medication without talking with a physician or pharmacist about possible nutrient depletions.

"It's all about balance – about respecting that intricate internal 'dance' of inner and outer healing forces," she said. "I'm not saying these drugs are bad or wrong – although I do believe Americans are overprescribed. But it's vital to consider the impact of each pharmaceutical on each individual person."

Another resource to consider is the Weil Vitamin Advisor. Created by Andrew Weil, MD and a team of integrative medicine experts, it can help you work with your physician to create the best balance of medications and supplements - one that's just right for you.

Natural Allergy Relief

The Weil Vitamin Advisor

The Weil Vitamin Advisor is a state-of-the-art health and lifestyle evaluation developed by our integrative health experts, and designed to provide personalized vitamin and supplement recommendations that are both safe and effective.

Your Experts

Share & Connect