Aug 282009

As our bodies get older they function less efficiently. Like all sophisticated machines, they eventually suffer the wear and tear of prolonged use. To name a few signs of deterioration: our joints start to hurt, our energy level decreases, our digestion is not as efficient, our thought processes slow down, and our arteries start to narrow. To many, the ‘golden years’ are synonymous with taking medication.

Although some medication is necessary to repair a weakening system, they usually come with a list of side effects. In describing these drugs, terms such as ‘inhibiters’, ‘blockers’, and ‘antagonists’ mean that they will be interfering with something in the body to accomplish the desired effect, and forewarn of a negative. In many cases, this negative can be due to nutrient depletion. Nutrients are vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, etc., that are usually obtained from the breakdown of food to supply the biochemical building blocks that the body needs to exist, and their depletion often defines the side effect of the drug.

Western medicine is vigilant in its monitoring of nutrients that can interact negatively with a drug, however, the lack of attentiveness regarding the nutrients that are depleted by a drug is very disconcerting. To illustrate this point, let’s look at Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), one of the most important nutrients in the human body.

CoQ10 is a fat-soluble vitamin-like compound that is critical in the production of energy in the mitochondria of every human cell. It is also an important antioxidant and plays a major role in preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and the prevention of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). Further, it is intimately involved in the production of energy. Consequently, a deficiency of CoQ10 first affects the heart and cardiovascular system because the heart is the most energy-demanding muscle in the human body. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency can cause congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, mitral valve prolapse, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, lack of energy, gingivitis and generalized weakening of the immune system.

There is an extensive list of pharmaceutical drugs that deplete CoQ10. To name a few: statin drugs (e.g. Lipitor®) used to lower cholesterol, beta blockers (e.g. metoprolol) to lower high blood pressure, thiazide diuretics (e.g. hydrochlorthiazide) to lower high blood pressure, and metformin a common medication used to treat insulin resistance and Type II diabetes.

Aging, by way of lower biochemical production and absorption of critical nutrients such as CoQ10 increase our risk of various cardiac problems, weak immune systems, and lower energy levels. The additional intake of a range of drugs that further deplete our levels of crucial nutrients can increase our risk levels substantially. It must be noted that many of these drugs deplete multiple nutrients important to other functions of the body.

Often, when a change of lifestyle has failed to produce the desired change to one’s chronic illness, it becomes necessary to resort to the use of a drug. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the nutritional needs not only of that illness but of the nutritional needs made necessary by a particular drug. The failure to address this issue may result in the health problems not being resolved, and may lead to other symptoms later on, which may lead to the prescribing of additional drugs. A health care provider, who is familiar with drug nutrient depletion, can help make your medication more effective and cut down on some of the long term risks.

Marvin Malamed is a national award winning pharmacist, certified clinical nutritionist and President of Haber’s Compounding Pharmacy.  For more information, he can be reached at (416) 656 9800.

2 Responses to “Hidden Risks – Nutrient Depletion”

  1. Derrick Says:

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  2. Timothy Says:

    assure@equalizers.mervin” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info….

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