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Nutritional Deficiencies Caused by Pharmaceutical Medications

Treatment for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic pain and acid reflux, often includes pharmaceuticals taken over long periods of time, and potentially for a lifetime. While pharmaceuticals may be medically necessary, they often have unknown, adverse, or poorly understood health effects. Though it has been observed that prolonged use of pharmaceutical medications can cause nutritional deficiencies, those deficiencies are rarely adequately addressed.

Pharmaceuticals can affect nutrition by retarding the body’s intake of essential nutrients or by leaching present nutrients out. Understanding which effects a drug may have on nutrition is difficult because information usually only accompanies a prescription when there is known potential for significant health complications. That’s why it is a good idea to seek advice from a healthcare practitioner well-versed in nutrition about potential side effects of any new medications.

Each person’s individual body chemistry plays a large role in how they will respond to medication. A blood test to determine the body’s nutritional status can assist in predicting which deficiencies are most likely. Comprehensive functional nutritional testing, such as that offered by Spectracell Labs, tests for the percentage of up to 33 nutrients in the body’s white blood cells. Initial results can be used to determine reactions to medication, while regular, annual micronutrient testing can assess ongoing nutritional status; enabling a preventative approach to nutritional deficiencies.

The table below provides a list of common medications and the associated nutritional deficiencies. This list is illustrative, not comprehensive; and cannot take the place of a thorough medical intake by a qualified specialist.

To assess your nutritional status and potential nutritional deficiencies, a thorough medical intake and a comprehensive, functional nutritional test is advisable. These tests are available through select practitioners and certain naturopathic doctors.

Nutritional Deficiencies Test

Dr. Shannon Sinsheimer is a licensed naturopathic doctor at Optimal Health Center and a provider for Spectracell Micronutrient tests. She can be reached at (760) 568-2598.

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