Great Smokies Medical Center of Asheville

Archive for the ‘0104’ Category

Prescription Drugs Cause Nutrient Depletion

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Many side effects of prescription drugs may not be direct effects of the drug per se, but due instead to nutrient depletion caused by taking the drug over time. Some common classes of drugs are listed below. Refer to Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, by Pelton, et al. for more comprehensive information.

Antacids: calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, phosphate, zinc, potassium
Antibiotics, in general: all B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, probiotics
Aspirin: folic acid, vitamin C, iron, amino acids/protein
Beta blockers: Coenzyme Q10
Birth control pills: vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc
Cardiac glycosides (Lanoxin and Digoxin): Calcium and magnesium
Cholesterol Lowering Drugs: Coenzyme Q10
Corticosteroids (Prednisone): vitamin D, calcium, selenium, zinc, potassium
Gout medications: vitamin B12, vitamin A, potassium, sodium
H2 receptor agonists (Tagamet and Zantac): folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc
NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen, etc.): folic acid
Loop diuretics: (Lasix and Bumex): vitamin B1, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, potassium
Potassium supplements: Vitamin B12
Proton pump inhibitors (Losec and Nexium): vitamin B12
Sulfa drugs: folic acid
Sulfonylureas (including the diabetic medications: Orinase, Glucotrol, Diabinase, Micronase, Glynase): vitamin B1, coenzyme Q10
Tetracyclines: vitamin B6, vitamin B12, probiotics, calcium, magnesium, zinc

Dietary Soy Intake Linked to Nutrient Deficiencies

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Soy is recommended by healthcare providers for its ability to modulate the metabolism of estrogen in both sexes, and is commonly used in soy-based infant formulas.

Soy, once touted as a perfect, inexpensive protein source, has worked its way into the American diet in a big way and has done so with the blessings of many healthcare providers and nutritionists. Soy is now found in non-traditional, convenience foods such as bread, pasta, veggie burgers, soy milk, soy cheese, soy ice cream, roasted “nuts”, hot dogs, sausages, high protein energy bars, and powdered nutritional beverage mixes.

Advocates of eating soy products say that millions of Asians can’t be wrong, claiming Asians have eaten large amounts of soy for centuries. In Asia, soy is traditionally eaten in small amounts as a condiment in the forms of slowly fermented miso and tempeh. (The increased Asian consumption of fish is more likely related to their lower occurrence of heart disease and some cancers.)

When it comes to soy, the American tendency to believe that if a little is good, then more is better, could be putting the health of some soy consumers at risk.

So what’s the problem? Nutritionists are concerned about organic acids in soybeans called phytates blocking the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, and soy’s trypsin inhibitors blocking the absorption of protein. This reduced nutrient uptake is thought to be responsible for the short stature of the Asian population. Phytates and trypsin inhibitors are particularly high in non-fermented soy products, such as texturized vegetable protein (TVP) in soy burgers and convenience foods.

Soy is among the top six most allergenic foods (corn, egg, milk, soy, wheat and yeast) and, unless otherwise stated on the label, soy can be assumed to be genetically modified (GMO). Genetically modified soy results in sterility when fed to Monarch butterflies. Because humans have longer life spans than butterflies, the effects of GMO soy on people are difficult to study and are thus unknown at this time.

More studies are needed to define the impact of a diet excessively rich in convenience soy foods. In the meantime, we advise eating organic, non-GMO soy such as miso, tempeh, traditional tofu, and natto in moderation to both prevent nutrient deficiencies from phytates and trypsin inhibitors and to prevent unwanted estrogen modulation. We don’t recommend the use of soy-based infant formulas due to the unknown effect of estrogen modulation on infants.

Signs and Symptoms of Specific Nutrient Deficiencies

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

The following nutrient deficiencies are related to the listed signs and symptoms:

Fat-soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A: Increased susceptibility to cancer, acne, night blindness and other eye problems; impaired maintenance, repair, and healing of skin and mucus membranes; impaired bone and teeth formation; accelerated aging
Vitamin D: (Rickets) Bone loss (osteoporosis); low blood calcium; osteomalacia (pain in ribs, spine, pelvis, legs, muscle weakness, brittle bones); retarded growth; muscle weakness, impaired tooth development; rickets in children
Vitamin E: Susceptibility to cancer and heart disease; anemia; lethargy; apathy; inability to concentrate; muscle weakness; decreased sexual performance
Vitamin K: Impaired blood clotting

Water-soluble Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): (Beriberi) Impairment of gastric acid production, blood formation, circulation, and starch metabolism; gastrointestinal, neurological, and heart muscle tone problems, learning and growth; low energy
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Impaired metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins; impaired cell growth and production of antibodies; tired eyes; cataracts; sores and cracks in corners of the mouth; decreased iron and pyridoxine levels
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): (Pellagra) The three D’s: dermatitis, dementia and diarrhea; circulatory problems; heart disease
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): headache, listlessness, fatigue, insomnia, intestinal disturbances, and numbness and tingling of hands and feet
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Fatigue; carpal tunnel syndrome; water retention; irritability; increased premenstrual stress; allergies; asthma; weakened immune system; heart disease
Vitamin B12 (Hydroxycobalomin): Anemia; improper digestion and metabolism of foods; nerve damage; fatigue; uneven gait; infertility; memory loss; cataracts
Folic Acid: Fatigue, anemia, weakness and low energy; problems with clotting and bruising; birth defects; cervical dysplasia; elevated homocysteine level (a risk factor in heart disease)
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Weakened immune system; increased susceptibility to cancer; impaired wound healing; gum disease; damage to nerves, eyes and vascular system; bruising

Calcium: Osteoporosis; muscle cramps; joint aches; increased cholesterol levels; nervousness; heart rhythm irregularities; skin disorders; brittle nails; rheumatoid arthritis; tooth decay; sleep disturbances; numbness in arms and/or legs; rickets
Magnesium: Muscle weakness and twitching (spasm); depression; dizziness; high blood pressure; heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias; asthma; menstrual cramps
Phosphorus: Mineral imbalance, especially calcium and magnesium; impaired bone and teeth formation; kidney function; heart muscle contraction problems
Potassium: Heart irregularities; increased blood pressure; muscle twitches; weakness; fluid imbalances

Trace Minerals
Chromium: Poor glucose/insulin control.
Copper: Fatigue; impaired wound healing; osteoporosis; altered sense of taste
Iodine: Lethargy, constipation, dry skin
Iron: Anemia; fatigue; weakness and low energy; clotting and bruising problems
Selenium: Increased susceptibility to cancers of liver, skin, breast and colon; stroke; heart muscle disorders; immune system deficiencies; allergy
Sodium: Fluid and electrolyte imbalance, weakness and fatigue
Vanadium: Poor glucose/insulin regulation.
Zinc: Impaired wound healing; weakened immune system; impaired sense of smell and taste.

Nutrient Deficiencies Can Result in Serious Health Problems

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

A tragic reminder of the consequences of nutrient deficiencies occurred in November 2003, when the deaths of three Israeli infants were linked to the use of a Kosher soy-based infant formula manufactured in Germany that was sold as Remedia. Fourteen more infants were treated for problems associated with using the infant formula. Remedia was not commercially marketed in the United States, though some may have been imported via mail order. Laboratory analysis revealed that the formula did not contain any Vitamin B1, thiamin, even though the label stated it did. Thiamine deficiency results in a condition known as beriberi which causes a variety of cardiac and neurological problems and, if untreated, death.

While a dramatic example of the effects of nutrient deficiencies, it brings to mind the more subtle but very significant roles that chronic nutrient deficiencies can cause throughout a lifetime.

Nutrient deficiencies can be caused by food supply problems from homelessness, poverty, and isolation, in addition to some psychiatric disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, paranoia, and depression. Mechanical problems such as ill-fitting dentures and poor dental health also contribute to nutrient deficiency, as can laxative abuse and lack of sunshine. Side effects of prescription drugs include their ability to deplete essential nutrients, as does consumption of alcohol and a diet rich in soy. Even when an adequate diet is eaten, nutrients may not be absorbed due to inadequate production of hydrochloric acid or digestive enzymes, and inflammatory bowel disease.

That being said, the number one cause of nutrient deficiencies in the United States is eating processed and junk food, fast food, food high in sugar, and “bad” fat. We don’t need box cutters to undermine our nation. We’ve got spoons and forks!

Nutrient deficiencies usually don’t directly result in death, but more often undermine health in ways not easily apparent. The afflicted person does not feel or function well and is often clueless as to why. A physician trained in nutritional medicine can be alerted to clinical signs and symptoms that suggest nutrient deficiency. When deficiencies are treated and the body’s functions are supported, some prescription drug use can be decreased or even prevented altogether.

Junk food eaters beware: Before you improve your diet, be aware that if too many people decide to eat a nutritionally sound diet, disease incidence would decrease and our health care system could collapse due to fewer people seeking healthcare.

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