Week 47- Nutrition Depletion from Over-the-Counter Medications

Welcome my friends to a New Day and a New You! This is Sheri Turner- I am here to encourage, educate and help you to a healthier place in your life. Do you ever stop to think when taking a Zantac, aspirin, cough medicine or other over-the-counter medicine that it can cause a reduction in your body of certain key nutrients? We just take one pill or capful right after another for it helps what ailment we currently have. Research from a March 2022 article from Study Finds states one in three Americans take over-the-counter pain medication every single day. In a poll of 2,000 adults, 20 percent reported taking OTC pain medications once a day and 12 percent take it “a few times a day.”  I have to add my concern for you are my family. I want my RefineMEnt family educated, healthy and safe. Some people may choose to abuse OTC drugs as opposed to illegal drugs, because they’re sold at the pharmacy and they believe the medication must be safe. Contrary to popular belief, OTC drugs can be addictive and life-threatening when misused or abused. Please talk to your pharmacist for directions on how to take any over-the-counter OR prescription medicines. Do not be afraid to ask questions for this is your life! The more OTC medications we take, these “safe medicines” have considerable impact and rob nutrients from the body. Now, to the topic this week.

We will cover 4 common OTC medications that may cause nutrient depletion.

1.      Antacids- including H2 antagonists and proton-pump inhibitors. (Maalox, Mylanta, Zantac, Pepcid, Tagamet) This group’s role is to block, decrease or neutralize the production of the acid in your stomach. With the reduction of stomach acid, the absorption of iron, folic acid(vitamin b9), calcium, magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, vitamin D, fluoride and zinc are reduced. With heavy usage or extended use, numerous studies indicate that these drugs cause several nutrient deficiencies. Specifically, aluminum antacids (Maalox, Mylanta and Gaviscon) and calcium carbonate (Caltrate, Rolaids and Tums) act by buffering or neutralizing the acid pH of the stomach. Unfortunately, this reduction of stomach acid impairs the breakdown of the ingested food into its component nutrients. Also, PPI and H2 blockers significantly increase the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly patients. B12 requires adequate gastric acid for absorption. As we age, we are prone to deficiency in intrinsic factor, necessary for B12 absorption. This lack of stomach acid also decreases the absorption of folic acid, iron and zinc. Also, H2 blockers (Tagamet, Pepcid and Zantac) decrease acid secretion by blocking histamine. And the popular Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs, Prilosec, HK-20) are the most potent of acid-reducing medications. They reduce stomach acid production by up to 99 percent by decreasing the action of proton pumps, which are part of the stomach lining’s acid-making machinery. Unfortunately, this interferes with nutrient absorption. One study showed that high doses of PPIs, used for a year or more, could make people 2.5 more times susceptible to hip fracture than control subjects. Lower doses decreased the risk factor to 1.5 times that of nonusers. The longer these drugs are used, the higher the fracture risk. This heightened risk of osteoporosis is probably due to the drastic drop in calcium and vitamin D absorption that occurs with these drugs. Some experts believe the drugs themselves may hamper the body’s ability to build new bone.

You may need to supplement these nutrients 2-3 hours after taking any of the antacid family we just discussed. Your diet should also reflect an increased attention to these nutrients as well – to recap that includes iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, beta-carotene, vitamin D, fluoride and zinc.    https://nutritionreview.org/2016/12/practical-guide-avoiding-drug-induced-nutrient-depletion/

2.      Acetaminophen- Tylenol is used frequently for pain relief and fever reduction. All ages are affected with this over-the-counter medicine. The most concerning effects of using Tylenol is glutathione depletion. Glutathione is found in every one of the trillions of cells in the body. Glutathione is made in the body, inside your cells, and your liver cells have the highest concentration. Glutathione is the master antioxidant for the whole body, but is especially important for liver function and detoxification. Acetaminophen is the most common drug-induced cause of liver damage in the US. If you take a medication that contains “acetaminophen” and it is over-the-counter, or prescription, you still need to be supplementing with some glutathione. Best food options for a boost are asparagus, avocado, and walnuts; raw eggs, garlic and onions; broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower; peaches and watermelon; spinach, peas, and several spices including cinnamon, cardamom and curcumin found in turmeric.https://www.keycompounding.com/glutathione-for-acetaminophen-tylenol-toxicity/ You can also take a high quality supplement of glutathione from a trusted nutrition company.

3.      Aspirin- Used for pain relief, inflammation and reducing fever in adults- Aspirin is widely used in all doses. Long term use of aspirin is linked to deficiency in the following nutrients: Vitamin B9 (folic acid), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Sodium, Potassium and zinc. Aspirin can cause the body to expel more Vitamin C in urine than normal and Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune response. Calcium is necessary for bone, heart & dental health. Iron prevents anemia, weakness, fatigue, hair loss, and brittle nails. Vitamin B5 helps with fatigue and listlessness. Most of these nutrients are available in a high-quality multivitamin as well as you can  focus on a quality and colorful food intake.  If you are on an aspirin therapy, I recommend talking to your doctor about dosage to replenish these nutrients.

4.      NSAID-Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, ketoprofen, indomethacin, Naproxen, etc.): This group depletes iron and folic acid (vitamin b9) in part due to the digestive irritation caused by the drug. While NSAIDs are popular, their effect on the body can be serious. If you use them, be cautious and always check with your doctor or better your pharmacist for more specific information.  https://www.wellnessresources.com/news/common-medications-that-rob-the-body-of-nutrients   You can take nutritional supplements of iron and folic acid (B9) or supplement your diet with high iron and folic acid foods. Liver is one of the greatest sources of heme iron and not only the liver but every organ meat like kidney and heart are full of iron and extremely nutritious. Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, Asparagus, eggs and leafy greens are powerful sources of folic acid.

These are just 4 of the commonly used over-the-counter drugs that have considerable impact and rob nutrients from the body. You must be informed  as these medications are commonly found in our medicine cabinets and we pop a few many times a day or weekly. We also have to be aware of our nutritional status of our children and babies who frequently are given some of these discussed. As always, the longer the drugs are used the worse the risk and concern. Time to assess our use and then shift our focus to improving our food intake to boost our nutritional status.


It is a New Day- and you are fighting for a New you! By learning we take a step closer to better health. But we must also activate what we now know. Our quote today- “Discipline is knowing what to do. Knowing when to do it. Doing it to the best of your abilities. Doing it that way every single time.” — Coach Bobby Knight That is what RefineMEnt is about- learning, starting, continuing the journey and steadily improving your health-mind & body!! Let’s get to training!

 Okay RefineMEnt family- your MOVE or exercise goal is 15-20 min/day for 5 days this week. As always-Eat colorful smaller portions, hydrate with water, concentrate on your gut health, get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, plan your day and of course SMILE! Think, train and succeed!   You have all you need to be successful in your health and in your life. We just have to Do it!! Ready, set- go!