The first part of this series briefly addressed statins and anti-depressants, so now it’s time to talk about a couple of other very frequently prescribed medications: Proton-Pump Inhibitors, which reduce stomach acid, and the birth control pill.

Proton-Pump Inhibitors (PPI)

May deplete: boron, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, betacarotene, some B, C, D, E and K vitamins.

The list is long, as PPIs can effectively shut down digestion. Without adequate stomach acid, the body cannot sufficiently break down protein, produce B12 or absorb many minerals. There is a link to osteoporosis and numerous possible side effects due to low magnesium in the body and the pharmaceutical companies advise that these medications are to be used on a short-term basis only.

Most people are surprised to learn that their digestive issues are due to decreased stomach acid, which naturally occurs with age, rather than too much, and then PPI’s reduce stomach acid even further.

Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., has produced some helpful material on this subject including his very quick read, Your Stomach.

A particular client of mine comes to mind: a long-term user of PPIs with multiple health complaints, who was shocked to see her full dinner still sitting in her stomach during an ultrasound mid-morning the next day. One week after making some adjustments to her routine, she is digesting food without discomfort for the first time in almost 15 years and improvements in her other health conditions are beginning to take place.

If you experience digestive issues in any way, I do encourage you to contact a natural health care practitioner, as there are ways to improve digestion naturally and to ensure that you are absorbing your nutrients. The effectiveness of nutritional supplements may also be hampered without a strong digestive system.

Birth Control Pill

May deplete: Vitamin A, B’s, and C, magnesium, selenium, zinc

As stated in Part 1, avoid nutrient-deficient processed foods entirely. Filling your plate with abundant amounts of fresh vegetables is a great starting point for replenishing much needed nutrients. A variety of whole grains, nuts and seeds can provide a breadth of natural sources of many minerals, for example, two Brazil nuts contain a day’s worth of selenium.

In terms of supplements, taking a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral formulation (capsule form with no unnecessary added ingredients) on a daily basis is a good idea and consider taking a separate B-complex as well.

With any medications that may be recommended or prescribed, it is essential to be informed of all potential side effects and nutrient depletions. Consult your doctor in conjunction with your natural health practitioner to achieve balance. Your body will thank you.


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