How Long-term Medication Use Can Create Fatigue
By Ritamarie Loscalzo
Newly emerging research is pointing to a frequently overlooked fact that most prescription and non-prescription long-term medications alike can have unknown consequences.
In my podcast ReInvent Healthcare – Medications That Impact Energy Metabolism, my guest is Dr. Mihaela Gruita, a naturopathic pharmacist and NEPT graduate. We talk about the ways common medications, such as antibiotics and contraceptives, can lead to the depletion of vitamins and minerals and how that impacts energy.
It’s something most healthcare practitioners overlook when prescribing medications yet could be critical to understanding chronic symptoms, particularly if clients are suffering from fatigue (feeling tired) or lack of energy.
The Krebs Cycle
Mitochondria are foundational to the production of energy by turning glucose molecules and oxygen into ATP, the cellular energy currency. The set of actions that are involved in ATP production are collectively known as the Krebs cycle.
The Krebs cycle, or citric acid cycle, is a series of reactions responsible for most of the body’s energy needs. It’s considered one of the most important reaction sequences in biochemistry, and in addition to energy production, the molecules produced are used as building blocks for numerous processes including the synthesis of steroids, cholesterol, fatty acids, amino acids for building proteins and the purines and pyrimidines needed for synthesizing DNA.
For mitochondria to successfully produce ATP, specific vitamins and minerals are required for each step of the Krebs cycle. A deficiency in any one can have a significantly negative impact on energy levels.
Long-term Medication and the Krebs Cycle
Practically every class of medication, in one way or another, deplete certain vitamins and minerals. Something as simple as aspirin could be robbing a client of their best health if taken on a regular basis.
It is known that the B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9 and B12, as well as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and zinc, are all critical to the production of energy in the human body. A shortage of any one can result in mental and/or physical fatigue.
Dr. Gruita points out in her free publication, “False Friends: 6 Most Common yet Unsafe Over-the-Counter Drugs that might be making you sick!”, that aspirin, a medication general thought of as being safe, can deplete the human body of vitamins C, B5, B6, B9 and K, in addition to melatonin, iron, calcium, sodium, and potassium when used long term.
Reviewing medications and understanding the underlying impact they may be having on a client’s overall wellbeing could be a crucial step in helping them achieve their health goals. This is especially true when understanding to what degree they might be depleting nutrients.
Unfortunately, as Dr. Gruita pointed out in the podcast, there is no single resource a practitioner can access that will provide all the information needed to advise clients on supplementation for specific medications. However, she did mention two books that are helpful.
“Drug Muggers” by Suzy Cohen and “Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health” by Aviva Romm serve as a good place to start in addition to Pubmed which has reliable, current research for review.
In addition, Dr. Gruita will soon have an app called “MIND Biochemistry: medication-induced nutrient deficiencies.” Once available, it will also be a great resource to help determine possible depletions that may come from long-term medication use.
The importance of early intervention.
Most individuals can use prescribed medication short term, or over-the-counter medications on occasion, with few adverse effects. However, if either are used long term, nutrient depletion can develop gradually over time. Because of this, you may not attribute the symptoms that you or a client experience to their use.
This is why it is important to consider possible supplementation at the same time you or a client begin a medication. Early intervention could prevent future complications resulting from nutrient deficiencies brought on by its regular use.
Remember, it’s always important to use medication as prescribed. No changes should be made without first consulting with your healthcare provider.
If you are interested in learning more ways to provide root cause healthcare to clients suffering from chronic conditions, I would love for you to take a look at my Nutritional Endocrinology Practitioners Training (NEPT) program.
Or if you are a person seeking to recover your best health, consider joining my Body Freedom Nutrition Lab.
Together we can change the broken, disease-focused healthcare system that provides few answers to chronic conditions so many people struggle with. There are real, lasting solutions when you find the right resources and support.
I would love to provide both and will be honored should you decide to join our community.
Either way I wish you your best life through optimal health.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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