When we use drug treatment we usually have an even higher demand for essential nutrients.

In an ideal world we get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need from the food we eat. Unfortunately the world is no longer perfect and we have little control over potential toxins and anti-nutrients, in our water, processed food and even the air we breathe. For this reason we need to support our bodies with extra nutrients, to provide us with the necessary firepower to deal with everything life throws at us and keep us in optimal health.
Almost 100% of my customers who I speak to about diet tell me "I eat a really good diet with lots of fruit & veggies". I''''d like a dollar for each time I hear that line. In reality most of us eat a typical western diet high in simple carbohydrates, saturated fats, processed foods and low in fresh produce particularly raw. The richest source of good nutrients is uncooked fruit and vegetables- how much of this did you eat yesterday?

When we use drug treatment we usually have an even higher demand for these essential nutrients. Lets look at 3 commonly used drug groups and the extra nutritional demands they place on us,

ANTIBIOTICS

Taking antibiotics depletes the body of a number of vitamins and minerals including Vit C,A,D,K, the Vit B group, calcium, iron,magnesium, sodium and zinc. They also wipe out the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
We also know antibiotics compromise the bodies defense systems (immune system) in 3 ways
- Reduces white blood cells formation
- Inhibits the ability of white blood cells to travel to the site of infection
- Inhibits the ability of the white blood cell to engulf bacteria (Phagocytosis)
So people undergoing antibiotic treatment especially regular treatment should supplement with a good multivitamin and also look at supporting the immune system, with products like garlic, echinacea and vitamin C. This is especially important when multiple courses of antibiotics are taken.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES

Anti-inflammatory drugs such as those commonly used for arthritis can reduce Vit B6,C,K, iodine and copper. Simple aspirin increases vitamin C requirements while steroids deplete zinc and potassium.

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES(The Pill)

Oral contraceptives definitely deplete the body of many vitamins including Vit A,B group, C,E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc. As contraceptives are often taken for long periods of time it seems sensible for all women taking oral contraceptives to also take a multivitamin.
Vitamin C is an especially important consideration when taking the pill. It appears vitamin C requirements are increased by the pill and it would therefore be sensible for women taking the pill to increase their intake of foods which are rich in vitamin C . A supplement of 100-500 mg daily would seem entirely appropriate not just from the point of view of oral contraception but for general health as well. However, there is an effect of vitamin C on oral contraceptives, which should be clearly understood. It has been shown that doses of 1g daily of vitamin C increase the concentration of oestrogen in the blood by increasing the availability of the hormone. The effect of this could be to change a low-dose oestrogen pill into a high-dose one, and increase the adverse effects of the pill. There is thus a potential risk in taking high doses of vitamin C when on the pill. What is also important to remember for women taking higher doses of vitamin C for colds etc, is to reduce the vitamin C gradually as sudden withdrawal may leave them at increased risk of unwanted pregnancy.
SUMMARY

When we are sick we undoubtedly benefit from medication given by our doctor. But as you can see from the three common examples above, we have an increased demand for nutrients while undergoing drug treatment. This is especially important for people undergoing long term drug treatment. In most cases this is unlikely to plunge us into malnutrition but it can easily put us into a situation of undernourishment that may adversely affect us in many ways. It is difficult enough in the modern world to maintain optimal nutrition and we must be aware drug treatment places extra demands on us and demonstrates the value of extra supplements to maintain health.