Are you one of the nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population taking prescription medications (1), and 68 percent of Americans taking dietary supplements (2)? I speak to patients all the time who don’t realize they should be clearing their dietary supplements with his or her doctor prior to consumption.
Mixing meds and supplements can be risky since some drugs can deplete nutrients while other medications add nutrients to the body. Too much of one or the other can significantly impact your health.
A few common drug-nutrient interactions to keep on your radar, include:
Taking a statin? You will want to add Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) because the average blood concentration of CoQ10 in blood plasma decreases within 30 days by an average of 50 percent (3).
Taking a blood pressure medication? You should know that taking an iron supplement two hours before or after taking this type of medication can decrease its absorption rate.
Taking a synthetic thyroid hormone? Look at your supplement facts to be sure you’re avoiding soy, iron and calcium. Soy, iron and calcium, if taken within four hours of taking a synthetic thyroid hormone, may reduce the absorption rate.
So, where should you go to check whether your prescription medication has any interactions with supplements? My number one answer is your health care practitioner. Your doctor has electronic medical records (EMRs) – big data – at his or her fingertips and can easily scan for potential interactions. In addition, rely on your local pharmacist as they too have access to databases that can quickly and easily scan for areas of caution. In my opinion, pharmacists are one of the most underused and most valuable resources for you.
You’re in Good Hands
One of the reasons why I’m excited to be a medical advisory board member of Persona is because the company is using big data to inform dietary supplement recommendations. Did you know that Persona can quickly and easily cross reference more than 650 possible drug-nutrient interactions? It doesn’t and shouldn’t take the place of your health care practitioner, but it will put you on the right, healthy, path from the start.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
- Rundek T, Naini A, Sacco R, et al. Atorvastatin decreases the coenzyme Q10 level in the blood of patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Arch Neurol 2004;61:889-92.
Written by Persona Medical Advisory Board member Michael Roizen, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic and chairman of Persona’s medical advisory board