Drug Interactions with Nutrients
Like some foods, individual nutrients — vitamins and minerals — may also interact with medicines. The table lists some common vitamin/mineral and drug interactions. Here are four common examples:
- Antacids containing aluminum compounds bind with the bone-building mineral phosphorous, carrying it right out of your body.
- Antiulcer drugs cimetidine (Tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac) can make you positively giddy. These drugs reduce stomach acidity, which means the body absorbs alcohol more efficiently. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, taking ulcer medication with alcohol leads to twice the wallop. Drink one beer, and you feel as though you’ve had two.
- Diuretics, commonly known as water pills, increase urination, which increases your loss of the mineral potassium. To make up what you lose, experts suggest adding potassium-rich bananas, oranges, spinach, corn, and tomatoes to your diet.
- Oral contraceptives reduce the body’s absorption of the B vitamin folate and possibly B12.
|You Absorb Less . . .||When You Take . . .|
|Vitamin A||Aluminum antacids Bisacodyl (laxative) Cholestyramine (lowers cholesterol) Fenfluramine (diet pill) Mineral oil (laxative) Neomycin (antibiotic)|
|Vitamin D||Bisacodyl (laxative) Cholestyramine (lowers cholesterol) Mineral oil (laxative) Neomycin (antibiotic)|
|Vitamin K||Bisacodyl (laxative) Cholestyramine (lowers cholesterol) Mineral oil (laxative) Neomycin (antibiotic)|
|Vitamin C||Aspirin Barbiturates (sleeping pills) Cortisone and related steroid drugs|
|Thiamin||Antacids (calcium) Aspirin Cortisone and related steroid drugs|
|Riboflavin||Birth control pills|
|Folate||Aspirin Cholestyramine (lowers cholesterol) Penicillin Phenobarbital, primidone, phenothiazines (antiseizure drugs) Sulfa drugs|
|Vitamin B12||Cholestyramine (lowers cholesterol) Neomycin (antibiotic)|
|Calcium||Cortisone and related steroid drugs Diuretics (water pills) Magnesium antacids Neomycin (antibiotic) Phosphorus laxatives Tetracycline (antibiotic)|
|Magnesium||Amphotericin B (antibiotic) Diuretics (water pills) Tetracycline (antibiotic)|
|Iron||Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Calcium antacids Calcium supplements (with meals) Cholestyramine (lowers cholesterol) Neomycin (antibiotic) Penicillin (antibiotic) Tetracycline (antibiotic)|
|Zinc||Diuretics (water pills)|
Source: James J. Rybacki, The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2002 (New York: Harper Collins, 2001); Brian L. G. Morgan, The Food and Drug Interaction Guide (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986); Eleanor Noss Whitney, Corinne Balog Cataldo, and Sharon Rady Rolfes, Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, 4th ed. (Minneapolis/St. Paul: West Publishing, 1994)