|HUB OF THE HEALTHY LIVING MARKETPLACE™ | February 2011
Is it Okay to Take Medicines & Vitamins Together?
Did you know that everything you eat or drink changes your body chemistry? Your morning OJ. Your allergy medicine. Even a turkey sandwich.
Balance your body chemistry
Disease often throws off your body chemistry, which medicine may help correct. Drugs may replace a missing chemical, block a symptom of the disease, or help fight it off. When vitamins or herbs are combined with a medication, they may interact. A medication may cause your body to lose—or deplete—important nutrients, like calcium or folic acid. Or it might make your body need more of a nutrient to work right. Some herbs or nutrients, when taken at the same time as a drug, might reduce the amount of medication absorbed into the body, reducing its effectiveness. (This can often be avoided by taking the drug and the herb or nutrient at different times.)
While some interactions should be avoided, the right combinations can actually help. They may correct nutrient depletions. They might even make a medication work better. Always check with a knowledgeable doctor or other reliable resource (such as RxAnswers™), before adding a supplement to your self-care practices, especially if you are already taking medications to manage disease.
Interactions can be beneficial or harmful. For example:
A good example of a drug that depletes nutrients from the body is the diuretic furosemide. Furosemide causes the body to lose potassium and magnesium, so people taking furosemide might need to supplement with potassium and magnesium to avoid unwanted problems such as muscle cramps, fatigue, or heart-rhythm disturbances.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I know if my drug is causing an interaction?
You might notice a bad interaction if your drug stops working as effectively or if you develop unwanted symptoms when you begin taking a new nutrient or add a new food to your diet. Similarly, you might notice a beneficial interaction if your drug starts working better after adding a new food or nutrient.
When nutrients are depleted, are supplements the only way to replace them?
As natural substances, are herbs and vitamins safer than drugs?