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Drug Induced Nutrient Depletions: Oral Hypoglycemics

In part six, we continue our exploration of the nutrients that are depleted when taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Drug induced nutrient depletions (DIND) occur when medications cause nutrients to be depleted from our bodies. This has been a multi-part series in which I focused on a different drug class each week. In previous weeks, we focused on the nutrients depleted from the use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, anti-hyperlipidemics, pain relievers, and acid suppressing agents. This week for part six, we will focus on the nutrients that are depleted as a result of the use of oral-hypoglycemics. These are the medications that people take to help control their diabetes.

Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Type II diabetes occurs when your body does not use insulin correctly. When type II diabetes starts, your pancreas goes into over drive and makes extra insulin since it is not working the way it should. Eventually, the pancreas is not able to keep up with the needed demand of insulin. At this point, blood glucose levels can stay above normal and healthy levels.

Diabetes is a serious health condition and impacts almost 10% of the population in the United States (1). In 2015, approximately 30.3 million people had diabetes. It was also estimated that 84.1 million Americans (over age 18) had pre-diabetes (1). Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes also costs the United States economy a lot of money. In 2017, diabetes expenditures (medical costs and lost productivity) cost about $327 billion (1).

Here are some guidelines on how much of the depleted nutrients you may need each day as well as some good food sources.

Folic Acid

How much you may need per day if you use a supplement: 400-800 mcg (2)

Good Food Sources: Vegetables (especially dark green leafy vegetables), fruits and fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, poultry and meat, eggs, seafood, and grains, spinach, liver, yeast, asparagus, and brussel sprouts (3)


How much you may need per day if you use a supplement: Healthy adults should limit their sodium intake to around 2,300 mg and people with high blood pressure should limit their intake to around 1.500 mg (3)

Food Sources: Processed foods, milk, beets, and celery also naturally contain sodium (3)

Vitamin B12

How much you may need per day if you use a supplement: 500-1000 mcg (2)

Good Food Sources: Clams, beef liver, fortified breakfast cereals, trout salmon, tuna, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs chicken, haddock (3)

Coenzyme Q10

How much you may need per day if you use a supplement: 30-100mg (2)

Good Food Sources: Beef, chicken, trout, salmon, oranges, broccoli (2)

* Individual needs may vary. Speak with your health care provider or nutritionist for your personalized recommendations.

Suggestions for Helping to Prevent Diabetes (4)

  • Reduce stress

  • Get plenty of sleep by aiming to sleep 6-8 hours each night

  • Follow a low-glycemic Mediterranean diet that include whole grains, vegetable proteins, vegetables, some fruit, coffee, and moderate amounts of alcohol

  • Practice daily exercise (cardiovascular and strength training)

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Try to avoid air pollution

  • Practice meditation and mindfulness

  • If you have pre-diabetes, treat it with intense lifestyle interventions (and medication if recommended by your health care provider)

About the Author: Leanne DiMaio earned her Master’s degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College in December 2017. She is currently working on her Doctorate degree in Clinical Nutrition degree at Maryland University of Integrative Health. Leanne is passionate about helping others achieve their optimal state of health and wellness. She is currently earning clinical hours toward the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential under Kim Ross's supervision.


1. American Diabetes association. Statistics About Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. Published 2018. Accessed July 8, 2018.

2. Vagnini F, Fox B. The Side Effects Bible. New York: Broadway Books; 2005.

3. United States Department of Agriculture. Vitamins and Minerals | Food and Nutrition Information Center. 2018. Available at: Accessed June 3, 2018.

4. Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2018.and-minerals.

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