We exist through a dynamic interaction of many biochemical, environmental, and societal influences. Our brain affects our body’s functioning and our body affects our brain’s functioning. This is why the endorphins released after physical exercise can make us feel so good, and why people with a more positive outlook on life tend to experience less pain. Therefore, to view mood and physical disorders separate from one another doesn’t provide an integrated and holistic viewpoint on health. (The world is not depressed due to a Prozac deficiency).

There are many factors that intermingle and differ between each individual. In Naturopathic Medicine, getting to the cause of the problem is most important. This means that there is no one “treatment protocol” for one diagnosis, but, there is a specific treatment protocol for every individual. Dr. Cass’s podcast highlighted how depression can be caused by a variety of conditions that include among others: a thyroid or adrenal disorder, hypoglycemia, immune dys-regulation, and food sensitivities. Using one medication to treat the effect of these conditions may be helpful and necessary temporarily. However, it doesn’t solve the underlying problem the body is trying to communicate through expressing various symptoms. Furthermore, prolonged use of a specific drug could actually create more of a deficiency in the nutrient the body is lacking, which may have contributed to the problem to begin with.

Dr. Ellen Kamhi, the natural nurse, mentioned in her clinical rounds teleseminar that many people are magnesium deficient. In the outdated versions of the Merck Manual, a magnesium deficiency is listed to not only affect heart and muscle health, but is also important for mood regulation. Dr. Kamhi discussed how a colleague, a psychologist, found this link and decided to test out the theory. She began prescribing magnesium to her patients with depression, irritability, and mood disorders, instead of antidepressants. What she found was a remarkable reversal in symptoms which lead her to question why many physicians are quick to reach for the pill bottle instead of correcting the cause.

Here are some other examples of signs and symptoms that may be treated with a drug but are effects from a nutrient deficiency.

B12 Deficiency (Exacerbated by: Antacids, Metformin, Nitrous oxide, OCPs, and many more)

Signs and Symptoms according to Merck: anemia, liver and spleen enlargement, various digestive symptoms,neurological symptoms (develop independently from and often without hematologic abnormalities), irritability, mild depression to “paranoia (megaloblastic madness), delirium, confusion, spastic ataxia, and, at times, postural hypotension. “The confusion may be difficult to differentiate from age-related dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Vitamin C Deficiency ( Exacerbated by OCPs, Anti-inflammatory drugs, Corticosteroids, and others.)

Signs and Symptoms according to Merck: lassitude, weakness, irritability, weight loss, vague muscle and joint pains “may develop early”, connective tissue defects, follicular hyperkeratosis, scurvy, poor wound healing, spontaneous hemorrhage, lower extremity edema, and effusions within joints.

How many people would rather take a B-complex, if B12 is the issue,  than endure the side effects of an anti-depressant (increased risk of suicide, joint pain, muscle pain, fatigue)?

As an integrated medical specialist, it is important for me to address the nutrient deficiencies created by my client’s medications. This not only will work to reduce side effects, but it will also stop any  of the degenerative effects from a prolonged lack of a specific nutrient. This is why, in most cases, all of my clients receive a whole food multivitamin and individualized additional nutrient support as needed.

Below are some common examples of nutrient-drug depletions. Dr. Hass has a book available on the subject. Today, due to mineral and vitamin depletion in the soil, acid-rain, pesticides, environmental pollution, GMO foods, and nutrient-stripping food processing, it is even more important to replete our bodies with all the raw materials to stay healthy, in the most natural, whole food form.

Common examples of nutrient-drug interactions:

Oral contraceptive pills:
Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, folic acid, magnesium, selenium, tyrosine

Blood Pressure/Loop diuretics: Calcium, magnesium, potassium,sodium, zinc, vitamins B1, B6, C

Hydromymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins): Coenzyme Q10, Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Corticosteroids: Vitamins A, C, D, B12, folic acid, calcium, chromium, magnesium, potassium,selenium, zinc

Antibiotics (general): Acidophilus, Bifidus, all B vitamins, vitamin K, Vitamin C

Aspirin: Vitamin C, folic acid, iron, potassium, sodium

NSAIDs: Folic acid


Theapeutic Food Manual. Standard Process

Nutrient-Drug Depletions: http://catalog.designsforhealth.com/s.nl/sc.30/category.7811/.f



Early effect of a low dose (30 micrograms) ethinyl estradiol-containing Triphasil on vitamin B6 status. A follow-up study on six menstrual cycles. Massé PG, van den Berg H, Duguay C, Beaulieu G, Simard JM. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1996;66(1):46-54.

Can drug-induced depressions be identified by their clinical features? Patten SB, Lamarre CJ. Can J Psychiatry. 1992 Apr;37(3):213-5.

DFH Clinical Rounds: April 15th 2009, Dr. Ellen Kamhi

DFH Clinical Rounds: April 1st 2009, Dr. Hyla Cass