Osteoporosis (bone loss) is the primary disease associated with long-term
calcium deficiency; it may be associated with bone pain and spinal deformity.
Depleted levels can also cause muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and
Note: Calcium carbonate antacids may elevate calcium levels, depending upon
the circumstances of use. Consult your doctor.
Although copper deficiency is rare, signs and symptoms of long-term depletion
of copper include anemia, changes in the structure and appearance of hair, heart
damage, growth retardation, impaired bone formation, osteoporosis (bone loss),
and emphysema (lung disease).
Depleted levels of iron may lead to anemia and weakened immune function. In
the event of anemia, symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath,
pale skin color, and possibly irregular heartbeat.
Although phosphorus deficiency is rare, long-term low levels are associated
with muscle weakness, bone pain, mental confusion, anorexia, anemia, increased
susceptibility to infection, respiratory difficulties, seizures, and even
Symptoms of potassium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea,
drowsiness, feelings of apprehension, excessive thirst, irrational behavior,
fatigue, muscle pain and weakness (usually of the lower limbs); severe cases may
lead to irregular heartbeat.
Signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite or sense of
taste, growth retardation, skin changes, and increased susceptibility to
The selected depletions information presented here identifies some of the
nutrients that may be depleted by certain medications. The signs and symptoms
associated with nutrient deficiency may also indicate conditions other than
nutrient deficiency. If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms
mentioned, it does not necessarily mean that you are nutrient deficient.
Nutrient depletion depends upon a number of factors, including your medical
history, diet, and lifestyle as well as the length of time you have been taking
the medication. Please consult your healthcare provider; he or she can best
assess and address your individual healthcare needs, and determine if you are at
risk for nutrient depletions from these medications as well as others not listed
Ames BN. Micronutrient deficiencies: A major cause of DNA damage. Ann NY
Acad Sci. 2000;889:87-106.
Cashman K, Flynn A. Optimal nutrition: calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Proc Nutr Soc. 1999;58:477-487.
Covington T, ed. Nonprescription Drug Therapy Guiding Patient
Self-Care. St Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons;
Falchuk KH. Disturbances in Trace Elements. In: Fauci A, Braunwald E,
Isselbacher KJ, et al, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine.
14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies Health Professional Division;
Faloon, WW. Drug production of intestinal malabsorption. N.Y. State J.
Med. 70:2, 189, 1970.
Hambidge M. Human zinc deficiency. J Nutr. 2000;130(5S
National Research Council. Recommended Dietary Allowances. 10th ed.
Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1989.
Potts JT. Diseases of the parathyroid gland and other hyper- and hypocalcemic
disorders. In: Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, et al, eds. Harrison's
Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill
Companies Health Professional Division; 1998:2241.
Roe DA. Diet and Drug Interactions. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold,
pp. 85-86, 1989.
Spencer, H. et al. Effect of small amounts of antacids on calcium,
phosphorus, and fluoride metabolism in man. Gastroenterol. 68:990,
Review Date: October 2000
Reviewed By: All depletions monographs have been reviewed by a team of experts including
Derrick M. DeSilva, Jr., MD, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy, NJ;
Jacqueline A. Hart, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley
Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc., Boston,
MA; John Hinze, PharmD, NMD, Woodbine, IA; Ruth Marlin, MD, Medical Director and
Director of Medical Education, Preventive Medicine Research Institute,
Sausalito, CA; Brian T Sanderoff, PD, BS in Pharmacy, Clinical Assistant
Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; President, Your
Prescription for Health, Owings Mills, MD; Leonard Wisneski, MD, FACP, George
Washington University, Rockville, MD; Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA, President and
Chairman, Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative Medicine, Honolulu,
The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of
the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse
of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage
to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or
otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents
of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds
currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a
guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information
provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare
practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts)
regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications
before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed