Ask the Pharmacist: How certain medications increase lung complications

Suzy Cohen

The worldwide pandemic has caused enormous public health problems and substantial mortality, so it is important that vulnerable groups of people know the information that I’m sharing today. 

Certain medications increase lung complications.

If you’ve followed my life’s work, you know that one of my passions is the phenomena of drug nutrient depletion. This describes how medications rob the body of essential nutrients via their mechanism of action. It’s something I call the “drug mugger” effect, and I have a book by the same name.

The classic example that everyone understands is with antibiotics. These drugs will rob the body of essential microflora in the intestines because they cannot discriminate between good “bugs” and bad ones. Another classic example is with oral contraceptives which mug you of various B vitamins and minerals, leading to a higher risk of hypothyroidism.

Today’s article is to explain the relationship between certain prescribed medications and complications that arise from the depletion of essential nutrients. That said, you should never discontinue a medication simply because it is suppressing a particular nutrient.

Instead, you should install a security system in your body by simply taking the nutrients that are being mugged. This allows you to remain on your medication, while mitigating side effects that would have occurred if you didn’t restore the nutrients being stolen.

You may not realize this, but two categories of medication can suppress zinc in the human body. Those include the antihypertensives which lower blood pressure, and the acid-reducing medications for heartburn.

These and other medications can negatively influence the status of zinc in your body which participates in hundreds of important metabolic reactions including those which allow you to hear well, have lovely skin, and improve fertility. When zinc levels decline it impairs one’s immunity and lowers your resistance to pathogens.

Zinc deficiencies also suppress your ability to do good cellular housekeeping because you can’t effectively make glutathione anymore in your liver. Foods that are rich in zinc include beef, dairy, oysters, seafood, whole grains and nuts/seeds.

Several other micronutrients are important, and these include vitamin D, vitamin C and probiotics. Malnutrition, medications and/or a diet consisting of nutritionally naked foods will lead to deficiencies in all of these.

Medications which impact levels of the nutrients are vast, too many to list here. Here are the most important and surprising categories of medications that reduce micronutrients. I’ve also included a few lifestyle factors that you can control:

  • Zinc: Acid blockers, antihypertensives, corticosteroids, excessive calcium, coffee and smoking.
  • Vitamin D: Antacids, cholesterol binders, anticonvulsants, kidney damage and lack of sunlight.
  • Vitamin C: Anti-hypertensives, aspirin, corticosteroids, hormones and SERMS.
  • Probiotics: Antibiotics, estrogen containing drugs, acid blockers and NSAIDs.

For a comprehensive list of each nutrient, and all the drug muggers, please refer to my book by the same name. It is sold nationwide at bookstores, as well as Amazon. If you’d like to read the longer version of this article, I’m happy to email it to you, just sign up for my free newsletter at

More:Ask the Pharmacist: Natural treatment options for occasional anxiety

And:Ask the Pharmacist: Get control of headaches once and for all

Also:Ask the Pharmacist: Help for Hashimoto’s disease

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit