medications low vitamin d

Can Medications Cause Low Vitamin D?

Low In Vitamin D? Your Prescription Medications Could Be To Blame

Vitamin D is vitally important for health and wellness. Unfortunately, low vitamin D is a common problem that is made worse by prescription medications.

Everyone should be keeping tabs on their vitamin D level because surveys suggest that as much as 75 percent of the general population is deficient in vitamin D. That number is much higher in older people, and it’s practically a given that is you take prescription medications, you'll be deficient in vitamin D.

For instance, a Danish study found that out of 1,300 people who used one or more medication, 48 percent were vitamin D deficient with a level below 20 ng/ml. People who were between age 55 and 65 and took at least one prescription drug had a vitamin D level that was 1.7 ng/ml lower than those who took none. People over 65 who took medications had vitamin D that was 3.1 ng/ml lower than those who took none.

Watch Out For Heart, Asthma, Diabetes & Pain Meds

Subjects who took drugs for asthma, cardiovascular function, diabetes, or pain had the lowest vitamin D levels.

The greatest effect on vitamin D was in subjects who took calcium-channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, and glucose lowering drugs. Asthma medicine and proton pump inhibitors were also linked with lower vitamin D. The lowest vitamin D levels were found in people who took more than four medications, indicating a compounding effect.

Researchers think vitamin D is lower in medication users because of the three following effects:

  1. The mediation causes lower vitamin D,
  2. Chronic diseases contribute to lower levels
  3. Vitamin D deficiency causes chronic disease.
Vitamin D Deficiency & Inflammation

Another factor contributing to the link between medication and disease is that low vitamin D causes insulin resistance and inflammation in the body. Many of the medications have been shown to acutely alter insulin sensitivity and cause oxidative stress that leads to the build up of inflammation.

Check Your Vitamin D Level Regularly

Everyone should check vitamin D status annually but it's especially important if you take prescription medications. Be aware that the following things significantly increase your risk of being deficient:

  • Having dark skin. People with dark pigmentation do not make vitamin D in response to sunlight to the same degree as those with light skin.
  • Wearing sunscreen and sunglasses in the sun impair the body’s ability to make vitamin D.
  • Being older—over 55 years old.
  • Taking one or more prescription medication. Taking an NSAID like Ibuprofen or Tylenol may also lead to lower vitamin D.
  • If you are overweight, your are much more likely to be vitamin D deficient.
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