NutraTalk Blog

Considering Micronutrients While Taking Psychiatric Medications?

Posted on : March 06, 2018 by Hardy Nutritionals® No Comments

It is important to note that nutrient-drug interactions are very common, as potent nutritional formulations such as Daily Essential Nutrients have a tendency to potentiate certain medications, thereby making their effects (and side-effects) stronger in the body.  

Vitamins and minerals (as supplements or food components) are the metabolically active elements of food.  It is well known that food and food components can enhance, delay, or decrease drug absorption and metabolism.  Drug-nutrient interactions should come as no surprise when taking extra micronutrients at the same time as medication.

A classic example of this is the “grapefruit effect”.  Grapefruit contains bioflavonoids, which are fine on their own; but inhibit liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing many types of medications when taken together [1,2] effectively increasing the dose of the drug in the body.  This is why grapefruit is not recommended during a course of psychiatric drugs.grapefruit psychiatric medications interaction dosage

If broad-spectrum micronutrients are able to help the symptoms of mood disorders and ADHD, as well as stress reactions in medical and nonmedical populations, is it not reasonable to assume that micronutrients function through an improvement of general metabolic functioning?  This is consistent with Dr. Bruce Ames’ concept [3,4] of a “metabolic tune-up,” in which biological functions are pervasively enhanced by broad-spectrum micronutrient supplementation.  Such a “metabolic tune-up” may also explain why broad-spectrum micronutrient treatments can amplify the effects of virtually all CNS-active drugs. [5]

Remember, taking any drug is a balancing act when it comes to weighing the benefits against the risks.  The benefit of symptom improvement doesn’t always outweigh the risk of side effects.  For those who prefer a research-backed natural approach, micronutrients are considered safe and effective for adults and children when taken as recommended.

In research studies of unmedicated individuals, Daily Essential Nutrients clinical micronutrients have caused very few side effects.[6] 

Generally, as health improves, the need for psychiatric medication is reduced.  A healthy person typically doesn’t need mental health medications. This is why we recommend slowly reducing psychiatric medications, under the care of a physician.

Altering medication dosages can be complicated and even dangerous in certain situations.  In order to ensure a safe and beneficial medication dose reduction, it is important to follow our guidelines while working with your physician.

In general, the recommended therapeutic dose of Daily Essential Nutrients is 4 capsules three times daily with food. One level scoop of Daily Essential Nutrients Powder is equivalent to 4 DEN capsules.

micronutrients mental health medications psychiatric doseIn published research, both adults and children have responded well when broad-spectrum micronutrient formulas such as Daily Essential Nutrients have been administered at levels comparable to this therapeutic dosage.

Based on clinical experience, young children (generally ages 2-5) diagnosed with psychiatric conditions may require lower doses of Daily Essential Nutrients (often about 4-8 capsules/day).

Maintenance requires an adequate dose of Daily Essential Nutrients that preserves symptom remission.  Optimal maintenance dosage will vary with individual needs.

For additional Daily Essential Nutrients dosage considerations, see our Treatment Guidelines.

If you are looking for a healthcare provider familiar with clinical micronutrients, use our Health Provider locator tool.

[1] Ho PC, Saville DJ, Wanwimolruk S. Inhibition of human CYP3A4 activity by grapefruit flavonoids, furanocoumarins and related compounds. J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2001 Sep-Dec;4(3):217-27. PubMed PMID: 11737987.
[2] Guo LQ, Fukuda K, Ohta T, Yamazoe Y. Role of furanocoumarin derivatives on grapefruit juice-mediated inhibition of human CYP3A activity. Drug Metab Dispos. 2000 Jul;28(7):766-71. PubMed PMID: 10859150.
[3] Ames BN. A role for supplements in optimizing health: the metabolic tune-up. Arch Biochem Biophys 2004;423(1):227–34.
[4] Ames BN. The metabolic tune-up: metabolic harmony and disease prevention. J Nutr 2003;133(5 Suppl 1):1544S–8S.
[5] Popper CW. Single-micronutrient and broad-spectrum micronutrient approaches for treating mood disorders in youth and adults. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2014 Jul;23(3):591-672.
Hardy Nutritionals® multivitamin-mineral products are powered by our proprietary NutraTek™ mineral delivery technology, which combines each mineral with specialized organic molecules—just like nature—to optimize absorption and distribution to body cells. Our flagship supplement, Daily Essential Nutrients, is widely considered to be the most research-backed micronutrient treatment.
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