Antibiotic medications - aminoglycosides
Osteoporosis (bone loss) is the main disease associated with not getting enough calcium. Lack of calcium may be associated with bone pain and spinal problems. Low levels of calcium can also cause:
- Muscle cramps
- Irregular heartbeat
Low levels of iron may lead to anemia and a weakened immune system. Symptoms of anemia include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin color
- Sometimes an irregular heartbeat
Magnesium deficiency also affects calcium and vitamin D levels in the body. It may be associated with:
- Muscle cramps
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
Not having enough nitrogen may make it hard for your body to form protein, which could lead to:
- Stunted growth
- Poor muscle development or loss of muscle mass
- Being more prone to infection, weakness, and slower wound healing
Symptoms of potassium deficiency include:
- Loss of appetite
- Feelings of apprehension, fatigue, muscle pain, and weakness (usually of the legs)
Severe deficiency may lead to irregular heartbeat.
Probiotics, or "good" bacteria, live in the gut and help your body maintain intestinal health. When the number of these organisms (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum) goes down, your body may not be as able to resist infections and diseases. Symptoms of deficiency include:
- Yeast infections
Much of our food has salt in it. So it is very rare to have low levels of sodium. In the rare cases where it does happen, low levels have been associated with:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory problems
- Diminished attention
- Muscle weakness
- Heart palpitations
Extreme deficiency can cause stupor, seizures, and possibly coma. How symptoms develop depends mostly on how fast the body loses sodium.
Vitamin A (Retinol)
One of the earliest symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. If low levels continue, there could be more changes in eye tissues and development of eye problems. Other potential signs of mild-to-moderate vitamin A deficiency include:
- Rough or dry skin
- Loss of appetite
- Dull hair
- Brittle nails
- Joint pain
- Possibly an increased risk of infection
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Noticeable symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Personality changes
Low levels of vitamin B12 may also be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, brain problems, and birth defects.
Vitamin K helps blood clot. So the major symptom of deficiency is that blood can't clot as it should. This may lead to excessive bleeding and a tendency to bruise easily.
The information presented here covers some of the nutrients that may be depleted when you take certain medications. If you have these signs and symptoms, it doesn't necessarily mean you have low levels of these nutrients. Many factors affect the level of nutrients, including your medical history, diet, and lifestyle, as well as how long you have been taking the medication. Talk to your health care provider. They can best address your health care needs and see if you are at risk for low levels of any nutrients.
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- Last reviewed on 1/1/2017
- Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed HealthCare Network. Also reviewed by the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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