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The Baltimore Sun

Keep an Eye Out for Drug Muggers

Dear Pharmacist

Dear Pharmacist: I bought your "Drug Muggers" book and learned that coffee is stealing iron from my body. I've had chronic fatigue for years, and now that I'm supplementing with the iron, I'm feeling MUCH better, so thank you! I'm not giving up coffee though. Would you be willing to share more drug muggers? — K.M., Kansas City, Kan.

Dear K.M.: Yes, of course. The drug mugging effect can explain everything from nagging aches to life-threatening diseases. Replenishing the missing nutrient(s) might be just what the doctor should have ordered! Here are some common "diseases" that might be due to the drug mugging effect.

Depression, osteoporosis or irregular heartbeat. These could be caused by a deficiency of the mineral magnesium. Common drug muggers include female hormones, diuretics, raloxifene, tea/coffee, anti-inflammatories and aspirin.

Bald patches, loss of taste/smell, erectile dysfunction or chronic diarrhea. These might be from zinc deficiency. Common drug muggers are anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, antacids, ulcer/heartburn meds, diuretics and estrogen drugs used for birth control and menopause.

Leg cramps, muscle spasms, memory loss or fatigue. May be from a deficiency of CoQ10 (ubiquinol). This life-sustaining antioxidant gets demolished by hundreds of medications, including statin cholesterol drugs, metformin, antidepressants, beta blockers and diuretics.

Cell damage, high homocysteine, cataracts, macular degeneration, liver problems. These could be tied to low glutathione, a powerful antioxidant needed to detoxify poisons in your body. Acetaminophen is a possible drug mugger of glutathione.

Pins and needles nerve pain, depression, fatigue, anemia, weight gain. These could be related to a deficiency of B vitamins. Your stash gets depleted by female hormones (menopause and birth control), antacids, ulcer meds, diuretics, raloxifene, cholestyramine, diabetic drugs, tea/coffee.

If you just read this and said, "Aha!" then get approval from your doctor to supplement, or order micronutrient testing. For pennies a day, you can get your life back.

This information is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Visit

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