Steroid Drugs Deplete These Nutrients, Part 2 – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 472

Steroid Drugs Deplete These Nutrients, Part 2 – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 472

steroid drugs

InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.

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Welcome to Part 2 of my episode looking at how steroid drugs, also known as corticosteroids, that are used for inflammation can deplete important nutrients. The steroid drugs have many, many toxicities and side effects that may even be caused or at least aggravated by these depletions. In the first part of this episode, I discussed how steroid drugs like hydrocortisone, Medrol and prednisone can deplete your Vitamin B6 and microbiome and the effects this has on your health.†

Today, I’m going to go a lot further in the nutrients that are depleted by these drugs and use that also as a platform to teach you about these nutrients.†

More nutrients depleted by steroid drugs

In the last episode, we discussed Vitamin A, probiotic bacteria and Vitamin B6. Now we’re going to discuss Vitamin B9, which is more commonly known as folate. Most multivitamins use a synthetic form of folate called folic acid. The problem is that many people have trouble converting that into the active form. If you’re on a drug like prednisone at a high dose for a long time, you really want to make sure that you’re getting the active form of folate called methyltetrahydrofolate, which is why we use this form in our multivitamins. This can help you avoid a lot of the problems with the drug.†


When you intake adequate amounts of folate, there is a reduced risk of dying from a stroke or heart disease and of developing heart failure. Both folate and B6 are depleted by the drugs, so you want to make sure that you’re taking some of these. Folate also reduces homocysteine, which is a byproduct of protein production. Elevated homocysteine chips away at your joint health and that might be one of the reason why steroid drugs are bad for your hip joint. Homocysteine can also contribute to depression and eye disease.†

Vitamin B12 is another nutrient commonly depleted by steroid drugs. I tell people if they’re on these drugs, they need to get methylcobalamin. This is fully activated B12 that is really important for the brain. You need it to make your red blood cells. If you don’t have it, your red blood cells can get really big and they can’t carry oxygen anymore. This is called megaloblastic anemia and can lead to symptoms such as fatigue. You also need B12 to make your nerve cells.†

All of these nutrients are commonly low in older people to begin with and the steroid drugs will only compound this and make it worse. Older people really have to pay attention to this.†

Steroid drugs commonly deplete Vitamin C. Vitamin C is really important for protecting your brain. You also need Vitamin C and Vitamin E to protect your lungs. Vitamin C is also needed to make your hair, skin, nails, bones, joints and brain because you need it to make connective tissue and collagen. Literally, without Vitamin C, you melt. Your hair falls out, your nails fall off and your skin peels off. This is called scurvy. Vitamin C is also needed by the immune system and levels of this nutrient drop in the winter, just when we need it to fight off infections.†


Vitamin D is depleted by steroid drugs, but that’s compounded because Vitamin A also doesn’t work. You need Vitamin D to absorb calcium and help your muscles, nerves and brain function properly. You need Vitamin D to prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome, otherwise you can destroy your lungs.†

In this episode, Jerry Hickey, Ph. concludes his discussion on steroid drugs. He details more nutrients that are depleted by these medications and explains why this interferes with the body’s ability to function properly.†

Key Topics:

  • The role of active folate in protecting the DNA
  • The different forms of Vitamin B12
  • How Vitamin C and Vitamin E work together in the body
  • Additional nutrients depleted by steroid drugs

Thank you for tuning in to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast. You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or by visiting Make sure you subscribe and leave us a review! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at InViteⓇ Health today. We’ll see you next time on another episode of the InViteⓇ Health Podcast.

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