Many people in their senior years feel their immune system just isn’t up to snuff!
They feel low energy and notice that they get colds more often. They chalk it up to aging when in fact it could be caused by blood pressure meds that are responsible for nutrient depletion. Let me explain.
As a pharmacist I learned how medications like lisinopril or enalapril known as ACE-Inhibitors work. ACE is short for angiotensin converting enzyme. They work with the kidneys to allow more fluid to leave the body thus lowering blood volume and how hard the heart has to pump. When tolerated it works great for lowering blood pressure. And people typically take it for years- and it’s a very prevalent prescription for the African American population because they are genetically prone to high blood pressure. ACE-Inhibitors have been shown in addition to calcium channel blockers (amlodipine) to lower the stroke risk in African Americans as well.
However, when people have been taking this kind of medication long term it starts stealing the same nutrient required by immune cell production to fight off foreign invaders like viruses.
As a pharmacist myself, I typically warn patients about the potential side-effects like a dry cough which could mean they need to switch up the kind of blood pressure meds they are on. However many pharmacists and even doctors don’t know about the other additional, annoying side-effects which relates to how ACE inhibitors impact the mineral levels in our bodies.
One of the most important minerals and essential nutrients that blood pressure meds can deplete is zinc.
And there is a correlation between taking blood pressure meds long-term and having altered taste or being more susceptible to colds– both caused by zinc deficiencies. Zinc is an important mineral in the body for a number of crucial processes.
Like being able to taste their food, keeping their hair, and putting on muscle. All of these processes require ample stores of zinc.
Zinc plays a crucial role in utilizing testosterone. Without zinc, testosterone can’t be used effectively.
Zinc also works as a natural anti-inflammatory and that’s why they often use it topically and for babies when they have diaper rash. When you use zinc as a nutrient internally, inside the body, this helps to stop processes that would otherwise cause inflammation. But it also helps growth like in the case of new skin cells and hair. But I tell people who come into the pharmacy not to worry if they have hair loss or it seems like food hasn’t tasted good in years, there is a simple solution for both! Yes, all that is needed is…. to replenish zinc levels!
People with low zinc levels may also be struggling with thyroid health since zinc is needed for proper thyroid function. Without zinc we can’t convert the inactive form of thyroid hormone T4 to the active kind T3 so when people complain of feeling tired this may be one of the reasons why.
Zinc is also connected to eye health and is used as an antioxidant in the body for eye health and helps with vision changes in preventing macular degeneration. So there are a lot of things that zinc is really, really important for and many of the symptoms that people blame aging on could just be low zinc levels.
This is why it’s important to connect with a pharmacist who can help make the connection between something like a zinc deficiency while on blood pressure meds.
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