Pharmacist in Action: Vitamins to Keep Patients Healthy

Gunda Siska, PharmD, explains potential vitamins to keep patients healthy.

Gunda Siska, PharmD, explains potential vitamins to keep patients healthy.

Gunda Siska, PharmD: Hi, my name is Gunda Siska, I’m a pharmacist, and a medical writer. I wanted to tell you more about how I stay healthy during the COVID(-19) situation. While researching for a big project, I ran across 4 vitamin deficiencies that are associated with frequent colds and flus. They are vitamins: C1,D2, E3, and zinc4. I also noticed a pattern to taking vitamin supplements. They only worked when a vitamin deficiency is restored normal. If a personal with normal levels takes vitamins to elevate their levels even higher, good things do not happen, and sometimes bad things happen. So, the question is who is at risk of vitamin deficiencies, and who could potentially benefit from taking these supplements?

Risk factors for vitamin deficiencies:

  • People who have conditions involving the gastro-intestinal tract., gastritis, GERD, Swallowing issues, chronic nausea and vomiting, gastroparesis, gastric bypass, Chronic diarrhea for any reason, colitis, and especially celiac disease.
  • People who eat a limited diet. Those living in third world countries, people who are institutionalized, picky eaters, vegans, vegetarians, long term ketogenetic dieters, people with anorexia or an eating disorder.
  • People with genetic defects usually involving their biochemistry pathways. We cannot see these defects and are still discovering more about it. But 60 percent of people with sickle cell anemia also have a zinc deficiency. There are also phenotypes involving vitamin C, and D.
  • People with frequent exposure to toxins/chemicals. The US Task Force (Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies (formerly National Academy of Sciences) said that smokers have lower levels of vitamin C and should be taking a supplement. People who drink alcohol frequently often have multiple deficiencies, particularly B vitamins. People can have drug induced vitamin deficiencies from prescription drugs.

I hope this information was helpful. Thank you for watching, and I’m wishing you all the best.

References:

  • National Institute of Health. Vitamin C and smokers. NIH website. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  • Siska G. Vitamin D Helps the Immune System During Cold and Flu Season. Pharmacy Times. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/vitamin-d-helps-the-immune-system-during-cold-and-flu-season. Published September 20, 2019. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  • Siska G. Vitamin E to Fortify the Immune System During Cold and Flu Season. Pharmacy Times. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/gunda-siska-pharmd/2019/08/vitamin-e-to-fortify-the-immune-system-during-cold-and-flu-season. Published August 28, 2019. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  • National Institute of Health. Zinc. NIH website. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/. Accessed March 29, 2020.