Antidepressants are one of the most prescribed medications out there. But how much do you know about the side effects of antidepressants?

One in six Americans takes antidepressants or other psychiatric medications, most of them (84.3%) on a long-term basis. (1) This is especially concerning when using addictive drugs like Valium and Xanax. (2) That number is more than double what it was in 1999.

Many who take prescription drugs take more than one. In fact, 20% are on five or more. (3) That’s because sometimes one antidepressant doesn’t work as expected. Hence, “polypharmacy” is the recent trend in Psychiatry. (45) These trends are occurring everywhere in the industrialized world. (67) Doctors are handing out prescriptions like candy on Halloween.

The Side Effects of Antidepressants

Your doctor probably didn’t tell you about a potentially serious side effect of antidepressant use that’s not written on the drug pamphlet.

As with any pharmaceutical, antidepressants don’t cure the problem—they only mask the symptoms by synthetically altering brain chemical balances.

Many drugs are “new-to-nature” molecules, meaning that they don’t exist in nature but were created in a laboratory. (8) In the process of manipulating bodily processes, they affect other (natural) chemical processes.

Every prescription drug comes with a list of possible side effects. Excluded from the list is the nutrient deficiencies they cause.

side effects of antidepressants

Losing nutrients to the point of deficiency can lead to other problems. Ironically, some of them contribute to anxiety and depression.

This is why some people feel worse after starting an antidepressant prescription, for which their doctor may prescribe more than one kind of antidepressant drug at a time.

Drug-induced nutrient depletion can result when taking antidepressants.

Symptoms of nutrient deficiency may go misdiagnosed while taking medication as either a side effect of the drug or a different physical problem (for which you may be prescribed another drug, worsening the whole situation).

Additionally, deficiency may take a while to occur, so its symptoms aren’t immediately associated with the drug.

Knowing what to watch out for will help you to prevent or address any possible nutrient deficiency.

3The Real Truth: Antidepressants Actually Deplete These 3 Crucial Nutrients for the Brain

3 Nutrients Depleted by Antidepressants

It’s time to rethink your prescription.

Coenzyme Q10 (abbreviated to CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone) is a vital enzyme that mitochondria use to convert oxygen and nutrients into energy.

In addition, CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant in cell membranes and lipoproteins—so important for reducing oxidative stress and consequential inflammation in the body. (9)

Tricyclic antidepressants can cause a deficiency of this enzyme and vitamin B2. (10)

Symptoms include muscular fatigue, problems with mucous membranes of the eyes and nose, impeded nervous system (including brain) function, involuntary muscle contractions, vision loss, hearing loss, seizures, decreased muscle tone, and kidney and heart dysfunction. (1112)

The supreme irony of CoQ10 deficiency resulting from antidepressant drugs is that CoQ10 itself is an antidepressant. (1314)

Foods with significant CoQ10 include meat and fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts).