I recently came across a website that is baby-simple to navigate, serves up focused results, and is a fabulous resource – especially if you’re taking any kind of medication. The site is mytavin.com (to pronounce it, think vitamin (said the American way), but swap the m and v). The site came into being after its author, Dr. Jeffrey Gladd MD, learned of drug-induced vitamin and mineral deficiency.
More than half of all Americans take medication. The same medications that can help treat symptoms can also deplete your body of necessary nutrients. The nutrient loss itself causes more symptoms. Rather than treat these secondary symptoms with yet more medications, the mytavin.com website gives you the information you can use to help prevent them in the first place.
Let’s say you’ve been taking Nexium for several years to help control acid reflux. Although the drug has controlled the reflux, you’re now experiencing extreme fatigue, restless leg syndrome, and heart palpitations. Another trip to the doctor’s office could see you going home with another three prescriptions. But by using the mytavin website, you would see that these symptoms can be caused by deficiencies in B12, magnesium, and iron, caused by the drug. So, armed with that knowledge, you can support your body’s needs and counteract the deficiencies caused by long term drug use.
How to use the site
The main page of mytavin.com gives you two ways to identify nutrients that you might need to supplement. You can search for the medications you’re taking, or you can search for the symptoms you’re experiencing. I love that the site is really straightforward – in either case, you’ll see a list of nutrients that you might need to supplement. Remember, as the website says “The Mytavin calculator helps inform users of potential nutrient deficiencies. The results are not guarantees of deficiencies.” Be smart and don’t just load up on supplements, thinking that more must be better; it isn’t necessarily the case. You want your levels to be where they’re supposed to be – not too high and not too low. If you have symptoms, consider working with a nutritionist or a healthcare professional who is familiar with vitamins, minerals, and the best forms of supplements to use, etc.
Search by medication
You can enter one or more medications, then click the “calculate” button. Based on the example medications I entered below, you’ll see the results page populated as shown.
I don’t know how many medications the search can handle at one time, but I entered 11 and the search seemed to work without any problem. The mytavin.com database doesn’t contain every possible medication; if the one of interest to you isn’t included, you can send email to the mytavin team (go to the Contact us > Medication not there link that is included on the website’s pages).
Search by symptom
This search option is great even for those people who aren’t taking any medication. The results can give you an idea of how to supplement your diet to mitigate symptoms you’re experiencing, whether caused by drug depletion or not.
Now let’s say that you’ve started experiencing restless leg syndrome, fatigue, and have developed hypertension.
Type the symptoms into the fields, as shown below, and click the “calculate” button to see the results:
Regardless of whether you search by medication or by symptom, the results page will identify the possibly depleted nutrients. In some cases, you can click on “more” to see more symptoms of deficiency. Each entry is supported by a reference to a supporting study – this is an evidence-based website.
On each tabbed page, there are links that tell you more about the site, its authors, and contact information. There is also a link to information that describes which food sources can help support the potential loss of nutrients. (Look for Nutrient depletion > Food sources). This is a really valuable set of pages, and is organized alphabetically. (This is probably my one minor gripe about the website: to see the nutrients, you have to scroll through the list three entries at a time; I would have liked a more direct way to see the nutrient of interest.)
All in all, this is an excellent website that can provide critical information to help you feel well and minimize any drug-induced depletion of crucial vitamin and minerals.