Vitamins are organic compounds necessary for various metabolic processes in the body. They are needed in small amounts to perform a specific metabolic function or prevent an associated deficiency disease. Most vitamins cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied through the diet. Consult your physician prior to taking any supplement.
Prednisone is a corticosteroid used to treat a variety of ailments. Corticosteroids mimic the effect of the adrenal hormones the body naturally produces. When taken in doses higher than the body produces, corticosteroids can suppress inflammation alleviating symptoms of arthritis and asthma as well as suppressing the immune system. Traditionally prednisone usages include arthritis, asthma, severe allergic reactions, multiple sclerosis, lupus, certain cancers and diseases that affect the lungs, skin, eyes, kidneys, blood, thyroid, stomach and intestines.
Side Effects of Prednisone
The variety of side effects of prednisone matches the extensive ailments it is used to treat. Side effects include headaches, dizziness, extreme changes in mood and personality, thin and fragile skin, difficulty sleeping, slow healing of wounds, bulging eyes and red or purple blotches under the skin. Severe side effects include depression, vision problems, excessive weight gain, numbness, burning, and tingling in the face and limbs, seizures, loss of touch with reality, difficulty breathing and swallowing and swelling in the head and limbs.
Corticosteroids in general can decrease the amounts of certain vitamins in the body and supplementation may be required to prevent deficiencies. The B vitamins folic acid, B6 and B12 have an increased loss from the body in the presence of prednisone. Folic acid plays a role in cell division and can decrease the risk of heart attacks and birth defects. Vitamin B6 primarily functions in heart disease prevention. Vitamin B12 primarily functions in prevention of pernicious anemia and may be needed for potassium deficiencies. Corticosteroids impair wound healing. According to COPD International, 80 percent of subjects receiving vitamin A supplementation experienced improved wound healing while on the medication. However, vitamin A might reverse the benefits of corticosteroids. Corticosteroids cause a reduction in the body's ability to activate vitamin D, resulting in increased risk for bone loss and cataracts.
In addition to vitamins, corticosteroids can deplete vital minerals in the body. Potassium plays a role in sodium balance, blood pressure control and hypertension. Calcium functions in bone mineralization and maintaining an alkaline environment. Selenium, sodium and zinc can be depleted while taking a corticosteroid like prednisone. Consult your physician prior to starting a mineral supplementation.