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Is Candy Craving Due To Deficiency?

Posting Date: 12/13/2004

Q. In the last 4 years I have had 2 children. During both pregnancies I craved mint sweets (Humbugs or Evertons). I could not get enough of them and in the final months more or less ate nothing else as I couldn't face anything but the mints. My second son is now 8 months old. I am NOT pregnant again, but my mint cravings are back with a vengeance.

Within a couple of weeks after giving birth both times, the thought of eating mints made me want to vomit. Why do I crave mint, pregnant or not? I have never had any other cravings.

A. Although Humbugs and Evertons are not household names in the U.S., they are popular mint candies in Great Britain. We urge you to see your physician to have your iron and zinc levels tested. Deficiencies in these nutrients may trigger urges to eat non-food substances like ice chips, laundry starch or clay.

Even though mints are food, your unusual craving might signal that you are lacking one of these minerals. Correcting the deficiency may vanquish the craving.

Q. My husband has been taking Prilosec OTC for heartburn. Lately he has not been able to find it on the shelves. The last pharmacy he went to told him that it's so popular that you now need a prescription for it. Huh? Why would you need a prescription for an OTC drug?

A. Prilosec was once the most successful prescription heartburn medicine in the world. When the drug lost patent protection, it became available over the counter.

We checked with Procter & Gamble, and the manufacturer told us that demand has outstripped expectations. This explains why Prilosec OTC has been hard to find. The company anticipates adequate supplies by January.

If you husband can?t wait that long, he probably could get this acid suppressor by prescription. It is sold by the brand name Prilosec or the generic omeprazole.

Q. I read with interest a question from a man experiencing delayed ejaculation while taking Effexor. I am a 60-year-old male being treated for depression, and I had similar problems with Zoloft.