B vitamins are your best protection against elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid produced in the body that in excess, can increase your risk of mood disorders, poor mental performance, and Alzheimer’s disease.

A wide range of drugs, from aspirin to estrogen to diuretics to stomach acid suppressors (such as Nexium and Prilosec) can interfere with the metabolism of one or more B vitamins, which can result in elevated levels of homocysteine.You who are worried about preserving your brain power, take note: medical research now clearly links poor performance on mental function tests to elevated homocysteine levels. Having too much of this amino acid floating around your bloodstream can cost you a few IQ points! B vitamins are also critical for mood and concentration, and a severe deficiency in B vitamins (especially vitamin B12) can result in symptoms such as severe confusion and mental fog at any age. Elevated levels of homocysteine and/or low levels of B vitamins can also increase the risk of depression, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. If you are using a drug that depletes your body of B vitamins, you must take supplemental B vitamins daily and demand to have your homocysteine levels checked periodically by your doctor.

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You will notice that the most widely prescribed drug for Parkinson’s disease, the generic drugs carbidopa and levodopa, two drugs marketed under the name Sinemet, can raise homocysteine levels! This probably explains why Parkinson’s patients are at much higher risk of having a stroke. Sinemet is an effective drug for relieving the symptoms of Parkinson’s, and I use it in my practice. Given the fact that elevated homocysteine is linked to poor cognitive performance in older people and increased inflammation, I am very careful to regularly monitor homocysteine levels for patients on this drug and to tailor my recommendations for B vitamin supplementation based on their results.

A word about NSAIDs: these drugs, such as the prescription drug Celebrex and the numerous over-the-counter brands of ibuprofen and naproxen, are commonly used to treat the aches and pains associated with arthritis. Some studies have shown that the long-term effects of anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This is not surprising, considering the fact that inflammation is a major contributor to these problems, and anything that helps to reduce inflammation is helpful. The downside is that these drugs have the potential to raise homocysteine levels, which could aggravate neurological problems in susceptible people. Why risk it? Anyone who takes these drugs daily should also take supplementary B vitamins daily.

If you are taking a drug that destroys B vitamins, you must compensate by taking supplemental B vitamins. Review the list that follows to see if you are taking any drug that depletes B vitamins. Please note that, given the hundreds of drugs on the market, I could not include every possible drug. As you review the list, however, you will see that entire categories of drugs may deplete the body of B vitamins. For example, even if you don’t see your particular estrogen drug on the list, assume that it works just like other estrogens and that you need to compensate for the loss of B vitamins by taking B complex daily. The same recommendation holds true for other categories of drugs—even if you don’t see your particular name brand, if you are taking a category of drug that can cause nutrient depletion, it is wise to take the appropriate supplements.

Pain Relievers

Generic name: Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). brand names: Pure aspirin is sold under numerous brand names, including many private store labels. Percodan and Empirin are combination aspirin and codeine products.


Generic name: Trimethoprim: antibiotic frequently prescribed for chronic
urinary tract infections. brand names: Bactrim, Septra.

Antacid and Stomach Acid Suppressors

Generic name: Cimetidine. brand name: Tagamet
Generic name: Famotidine. brand name: Pepcid
Generic name: Ranitidine. brand names: Zantac, Zantac 75
Generic name: Lansoprazole. brand name: Prevacid


Antidiabetic Drugs

Asthma Drugs

Blood Pressure–Lowering Drugs

Anticonvulsant Drugs

Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Sources And Citations:

1. Better Brain Book By  David Perlmutter

2. http://www.drperlmutter.com