It’s always curious to me that conventional medicine often distrusts the tests I routinely prescribe to my patients — and worse, that insurance companies won’t pay for many of them. But eventually, the rest of the world catches up.
It may take decades, but I’m always vindicated in the end… And more importantly, I know how many lives I’ve saved by going against the grain and thinking outside the box.
But my profession tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to more than just testing. It happens with supplements, too — all the time. And the topic I’d like to discuss today is another perfect example of the mainstream finally starting to come around to my way of thinking.
More specifically, I want to talk about the relationship between homocysteine levels and vitamin B12 status.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because I’ve written about it here before. (And if you’re a patient of mine, you’ve certainly had comprehensive testing for both levels.) But today, I want to tell you about some new research on the subject…
According to the results of a recent study, Swedish researchers found that people with high levels of homocysteine suffer a faster rate of age-related brain shrinkage. People with high levels of vitamin B12, on the other hand, appear to benefit from more youthful brains.
Of course, this discovery has a simple explanation. Optimal B12 lowers homocysteine.
When something as simple as a B vitamin could help to preserve your brain, wouldn’t you take it? Wouldn’t you want your doctor to recommend it? If you ask me, this is a great opportunity for mainstream medicine to gain new insights into affordable, effective ways to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in a rapidly aging population.
Yet, this new study has been met with nothing but stubborn protests that “the effect is modest.”
To which I reply, “Yes, and your point is?”
Aricept and Namenda produce “modest, at best,” effects on brain and cognitive function — with many more side effects than a simple B vitamin. Yet doctors are handing out prescriptions for these drugs like they’re candy.
It’s shameful. Especially when you consider that this is hardly the first study to show an association between B vitamins and brain health.
Another study called VITACOG looked at nearly 300 subjects over 70 — all of whom had mild cognitive impairment, and received high doses of B-vitamins (including folic acid, B6, and B12).
Unsurprisingly, patients taking the B vitamins showed a much slower rate of brain atrophy over the course of two years — especially if they had high homocysteine levels. This is a clear example of the benefit of testing both homocysteine and B vitamin levels in patients facing cognitive decline.
Yet, I just saw a patient with dementia whose primary care physician put her on Aricept without even doing a clinical work-up.
As I mentioned above, I test every patient’s B vitamin and homocysteine levels. Unfortunately, insurance companies and Medicare won’t always pay for these tests. Which means doctors may not always order them.
The good news is, if your doctor won’t order these tests for you, you can order them yourself through a company called Direct Labs. Just visit their website at www.DirectLabs.com/OVH1. Or call 1-800-908-0000 and reference account code: R-OVH.
It’s a shame that doctors resist doing tests that offer such valuable insight into your health. And even worse that they ignore the simple, natural approaches that can make such a big difference. But unfortunately, the wheels of change turn slowly. So stick with me, and you will be sure to hear the truth — every time.
And in the meantime, now you have a little something to pass along to the next doctor who says supplements do nothing for you.