Are These 6 Meds Stealing Your Memory?

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Medications can help us in many ways. They provide needed support in our bodies and brains for a wide array of physical and mental health conditions. In fact, about half of all American adults are on at least one long-term prescription medication.

While modern medicine can work wonders for those who need it, did you know that many common medications can adversely impact your memory by lowering blood flow in the brain or depleting important nutrients that are vital for healthy brain function?

Many common medications can lead to memory problems by depleting important nutrients or lowering blood flow to the brain. Click To Tweet

While the following list isn’t exhaustive—some mood meds, general anesthesia, and chemo can affect brain function too—take a look at these 6 common medication categories to see if any of them might be hurting your memory:

6 Medications That May Be Hurting Your Memory

1. Benzodiazepines

Short-term use of medications, such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and clonazepam (Klonopin) for treating anxiety can be effective in acute situations because of their calming and sedating effects on the brain. However, prolonged use of benzos like these can lead to confusion and memory loss, along with a host of other problems.

2. Sedative-Hypnotics

Sleep aids like zolpidem (Ambien) and eszopiclone (Lunesta) are typically taken as needed for insomnia. But as with benzodiazepines, the prolonged use of these meds can cause cognitive issues such as memory problems and difficulty with concentration.

3. Opiates

Ideally used only for short-term management of pain after an injury or surgery, these highly addictive meds—Oxycontin and Vicodin are among the more common—can wreak havoc on your body and brain when taken for a long time. In particular, they cause memory impairment and problems with executive functioning.

4. Statins

The most commonly prescribed medications taken by American adults are statins, which are used for lowering cholesterol levels that are deemed too high and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. While many people must take them for health reasons, statins are notorious for depleting co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is essential for heart and mitochondrial function (mitochondria are the powerhouses in all of our cells). CoQ10 is necessary for protecting our brains from oxidative stress which can lead to brain disease.

5. Beta Blockers

If you have high blood pressure, you may be taking a beta-blocker such as atenolol or metoprolol to help lower your blood pressure. These meds also can reduce levels of the critical nutrient CoQ10. A 2014 research study published in the medical journal, Atherosclerosis, found that lower blood levels of CoQ10 were associated with an increased risk of dementia.

6. Diabetes Medications

Glucophage or Metformin are usually prescribed for insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. These medications help reduce the high blood sugar levels that are so dangerous to your overall health. The downside is they can also deplete CoQ10 as well as vitamin B12 and folic acid while increasing levels of homocysteine, an amino acid known for its adverse impact on health. Read on to learn more about why this is so important!

B Vitamins and Mild Cognitive Impairment

The University of Oxford conducted an interesting study on the impact certain B vitamins have on participants who had some memory problems and mild cognitive impairment. At the end of the 2-year study, the subjects who were given the vitamins B6, B12, and folate had notably less brain atrophy (shrinkage) AND lower blood levels of homocysteine compared to the placebo group. The added importance of this is that higher levels of homocysteine are associated with inflammation, hardening of the arteries, blood clots, stroke, and dementia.

Your Brain and Memory Can Get Better!

Even if you’re taking these or other medications that make you feel foggy and affect your memory, there are ways you can support and improve your brain function.

Here are 3 quick tips to help you get started:

  1. Brain-healthy diet changes: Eliminate sugar (including artificial sweeteners) along with processed and fried foods.
  2. Daily exercise: Whether it’s walking, lifting weights, or dancing, exercise boosts blood flow to your brain—and entire body!
  3. Dietary supplements to support brain function: B vitamins, curcumins, phosphatidylserine, ginkgo biloba, among others may be helpful. Be sure to check with your doctor first to ensure they won’t interfere with your medications.

Your brain is precious and is the organ of YOU. Taking care of your brain to make it as strong as possible—for as long as possible—is the ticket for protecting your memory.

Memory issues, brain fog, and fuzzy thinking can’t wait. Amen Clinics has created a proven Memory Rescue Program that can help you address your risk factors, train your brain, and improve your memory.

We are available for in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

32 Comments

  1. I take a B complex and B 12 plus a. Co.pldtd multivitiamin is this to much.

    Comment by Linda Nichols — March 26, 2021 @ 3:21 AM

  2. Too bad the worst of the drugs didn’t make that list. Please add anti-psychotics and bi-polar medications as they are undoubtedly the world’s worst drugs with zero to no proof of how they actually work or if they even do other than frying your brain.

    Comment by Marty Robinson — March 26, 2021 @ 3:36 AM

  3. I hope to someday be evaluated by Dr Amen. He’s brilliant& seems very kind. Be well.

    Comment by Shivaun Sweet — March 26, 2021 @ 3:56 AM

  4. This is very informative.

    Comment by Jacquelyn Tippett — March 26, 2021 @ 5:14 AM

  5. I love the way you get right to the meat! Some go on and on and have to tell their life stories until they hit you with the product! THANKYOU!

    Comment by Gloria M House — March 26, 2021 @ 5:20 AM

  6. I had a brain scan about 10 years ago. I would like another. Is there a discount for the second? And what does it include?

    Comment by Linda Steves — March 26, 2021 @ 6:25 AM

  7. We take your Brain and Body Power Max formula, which has certainly helped keep up healthy. We have even had many compliments about our clear minds and our great health. You talked about the CoQ10. I do not find it listed on the box. Does this need to be purchased separately?

    Comment by Jane — March 26, 2021 @ 6:26 AM

  8. I am 61 years old and I have notice some forgetful moments I do take 40 mil of Lipitor and I been taken it far about 15 years as I take Paxil 40milg ,I really would like to get checked out but not sure I would be able to afford it .. I’m concerned and would love to see dr a ebb pls work with me , Thank you so much

    Comment by Katherine Walters — March 26, 2021 @ 6:26 AM

  9. Very good information

    Comment by Eva Klier — March 26, 2021 @ 7:36 AM

  10. Hello Shivaun, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment at one of our clinics. We look forwarding to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 26, 2021 @ 9:45 AM

  11. Hello Katherine, thank you for reaching out. We’d be more than happy to contact you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you soon

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 26, 2021 @ 9:48 AM

  12. I’d like to have the scan with an evaluation but live in central Florida where no clinic is located. I am a 32 yr retired combat vet and wondering if this is covered by either the VA or Tricare.
    Definitely need the evaluation with current state.
    Thank you for any information.
    Richard L. Ridler.

    Comment by Rich Ridler — March 26, 2021 @ 10:29 AM

  13. our son is 42. which supplements can we use for schizophrenia patients. thank you

    Comment by raj — March 26, 2021 @ 10:39 AM

  14. Thank you Dr. Amen.
    I have your book, slowly digesting the wealth of information. I follow you on Instagram too. I wish I could get evaluated by You at your clinic. I watched you with your results with Laura Clary and her husband Steven. I suffered a quite a fall on my head when I was young. I can’t remember anything about my childhood , very little and I wonder if that is it?
    Thank you for all you do for the community of living the best life we can.

    Comment by Gina Santacroce — March 26, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

  15. Hello Richard, thanks for reaching out. We’d be more than happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment and answer any questions about insurance you may have. We look forward to speaking with you soon

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 26, 2021 @ 11:34 AM

  16. Hello Gina, thank you for reaching out. Due to his writing, research, and teaching duties, Dr. Daniel Amen has very limited clinical time. However, all of our physicians have been personally trained by Dr. Amen with The Amen Clinics Method. We’d be more than happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment at one of our clinics. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 26, 2021 @ 11:37 AM

  17. Hello Raj, thank you for reaching out. For more information about BrainMD supplements, please contact BrainMD here: https://brainmd.com/contact. If you’d like a consultation or evaluation with our Amen Clinics psychiatrists for best treatment options, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 26, 2021 @ 1:20 PM

  18. Hello Jane, thank you for reaching out. For questions or more information about BrainMD supplements, please contact BrainMD here: https://brainmd.com/contact.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 26, 2021 @ 1:20 PM

  19. Hello Linda, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly about getting a re-SPECT scan (a follow-up scan). We look forward to speaking with you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 26, 2021 @ 1:22 PM

  20. My mom is 81 years old. She’s diabetic. She has high blood pressure, cholesterol. She had 5 surgeries. Her toe was amputated. She’s always forgetting things. I’m very worried about her.

    Comment by Sylvia Castillo — March 27, 2021 @ 4:47 AM

  21. Many people do not understand the detrimental effects of pharmaceuticals on their bodies. This article touches a few of the important points. Dr Amen has many other informative pieces that I’ve read about the importance of nutrition and supplements to help the body heal itself.

    Oh, a the brain scan and evaluation by a doctor? I had one done and it gave me an literal inside look at root causes of challenges I was having AND suggestions on how to address them.

    Comment by Andrew Calhoun — March 27, 2021 @ 4:48 AM

  22. I think there should be mention of anticholinergic meds which contribute to confusion. Regular people, under the care of physicians need to know what the side effects of taking specific medications are so they can make informed decisions. Doctors prescribe medications and do not concern themselves with their side effects and often become annoyed when patients experience life altering side effects and want to stop taking the medication.

    Comment by Grace — March 27, 2021 @ 6:08 AM

  23. Can I take Happy Saffron with 30 mg Cymbalta?

    Comment by Randi Gorbis — March 27, 2021 @ 9:06 AM

  24. I am 82 years old and have brain fog Some days my brain is clearer and I can think pretty well. It has also impacted my memory.

    Comment by Carma Carlson — March 27, 2021 @ 9:43 AM

  25. What about Lamotragine? does it affect memory?

    Comment by Stephanie Costello — March 27, 2021 @ 9:53 AM

  26. What can I do to reverse severe depression,and memory issues? I have had depression bouts throughout my life. I am very concerned about dementia. I have extreme difficulty thinking and completing tasks . I am so desperate.. please respond Thank-you.

    Comment by Dinah Kadel — March 27, 2021 @ 9:56 AM

  27. Have you done a double blind study

    Comment by Barbara Senneseth — March 27, 2021 @ 11:20 AM

  28. I just found out from this article the Metoprolol I’m taking will give me dementia. It already is causing my hair to fall out and I going to get with the doctor on Monday to straighten this problem out.

    Comment by Carman Colwell — March 27, 2021 @ 12:07 PM

  29. Do you work with people who have Cavernous Angiomas

    Comment by Rebecca — March 27, 2021 @ 12:30 PM

  30. Do all beta blocker for hypertension cause the same issue that metoprolol does ( dementia and Rob your heart of CO -Q10
    Thank you for all you do to inform your followers

    Comment by Judy Terry — March 28, 2021 @ 2:08 PM

  31. I take Crestor 5mg but I also take 200mg of Coq10 a day.

    Comment by Lynn Zorzetto — March 29, 2021 @ 11:40 AM

  32. Hello Dinah, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to reach out to you directly with more information regarding scheduling an appointment. In the meantime, here is another blog that you might find beneficial: https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/what-your-doctor-might-be-missing-about-your-depression/

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 29, 2021 @ 4:53 PM

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