Medicine Messes Up Your Methylation

You’re methylating right now! This means you’re turning folate (vitamin B9) from your food, into something else called SAMe. It’s the process called “methylation” and SAMe is your body’s head honcho, the CEO if you will!

SAMe stands for S-adenosylmethionine and drives hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. If you ate a salad for lunch, you’re turning that folate into SAMe as we speak. Well, let’s hope… because SAMe helps you get rid of poisons. The biggest mistake you could make is thinking that methylation problems don’t apply to you because you don’t have the gene mutation, what we call the genetic snp (pronounced “snip”). Nothing could be further from the truth. As a pharmacist, and a Functional Medicine practitioner, I assure you that your medicine has the capacity to mess up your methylation! Then poisons back up. Needless to say I am a big fan of SAMe.

Don’t think you make poisons in your body because you eat well and exercise? Wrong. Your cells churn poisons out as metabolic waste products probably a million times a minute! You better hope and pray your methylation pathway is up to snuff because if you don’t methylate, toxic by-products build up all over your body. This equates to pain, depression, inflammation, elevated homocysteine, cognitive dysfunction, depression, higher risk for neural tube defects and much more discomfort. If you have the genetic snp it’s a one-two punch for health problems galore.

So in summary, medications hinder your methylation pathway, whether or not you have a snp. These are the primary offenders:

Cholestyramine. This is a bile acid sequestrate used for reducing cholesterol as well as reducing Herxheimer (die-off) reactions. It is a drug mugger of folate and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D, A, E and K. Remember, no folate, no methylation!

Birth control or hormonal replacement drugs with estrogen. these drugs are known drug muggers of magnesium, B6 and B2 (riboflavin); that puts the breaks on methylation. Started ‘The Pill’ recently, and now you feel down in the dumps? This could be why.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, others).  Lowering natural acid production in the stomach reduces levels of magnesium, and critical B vitamins. Snp or not, your body simply cannot conduct methylation adequate levels of these nutrients!

Antibiotics like amoxicillin, sulfamethoxazole, doxycycline and dozens more. Antibiotics kill your intestinal microflora (what you call your probiotics).  Without the friendly gut flora, you cannot produce vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). You also cannot activate riboflavin or folate so therefore, your methylation is blocked.

Ibuprofen. This is a drug mugger of folate, so it blocks methylation directly by stealing your folate.

Blood pressure pills like ACE inhibitors. These drugs (enalapril, lisinopril, etc) cause added zinc excretion. You need zinc to conduct methylation.

Nitrous oxide. Been to the dentist lately? If you got NO gas, then no methylation took place for awhile!

There are hundreds of other medicines that hinder your ability to methylate, snp or not! You may not have your genetic details or tests yet, so here are clues to poor methylation: Nerve pain, numbness or tingling, chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, depression, mood swings, attention problems, cervical dysplasia, miscarriage, brain fog, weakness and lots of allergies. If you’re concerned about the other medications and lifestyle choices that might be interfering with your methylation process, please refer to my book, Drug Muggers. It’s a book intended for the smart consumer, and according to my mom, this book should be in every pharmacy and doctor’s office in the world, lol.

If you enjoyed this article on methylation, please share it. You should also read my other article which is extensive,  click here: ‘Methylation problems lead to 100’s of diseases

If you are interested learning more about MTHFR gene mutations, please check out Dr. Ben Lynch’s site,  where there are many resources.



  1. T. Rogerson December 13, 2014 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Quackery. The use of improper grammar, punctuation, and “lol” don’t inspire a great deal of confidence, nor does the failure to cite a single authoritative or peer-reviewed study. I suppose you may have accidentally left out the link to your paper in Cell, Science, or the New England Journal of Medicine (oh, you don’t have one?). It’s one thing to make a buck, but quite another to hock fear and pseudoscience.

    • Cfhunter December 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Hate to have your Karma coming back at me! That was super rude. Suzy is highly regarded in the medical community and you are a completely out of line jerk for taking the time to write such a stupid review. Ridiculous.

    • Martha Stalcup, R.Ph. December 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      The improper use of grammar, etc., you mention is a distraction for me as well, but does not, in itself, translate the message to the level of quackery. Nor does it justify the arrogantly superior tone of your response.

      She is a licensed pharmacist, with years of intense, focused education about these biochemical and pharmacologic pathways. She is not writing an article for her peers – in which she would provide citations – but is directing the level of information to a public which is often and easily overwhelmed with such data and “support”. The information is valid; she is obviously using language to reach a specific audience – newspaper subscribers. Every pharmacist’s goal should be to increase awareness and education about medications and their side effects, while translating the complex data (medical-speak) to the less educated consumer about how to minimize common biological adverse effects;

      Peer-reviewed studies have, by definition, come under scrutiny for design flaws and errors in gathering data, while wrong conclusions can be influenced by many factors – even within the reviewing group. Acceptance of a paper for publication no longer reflects clean, unbiased scientific research, nor should it ever have been an indication of unquestioned authority, But marketing agendas have perpetuated this false ideal. These must always be subject to review, questioning and ongoing discovery. Many published articles and their “conclusions”, which were promoted to the public as unquestionable truth, have been proven wrong over the past 50 years, with devastating health consequences for millions.

      • Suzy January 25, 2015 at 12:10 am - Reply

        Martha, you are incredibly wise and brave to post this. And thank you for the kind comments about me, you are correct… I write to an audience of newspaper and internet subscribers that have a very basic understanding. For details on methylation, I always recommend the researcher in this field, Dr. Ben Lynch and he has free information there.
        Your words, “…devastating health consequences for millions.”
        That’s why you and I do what we do!
        Thanks again!

    • Gigi Andino December 22, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      Dude, all she says here is true. I’ve done my research.

      • Suzy January 25, 2015 at 12:06 am - Reply

        Thanks Gigi for having my back 🙂

    • CAROL TAYLOR January 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      “YOU LIE “

  2. Kathlynn December 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Wonderful article. I see you on Doug Kaufman Show, and love everything I learn on there. Thanks for the extras here.

    • Suzy January 25, 2015 at 12:06 am - Reply

      Hi Kathlynn,
      So happy you enjoy my appearances on Doug’s show. He is a kind a smart man. 🙂

  3. Susan December 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    I’ve seen citations for at least some of these elsewhere, so a quick google search should turn them up. A couple of them I hadn’t heard of so need to research more.

  4. Lenore December 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this wonderful article. I have read lots of websites about The Mythelation Process and find that you write in a style that is informative yet supportive. Thanks. Please write more…..

  5. William December 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    I have been able to glean much information from the web that I use to improve my health. The responsibility for my health starts and stops with me. Information should be verified by witnesses, two or three at a minimum.If you accept as gospel everything you read, you have turned over your health to the media. Not a good idea. Consider the thousands of people that die each year taking properly prescribed medications and you will think twice about taking advice without a grain of salt and verification. As for peer reviewed papers, I would direct you to the conclusions drawn by the Framingham study on the relation of fats to cholesterol and heart disease. They admitted where the facts led them, but couldn’t accept those conclusions since “common sense” told them different.It is impossible to conduct a scientific study if you are starting off with a prejudiced goal in mind.Science has changed since I was in school. A pure unadulterated outcome was to be preferred to an outcome designed to obtain funds or win recognition from your peers.

  6. Anita Mitchell January 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    I have very high blood pressure. Have you read any of the current and new articles that hypertension could be autoimmune disease? JAMA has one article, there are many others. My question is about beet juice, beet root and juice capsules. Medscape article states that beet root and beet juice (liquid or capsules) develop NO in the body and it is potent vasodilator to lower bp, and eventually works to keep arteries pliable. So……if NO inhibits methylation, now what???????

    • Suzy Cohen January 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      I’ve read that yes, could be infection or dietary allergens driving the autoimmune response.

  7. Jerry January 13, 2015 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy,

    Thanks for the great article.

    I also have resistant Hi Blood Pressure, and take Beet Root Powder in an effort to keep my BP down. You answered the first part of Anita’s question, but did not address the second part. Is the beet root powder going to induce NO and therefore shut down methylation in my body? Am I doing myself harm by taking beet root powder [ 0.5 tbs twice a day]?

    • Suzy Cohen January 14, 2015 at 7:39 am - Reply

      It’s a little complex Jerry. Beets and beet root powder will induce NO (nitric oxide), that is considered beneficial for some people, unless you metabolize it poorly and it goes to peroxynitrite. Buuuuuut, beets, or more specifically betaine offers methyl groups which help with methylation. I don’t know what’s right for you, you’ll have to experiment and see, or ask doc.
      FYI, you should be doing several things for blood pressure, not just the beet root juice. Put that key term (blood pressure, or hypertension) in my search box and see what other articles I’ve written. Good luck.

  8. Chris March 29, 2015 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Are SAMe supplements a good idea? I do have a double C677T MTHFR mutation. I have in the past taken SAMe for blue moods and have felt better. But lately I’ve read that SAMe can also increase homocysteine. BTW, I do have your book now…highly recommend! When I was on long term acid-blockers for an undiagnosable cough, my DR. prescribed those and I thought I was going to die. I took myself off, upped my magnesium, started green smoothies, cut out gluten, and dairy (for a while), and my cough went away and I felt so much better. Thanks Suzy!

  9. Bonnie March 29, 2015 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Suzy, your information here and in your other work has helped me immeasurably. God bless you and your husband.

  10. Lisa Harper March 30, 2015 at 1:52 am - Reply

    As we continue down the dead end road of Western Medicine’s solution to managing disease (it’s not healthcare at all) we will continue to see even more and more drugs produced so big Pharma can keep,on doing what they do best. Nutrient depletion, plain and simple, is where many of the chronic conditions begin. And these depletions, as we all are aware. get zapped by prescriptions. Sadly many are immune to this logic and fully put all their trust in doctors. I’m reading a great book now (The Empty Medicine Cabinet) it, like Suzy’s wonderful books, spell this out in plain and simple language. If only those that choose to keep their heads in the sand would wake up and become mindful of what is really happening to their bodies, we would be in a much better place. And maybe, just maybe, big Pharma would see drastic cuts in their profits. I’ve a,ways said for every dollar spent on a synthetic drug, it a million nails going into someone’s coffin.

  11. Loretta March 30, 2015 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Suzy, does bioidentical estrogen cream interfere with methylation?

    • Suzy Cohen March 30, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      Estrogen doesn’t “interfere” with methylation so no. But you have to have adequate methlyation to process and break down the estrogen. If you find that it builds up in you, or you become too high (estrogen dominant) then you’ll want to reduce your estrogen dosage or bring in DIM and support methylation pathway with the correct supplements. Doc should understand this. Go to to learn more about methylation.

  12. Anne March 31, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Dear Suzi,
    I love your info (even the lol) and i am a FM practitioner. I need to find information on how anti-seizure meds are metabolised and excreted for a client with COMT, methylation and CYP SNiPs who has real difficulties getting toxic on these drugs. Can you point me to the best resource for this info please. Many thanks.

    • Suzy Cohen March 31, 2015 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      Have you looked on SNPedia or logged into they have resources.

  13. Emma April 17, 2015 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Can I “Like” this 😀

    Thank you for your article, Suzy.

    I am homozygous for MTHFR A1298C with chronic fatigue syndrome, and am piecing together my puzzle further after doing the 23andme. Very few doctors know much at all about this in Australia and information like this really helps.

    Interesting how what I now know to be methylation issues intensified extremely after starting on the Pill and simultaneous antibiotics for acne. What a combination! With supplementation of B12, B2, B6, Magnesium many of my symptoms are under control.

    Ibuprofen seems to calm my system when I feel I am over-methylating, in a similar yet less (traumatic) way than niacin does – now I realise it is because it strips away folate. Biochemistry is so clever!!

    Will be looking further into SAMe with more confidence now. Thanks again!


    • Glen May 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Emma, I have a single copy of the 1298 variant but found out I have doubles for comt, mtrr, etc. So methyl folate is extremely reactive to me. This is the first I have heard about Ibuprofen to stop the folate reaction. Also have moderately high homocysteine at a value of 13…but a 0 score on CT arterial scan thank the Lord…high ferritin at 400 (and falling). In my 63 years no doc ever told me to donate blood to get ferritin under 80 until very recently…go figure. Also have reason to suspect low gaba [gamma aminobutyric acid] and am working on that…no Valium [diazepam] wanted you know. If you have any other info to share, please do.

  14. Jay June 21, 2017 at 3:18 am - Reply

    Silly me…. I read where you said abut Nitrous oxide: Been to the dentist lately? If you got NO gas, then no methylation took place for awhile!

    I thought: Well, I didn’t take the gas so why would that stop methylation for awhile. It took me a few moments to realize NO didn’t mean ‘none’ but Nitrous oxide.

    Really like your column (the only reason I continue to take our awful local paper). I see you being pinned on Pinterest and always learn so much from you.

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