Dementia Linked to Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Various studies have been done linking both average and low Vitamin B-12 levels to brain shrinkage and dementia.

We covered several beneficial practices in the post on Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention, so I thought it would be good to follow it up with these results of 3 different studies regarding B-12 deficiency and memory problems. I’ll paste abbreviated results below with their references so you can read the full articles. Top sources of Vitamin B are listed at the end of the post.

Take note of these main points:

-Though western cultures normally eat enough food with B-12, the absorption of it decreases with age.

-The push for using antacids has also decreased people’s absorption of B-12.

-If you divide a normal range of B-12 absorption into thirds, the elderly people in the lower level of what is still considered normal B-12 blood level range had 6 times more brain shrinkage than those in the upper third. Thus, a normal level could still be risky unless you are at the higher end of the range. Two studies below showed risk in normal ranges.

-Dairy products, fish, and meat are the typical sources of B-12.

-Daily oral doses of B-12 in 1000 mcg were effective in raising B-12 levels in elderly and reducing memory problems.

-Vitamin B-12 helps in the formation of red blood cells and is important for the maintenance of the central nervous system. Deficiency can lead to anemia and neurological damage.

-Vitamin B-12 deficiency is uncommon in developed countries but is an issue among the elderly due to problems in vitamin absorption and among vegetarians whose dietary intake may be low, the researchers said.

Study 1

In the study led by David Smith and Anna Vogiatzoglou of the University of Oxford in Britain, people in the upper third of vitamin B-12 levels were six times less likely to experience brain shrinkage than those in the lowest third.

The study involved 107 healthy people ages 61 to 87 who underwent scans to measure brain volume and gave blood samples to assess vitamin B1-2 levels once a year for up to five years.

All of those in the study had vitamin B-12 levels classified in what is considered the normal range, the researchers said.

“What we can say is that our results suggest that rather than maintaining one’s B-12 at a level that is just above the cut-off for deficiency, it might be prudent to aim to keep it higher up the normal range,” Smith said. AOL Health

Study 2

Smith said another study from Oxford that came out last year showed that lower vitamin B-12 levels — but still within the normal range — were linked to cognitive impairment and a higher risk of later cognitive decline.

Smith said that could be achieved by eating plenty of foods that are a good source of vitamin B-12 such as milk and other dairy products, fish, meat and fortified breakfast cereals. AOL Health


Study 3

In one study, 15 percent of adults older than 65 years had laboratory evidence of vitamin B-12 deficiency. The nearly ubiquitous use of gastric acidblocking agents, which can lead to decreased vitamin B-12 levels, may have an underappreciated role in the development of vitamin B-12 deficiency. Taking the widespread use of these agents and the aging of the U.S. population into consideration, the actual prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency may be even higher than statistics indicate.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency also has been linked to psychiatric disorders, including impaired memory, irritability, depression, dementia and, rarely, psychosis.

Those in the oral treatment group received 2,000 mcg daily for 120 days. At the end of 120 days, patients who received oral therapy had significantly higher serum vitamin B-12 levels.

Although the daily requirement of vitamin B-12 is approximately 2 mcg, the initial oral replacement dosage consists of a single daily dose of 1,000 to 2,000 mcg. This high dose is required because of the variable absorption of oral vitamin B-12 in doses of 500 mcg or less. This regimen has been shown to be safe, cost-effective, and well tolerated by patients. American Academy of Family Physicians

Best Sources of Vitamin B-12

It was not clear whether the style of cooking was necessary to maintain the B-12 level or just a suggestion. I would suggest, though, to closely compare the sugars levels of whatever yogurt you buy. Most are extremely high or have artificial sweeteners.

Best sources of B-12, in order of the highest level first:

braised calves liver, snapper baked or broiled, venison, Chinook salmon, lean beef tenderloin, roasted lamb loin, baked or broiled scallops, steamed or boiled shrimp, baked or broiled halibut, low-fat yogurt. The World’s Healthiest Foods

Related Post:  Memory Loss: Disease or Normal Aging?  Use the article title-link and go through this check list to see if your own or a loved one’s memory loss is age or disease related.

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