vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 deficiency signals cognitive decline and dementia risk in elderly

Friday, January 11, 2013 by: John Phillip
Tags: vitamin B-12, deficiency, dementia risk

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(NaturalNews) Loss of cognition and the ability to form new memories affects the daily lives of an ever increasing number of aging adults. Often, this decline is the first sign of dementia and can lead to more serious illnesses, including Alzheimer's disease. Many forward thinking practitioners and alternative health researchers are finding that suboptimal nutrition status over the course of many years and decades, in combination with exposure to toxic environmental and household chemicals and pollutants directly contribute to brain health deterioration and serious disease.

A study group from Tufts University in Medford, MA has published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that shows how being mildly vitamin B-12 deficient could be an indication that some older adults are at a greater risk for accelerated cognitive decline. Many aging adults receive minimal amounts of vitamin B-12 from their diet, and have limited ability to metabolize what they do consume. Eating highly processed foods over the course of a lifetime leads to extreme vitamin B-12 deficiency that affects chemical and electrical signaling in the brain.

Circulating vitamin B-12 levels are associated with cognition and memory in the elderly

To set up their study, researchers analyzed data from 549 men and women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study with an average age of 75. Blood samples were drawn and the participants were divided into five groups based on their vitamin B-12 levels. The team administered the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a short list of questions often used to screen for dementia (five tests given over a period of eight years), to each group member to assess general cognitive status.

The researchers found that participants in the lowest two groups experienced significantly accelerated cognitive decline. The lead study author, Dr. Martha Morris noted "Rapid neuropsychiatric decline is a well-known consequence of severe vitamin B-12 deficiency, but our findings suggest that adverse cognitive effects of low vitamin B-12 status may affect a much larger proportion of seniors than previously thought." The team found that scores dropped an average of .24 points per year on average, but those in the lowest two-fifths dropped by .35 points each year, a significant decline that is associated with a decline in memory and normal thought processes.

Dr. Morris concluded "While we emphasize our study does not show causation, our associations raise the concern that some cognitive decline may be the result of inadequate vitamin B-12 in older adults, for whom maintaining normal blood levels can be a challenge." As absorption from food can be an issue for many aging adults, it is best to supplement with the bioactive type of vitamin B-12 known as methylcobalamin, taken in a sublingual form (one to five mg per day) to preserve memory and cognitive function.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205102613.htm
http://psychcentral.com
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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