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Posts Tagged ‘brain shrinkage’

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

 

 

The elderly need to increase their intake of vitamin B12, in order to avoid memory loss from vitamin B12 deficiency.  Brain loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is sometimes a part of the aging process, but by getting enough vitamin B12 in your blood, you can prevent suffering the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

HERE’S YOUR BRAIN ON B12 DEFICIENCY- MEMORY LOSS AND AGING, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

Chicago study links low levels of vitamin B12 with memory loss

A 2011 study that focused on 121 community-dwelling participants of the Chicago Health and Aging Project found a strong correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and memory loss.  Scientists measured methylmalonate levels to determine vitamin B12 deficiency.

  • They found a direct relationship between low levels of vitamin B12, reduced brain volume, and decreased cognitive skills, such as loss of short-term memory.
  • Scientists noted poorer memory skills, slower thinking processes, and impaired comprehension skills as attributes associated with elevated methylmalonate levels- an indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Also considered were plasma homocysteine levels, which scientists also connected with loss of brain mass.  High levels of homocysteine are common in vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Scientists concluded that methylmalonate, an indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency, has a direct impact on brain volume, and that vitamin B12 has multiple benefits on brain chemistry beyond just memory skills.
  • In 2008, a UK study conducted by the University of Oxford produced similar results; namely, that vitamin B12 deficiency is a likely cause of brain atrophy, dementia, and short-term memory loss among the elderly.

HERE’S YOUR BRAIN ON B12 DEFICIENCY- MEMORY LOSS AND AGING, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain

For the elderly, eating foods with vitamin B12 isn’t enough

HERE’S YOUR BRAIN ON B12 DEFICIENCY- MEMORY LOSS AND AGING, WWW.B12PATCH.COMEating plenty of foods rich in vitamin B12 is always a good idea; such foods include protein sources like beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. But for the elderly, the problem isn’t really eating enough sources of vitamin B12, but rather digesting them.  Part of the aging process involves making less stomach acids that are necessary for absorbing vitamin B12 from foods.  As a result, many elderly individuals who include meat in their diet still run a high risk for getting B12 deficiency.

Unless blood tests indicate healthy levels of vitamin B12, senior citizens must supplement with vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) with a routine prescribed B12 shot in order to avoid the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Memory loss in B12 deficiency for the young and old

It isn’t just the elderly who should be concerned with memory loss- short-term memory loss is one of many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, regardless of age.

HERE’S YOUR BRAIN ON B12 DEFICIENCY- MEMORY LOSS AND AGING, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

Vitamin B12- How much do you need?

Other symptoms of dangerously low B12 levels are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Balance problems
  • Poor muscular control
  • Numbness or tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
  • Sore, red swollen tongue
  • Altered taste perception

Long-term exposure to vitamin B12 deficiency could result in severe neurological damage, pernicious anemia, increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and osteoporosis.

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency and memory loss:

12 Ways to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

FDA Approves Brain Scan to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Adult ADHD Could Lead to Dementia

Sources:

Low Vitamin B12 Linked to Smaller Brains and Cognitive Decline

Vitamin B12 Levels Linked to Memory Skills and Brain Size

Low Vitamin B12 May Speed Brain Shrinkage

Low Vitamin B12 Linked to Smaller Brain Size

Elevated Plasma Homocysteine Is Associated with Increased Brain Atrophy Rates in Older Subjects with Mild Hypertension

Vitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures- A cross-sectional examination

Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly

Image credits, from top:

Was a bee, Sean.lewis29, Ambro, photostock

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

 

 

Brain health and vitamin B12 deficiency: Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining cognitive health and addressing mild memory problems related to aging. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common health problem for senior citizens who suffer the beginning stages of dementia.

HOW TO KEEP VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY FROM SHRINKING YOUR BRAIN, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

Atrophy

Brain atrophy is what happens when brain tissue disintegrates.  In the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of age-related dementia, a reduction in the brain’s gray matter correlates to symptoms such as memory loss, disorientation, paranoia, and uncharacteristically aggressive behavior.  In addition to losing brain volume, some elderly individuals also lose bone mass.

HOW TO KEEP VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY FROM SHRINKING YOUR BRAIN, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

B12- the Brain Vitamin

In a recent study, elderly test participants who had vitamin B12 deficiency scored poorly on cognitive skills and memory testing, compared to their peers.  In addition, MRI scans indicated that senior citizens with low B12 levels also had less brain mass than peers who had normal levels of vitamin B12.

Cognitive Decline

This is not the first time that researchers found a correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and cognitive health.  In 2008, Oxford University scientists discovered a link between elevated levels of homocysteine (an indicator of low vitamin B12 levels) and brain shrinkage.  Homocysteine is an amino acid that increases your chances of developing heart disease and stroke.

Digestion

As you get older, your body slows down, and stops producing  as many stomach acids.  Unfortunately, your body still needs stomach acids in order to digest essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B12.  People who lack sufficient stomach acids- the elderly, people on strong heartburn medications- lack the ability to digest vitamin B12 naturally, and must receive vitamin B12 supplements in order to prevent vitamin deficiency.

HOW TO KEEP VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY FROM SHRINKING YOUR BRAIN, WWW.B12PATCH.COM

Elderly Care

In order to detect vitamin B12 deficiency, doctors recommend that elderly individuals receive regular blood testing for homocysteine levels and active vitamin B12, particularly if they exhibit any symptoms of cognitive decline, such as short-term memory loss.  If diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, then your doctor will prescribe vitamin B12 injections or sublingual vitamin B12.

For extra vitamin B12, or as an alternative to painful injections, a popular option is to supplement with over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.

Related reading:

12 Ways to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

Ten Bites to Better Brain Power

Can Aerobics Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?

Feed your Brain Something You’ll never Forget

Sources:

Low Vitamin B12 Level in Elderly May Spur Dementia

B12 shortage linked to cognitive problems

Low Vitamin B12 May Speed Brain Shrinkage

Brain and Body Shrink Before Alzheimer’s Sets In

Images:

C Jill Reed, Vince Alongi, sabertasche2

B12 Deficiency Linked to Cognitive Decline, and more

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Research is showing that many older people could benefit from getting more vitamin B12 than they currently do. Some 10% to 15% of people over age 60 are outright deficient, and many more are borderline deficient. Their blood levels of B12 are in what’s called a “low-normal” range, and if their doctor isn’t up on the latest research, they won’t be treated for B12 deficiency with supplemental B12. That’s a shame, because research now shows that low B12 can cause all sorts of problems, and that getting an optimal amount can boost brain power, lift the mood, improve bone density,and help to maintain healthy hearing and eyesight.

Here’s what the latest research shows vitamin B12 does:

Brain health: One study found that older people with lower-than-average B12 levels were correlated with signs of brain shrinkage, an early sign of impaired cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease. Even B12 levels that are above the traditional cutoff for deficiency — and seemingly adequate — may impact cognition in older people. B12 is needed to maintain the fatty myelin sheath that wraps around and protects nerves, including nerve cells in the brain.

Eyesight: Harvard researchers found favorable results for women aged 40 and older who supplemented with 1,000 micrograms of B12. They attribute it to lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine and better antioxidant effects. Both improved blood vessel function in the retina of the eye.

Keeps your hearing sharp. There may be a connection between B12 deficiency and hearing. One study found that low blood levels of vitamin B12 were linked to a higher risk of hearing loss in women in their 60s. Toxic homocysteine may damage the delicate cells that transmit sound waves in the inner ear.

Mental health: A study from the National Institute of Aging found a high incidence of depression in women with low B12 levels. B12 is needed for the production of important brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and melatonin, the “sleep” hormone.

Maintains strong bones. In the Framingham Offspring Osteoporosis Study, people with low B12 levels had lower-than-average bone mineral density. B12 may build stronger bones by aiding osteoblasts, the cells that build bone, and by lowering homocysteine, which weakens bone by interfering with collagen cross-linking, the molecular “stitching” that makes bones strong and flexible.

Older people often don’t absorb enough B12, even when they get enough in their diet. Some experts believe that blood B12 levels should be at least 350 picomoles/liter (or 44 picograms/mL.) It’s a good idea to have your blood level checked if you are over age 50.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue, depression, numbness and tingling of the arms and, most commonly, the legs, difficulty walking, memory loss, disorientation, tongue soreness, and appetite loss. Because so many older people are borderline deficient, more experts are recommending anyone age 50 or older get at least 100 to 400 mcg a day of B12.

Your risk for deficiency increases as you get older, and the consequences for your health can be devastating. Taking a B12 supplement is good insurance against deficiency, and B12 supplements are also very well tolerated. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor to check your B12 levels to determine whether you may have a severe deficiency that warrants much higher levels of supplementation.

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