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Posts Tagged ‘Brain Vitamins’

How does Vitamin B12 Benefit Children with Autism?

Friday, March 29th, 2013



One of the fastest-growing natural treatments for autism is vitamin B12 supplementation. That’s because vitamin B12 is one of the most essential nutrients for the brain, making it an ideal supplement for children with autism-spectrum disorder, as well as ADD, ADHD, or other sensory processing issues.

How does Vitamin B12 Benefit Children with Autism? B12 Patch

Vitamin B12 supports the brain

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) plays many roles in your body’s healthy maintenance- it’s needed for your nervous system, blood cell production, and energy synthesis, among many other fundamental biochemical activities.

For children with autism, supplementation with vitamin B12 is especially important for improving cognition, language skills, mental focus, environmental awareness, and general mood.

How does B12 benefit the brain? In several ways- first, vitamin B12 supports myelin, a fatty substance which coats your nerve cells, protecting your nervous system from damage and improving communication between the brain and sensors in your hands, feet, eyes, and ears.

When vitamin B12 levels are low, as they are with many children with autism, you notice a correlation in functional deterioration, including slower responses, difficulty walking, vision problems, ear ringing, and painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet.

Vitamin B12 is also crucial for producing plenty of healthy red blood cells. Often, symptoms of fatigue, attention disorders, aggression, moodiness, and lack of spatial awareness in autistic children result from a comorbid vitamin B12 deficiency.

Additionally, vitamin B12 helps to correct nerve damage (neuropathy) associated with symptoms of autism. In a study on optic neuropathy and autism, scientists noted positive results in visual perception when autistic children were given high doses of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency with autism

There are several reasons why children with autism have an increased risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency. They include:

  • Damaged gastrointestinal system, resulting in vitamin B12 malabsorption
  • Restrictive diet low in vitamin B12-rich foods such as beef and seafood
  • Picky eating habits
  • Autoimmune disorders, including intrinsic factor antibodies


To reverse vitamin B12 deficiency and sustain healthy levels of B12, doctors recommend taking at least 1,000 mcg of cobalamin per week, although initial supplementation might require a much higher dose for the first month.

Suggested methods include vitamin B12 shots, sublingual vitamin B12, or other non-dietary forms of vitamin B12 which are available without prescription.

Your turn!

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Like this? Read more:

Autism Facts and Misconceptions- 9 Common Myths about Autism

Autism Videos for Kids, Teens and Parents: You Tube’s Top 10

10 Fun, Easy and Cheap Summer Activities for Autistic Kids

8 Great Tracking Devices for Autistic Kids, GPS+


Vitamin B12 optic neuropathy in autism.

Image(s) courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Brain Vitamins that make you Smarter

Monday, June 4th, 2012



Looking for some ways to fight brain fog or boost your thinking skills? Look no further than these 3 vitamins for the brain, guaranteed to give you more brainpower and mental clarity.


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is one of the most essential nutrients for brain health.  This “brain vitamin,” which occurs naturally in animal-based foods, is known sustain healthy brain mass in old age, as proven in a Finnish scientific study on Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists have concluded that elderly individuals diagnosed with dementia who manage to maintain health vitamin B12 levels have more brain mass than those with vitamin B12 deficiency, and score better in cognitive testing, as well.

Without sufficient levels of vitamin B12, you may experience a decline in cognitive functioning skills, including:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased ability to perform math calculations
  • Short attention span


To find out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, ask your doctor for a blood screening.  Even if you eat a diet rich in B12-foods like beef, poultry, and fish, you may still be at risk, as a significant number of people are unable to absorb vitamin B12 from food sources.

Risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, including GERD and Crohn’s disease
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Vegan dieting

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is proven to benefit your brain’s nerve cells, in addition to boosting your ability to perform thinking skills involving processing information, forming strategies, and building memories.

Most of us get enough vitamin D from the sun; other sources of vitamin D include vitamin supplements and fortified dairy products.

Pregnant moms-to-be and nursing mothers are advised to supplement with vitamin D for their baby’s cognitive development.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked with poor brain health, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Living in areas with limited sunshine
  • Wearing full-body coverings outdoors


To make certain that you get enough vitamin D for brain health, do the following:

  • Go out in the sun every day
  • Visit a safe tanning salon, and take vitamin D3 supplements
  • Take 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D supplements per day

Omega 3’s

It’s no surprise that fatty acids like omega-3’s are such brain boosters- more than half of your brain’s matter is made up of fats. Specifically, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) accounts for 25% of the omega-3 fatty acids found in your brain.

DHA-type omega 3 fats are animal-based, meaning you can only find them in protein sources such as fish, liver, and organ meats. (All of which, by the way, are also rich sources of vitamin B12, another brain vitamin.)


Insufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids may result in damage to the nervous system.  Many researchers also suggest a link between omega-3 deficiency and brain disorders such as dementia and mental illness.

In a several studies, 800-900 mg of DHA supplements prescribed to elderly individuals with dementia resulted in a significant improvement in memory, learning, vocabulary, and other cognitive skills.

Please tell us…
Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!
If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Read more about vitamin B12 and the brain:

Boost Brain Health with B12

Can Vitamin B12 Repair Nerve Cells?

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: US Plans to Nip Dementia in the Bud


Benson Kua, TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³Nina Matthews PhotographyIsaacMao

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.



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.


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.


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.


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


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


C Jill Reed, Vince Alongi, sabertasche2

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