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Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin B12 and dementia’

B12 Shots: Getting your Medical Insurance to Pay

Thursday, November 7th, 2013



Vitamin B12 shots are crucial if you’re diagnosed with extremely low levels of vitamin B12, but they can be expensive. Some medical insurance plans cover the costs of vitamin B12 injections, but only if you qualify. Even if you’re approved, you may not be getting the right dosage to relieve some of the ailments that come with even mild vitamin B12 deficiency.

B12 Shots: Getting your Medical Insurance to Pay

Intramuscular vitamin B12 shots require the services of a licensed nurse, and to get your fill, your best bet is to apply for coverage from your medical insurance plan.

Unfortunately, healthcare plans such as Cigna, Aetna, and Blue Cross, in addition to Medicare, can make it difficult for you to get enough B12. Their mission is to prevent death from pernicious anemia, and they do that reasonably well…

Still, there are a host of health problems that don’t go away with minimum vitamin B12 shots; constant fatigue, brain fog, and depression can continue if you’re not getting enough vitamin B12 from your healthcare provider.


Let’s consider Aetna:

Aetna will pay for vitamin B12 injections if you suffer from:

  • Diagnosed pernicious anemia, or other types of anemia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders linked with lack of intrinsic factor, vitamin B12 malabsorption or gastrointestinal surgeries
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage) from alcoholism, pernicious anemia, or posterolateral sclerosis
  • Dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Elevated homocysteine levels caused by homocysteinuria

Also, if you have vitamin B12 deficiency caused by medications such as metformin for diabetes, then you may be able to get your insurance to pay for vitamin B12 shots.

But no mention is made of vitamin B12 supplements in relation to symptoms of fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, or dizziness that occur when vitamin B12 levels are even marginally low, in people who are not diagnosed with anemia.

Also, children with autism are not approved for vitamin B12 injection compensation, even though many parents have noticed extreme health benefits (cognition, energy, and mood) with routine B12 shots.

So unless you’re diagnosed with pernicious anemia, peripheral neuropathy, or dementia that’s not related to old age, you will have difficulty getting your insurance to pay for vitamin B12 supplements. If your employer insurance plan covers naturopathic medicine, then you may be more successful.


If you’re a senior citizen, then your risk for vitamin B12 deficiency is much higher. Still, Medicare Part D follows the same criteria for vitamin B12 shots as the Aetna plan.

Unless you can present proof that you suffer from one of the approved medical conditions as mentioned above, you may not get coverage for vitamin B12, even if you are suffering from extreme fatigue, sluggish thinking, mood problems, or other ailments that can happen even if blood tests indicate normal levels of vitamin B12.


If you’re turned down for Medicare or other healthcare compensation for vitamin B12 supplements, then fear not; there are other options.

While vitamin B12 shots can be expensive, costing upwards of $25 a pop, there are alternative methods of vitamin B12 supplementation that are available online and over the counter (OTC). Many are cheaper, gentler, and more convenient than vitamin B12 shots, and just as likely to get absorbed into your bloodstream.

Moreover, if you receive vitamin B12 shots through your provider, but you want more to “top up” vitamin B12 levels between office visits, then OTC vitamin B12 is a great option to get the amount you need, when you need it, at a fraction of the price of prescription B12.

Please tell us…

Does your healthcare provider cover vitamin B12 shots? If so, are you getting enough vitamin B12?

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

Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

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Self-Injecting Vitamin B12 Shots- 12 Tips and Warnings

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Vitamin B12- a Penny a Day Keeps Dementia Away

Monday, May 27th, 2013



Taking high doses of vitamin B12 may delay the symptoms of dementia, according to a new study. For pennies a day, elderly individuals experiencing the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia can sustain brain mass for longer, just by preventing vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12- a Penny a Day Keeps Dementia Away

B12 slows dementia

It’s not the first time that studies have proven the cognitive benefits of vitamin B12 supplementation for people with Alzheimer’s disease, but it flies in the face of various drug companies who have been trying for decades to produce similar results, to no avail.

According to the study just released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the best treatment for dementia includes a three-prong regimen of social activity, exercise, and supplementation of three essential B vitamins- vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid.

“It’s the first and only disease-modifying treatment that’s worked,” said A. David Smith, Oxford University professor and senior author of the study on vitamin B12 deficiency and Alzheimer’s disease. “We have proved the concept that you can modify the disease.”

Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs

As of yet, there are no other treatments or medications available that comes close to providing the same results as these three inexpensive B vitamins in delaying the progression of brain atrophy in dementia patients.

B12 controls homocysteine

Among the many roles that vitamin B12 plays in maintaining good health, one of the most significant is its ability to control homocysteine, a protein known to contribute to heart attacks and stroke.

For the study, scientists wanted to prove a link between dementia and homocysteine levels.

  • Researchers gathered 156 people over the age of 70 who were experiencing memory loss, and also had high levels of homocysteine.
  • Participants were given one of two treatments for dementia: a supplement containing a mixture of vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folic acid, or a placebo.
  • For the following two years, scientists compared MRI brain scan results, along with blood tests confirming homocysteine levels.
  • Among people who had very high levels of homocysteine, suggesting vitamin B12 deficiency, brain atrophy advanced at a rate of 5.2% in people who took the placebo.
  • Memory loss patients with high homocysteine who were given the vitamin supplements containing vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid saw only a 0.06% decrease in brain atrophy.

Can B12 deficiency Cause Dementia? Some Helpful Facts

Compare those results to people who don’t have vitamin B12 deficiency or dementia…

Let the numbers speak for themselves

According to Smith, healthy elderly adults without vitamin B12 deficiency begin to experience brain shrinkage from the age of 60, at the rate of about 0.5%.

  • High homocysteine, vitamin B12 deficiency- 5.2% brain deterioration.
  • High homocysteine, using vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid- 0.6% brain deterioration.
  • Normal homocysteine, normal levels of vitamin B12- 0.5% brain deterioration.

So, with vitamin B12 supplementation, people with high homocysteine levels can slow down the rate of dementia to a rate that is a mere 0.1% higher than individuals of the same age who don’t have vitamin B12 deficiency.

What’s the upshot?

If you have high homocysteine levels, you can reduce your risk of suffering early dementia by taking extra doses of vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, especially if you are already experiencing warning symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, including memory loss, fatigue, depression, disorientation, and numbness and tingling.

While it won’t cure Alzheimer’s disease, taking daily vitamin B12 can significantly delay brain atrophy that occurs to all people over the age of 60.

But it’s important to catch vitamin B12 deficiency early. The longer you wait, the more likely you will begin to suffer irreparable cell death and brain atrophy due to elevated homocysteine.

To test for vitamin B12 deficiency, ask your doctor for a blood test. He may prescribe large doses of vitamin B12, beginning with 1,000mcg, although it’s perfectly safe to take as much vitamin B12 as you need to relieve symptoms, as there are no FDA upper limits for vitamin B12 supplementation.

Your turn!

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, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Aging begins at 45- Tips on how to Prevent Early Memory Loss

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


Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment

Vitamins That Cost Pennies a Day Seen Delaying Dementia

Image courtesy of ohhhbetty/flickr

Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012



Preventing age-related dementia such as Alzheimer’s requires a multi-pronged approach that includes natural alternative therapies, in addition to conventional medicine. Listed are the top 12 essential natural nutrients, vitamins, and herbs that may help lower your risk for dementia in old age.

Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs- B12 Patch

Dementia symptoms

Dementia symptoms involve more than mere memory loss; people who suffer even the earliest stages of brain atrophy may experience confusion, anxiety, irritability, and paranoia.

Other signs of cognitive impairment caused by dementia include difficulty socializing, organizing thoughts, recognizing family members, concentrating, making decisions, understanding real time, and using simple math skills.

Also read: Aging begins at 45- Tips on how to Prevent Early Memory Loss

Natural dementia treatments

Many alternative natural therapies are available that help to prevent dementia symptoms while you’re still in good health, and also stall the advancement of brain atrophy during the beginning stages of dementia.

None of these supplements or herbs are meant as a cure for dementia, but as part of a natural, healthy integrative approach to wellness that, combined with exercise, diet, and conventional medications for dementia, many nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin B3, and Coenzyme Q10 have been found to significantly aid cognitive functioning skills, maintain healthy circulation, and support mental alertness in people who have been diagnosed with dementia.

#1- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for cognitive health, as it regulates red blood cell production, protects the nervous system, and supports DNA synthesis.

Elderly individuals are at high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as a result of decreased digestive enzymes required to absorb vitamin B12 from foods.

As a result, an overwhelming number of senior citizens experience symptoms of fatigue, confusion, memory loss, anxiety, and depression, as a result of an underlying vitamin B12 deficiency.

Also, scientists have noted a high correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly individuals and increased risk for age-related dementia symptoms and brain deterioration.

Therefore, routine supplementation of vitamin B12 is strongly advised for delaying dementia from old age, boosting cognitive functioning skills, and preventing misdiagnosis of dementia in people suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.

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

Other natural vitamins and herbs that benefit dementia patients include:

#2- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Often, symptoms of dementia occur as a result of vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency

#3- Zinc

Underlying zinc deficiency may cause neurological damage.

Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs- B12 Patch

Spring Valley Zinc


Lecithin is crucial for vascular and cognitive health.

#5- DMAE

DMAE aids neurological functioning in dementia patients by maintaining acetylcholine levels.

Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs- B12 Patch

#6- Acetyl-L-carnitine

Like DMAE, this also increases acetylcholine.

#7- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 boosts thinking skills and prevents “brain fog,” as it improves circulation, thus helping to provide more oxygen to the brain.

#8- Grape seed

is also helpful for good circulation and mental alertness.

#9- Choto-san

Also referred to as Gouteng-san, this Kampo herbal medicine has been the focus of several studies on natural dementia treatment and vascular health.Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs- B12 Patch

Search for Choto-san on Amazon

#10- Kami-Umtan-To

Kami-Umtan-To is also a popular Kampo medication for natural dementia therapy in boosting memory skills.

#11- Yizhi

Yizhi capsules are touted by natural health practitioners for their ability to improve vascular health in dementia patients.

#12- Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a natural herb that increases blood flow to the brain, lessens fatigue, and boosts mental clarity.

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+.

Like this? Read more:

Can B12 Beat Alzheimer’s? Neurology Says it can…

Can Vitamin B12 Deficiency cause Dementia?


Natural Therapies for Dementia

Pharmacological evidence for antidementia effect of Choto-san (Gouteng-san), a traditional Kampo medicine

Effect of kami-untan-to on the impairment of learning and memory induced by thiamine-deficient feeding in mice

A clinical study of yi zhi capsules in prevention of vascular dementia

Image(s) courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aging begins at 45- Tips on how to Prevent Early Memory Loss

Monday, January 9th, 2012



The latest scientific study pins memory loss from aging to the age of 45.  Here are some ways to prevent early onset dementia like Alzheimer’s disease and reclaim your youth.


45- Is it the new 60?

According a recent study on cognitive decline, the first signs of aging, such as memory loss, begin at the age of 45.  The UK study, which tracked 5,198 men and 2,192 women, suggests that people should become more proactive in preventing Alzheimer’s disease much earlier than earlier expected.

  • Participants between the ages of 45-70 submitted to various cognitive testing, including vocabulary, memory, reasoning, and auditory and visual learning abilities.
  • Examples of cognitive testing include identifying patterns, recalling short words, naming words from memory beginning with the letter “S,” or animal names.
  • Scientists met with study volunteers three times during a 10-year period.
  • Results: With the exception of vocabulary, cognitive scores in memory, reasoning, and learning abilities declined in all age groups, beginning at the ages of 45-49, for both men and women.
  • For men and women, dementia escalated by the age of 65-70.
  • Older males saw a 9.6% decline by age 70, while elderly females of the same age exhibited a 7.4% decline.

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


Lifestyle changes to prevent memory loss

By making some simple changes in your life, you can delay symptoms of aging that include memory loss, confused thinking, fatigue, and hair greying.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Increase intake of vitamins and minerals, including healthy omega-3 oils, vitamin D, vitamin C, and B complex vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, which is proven to aid in cognitive functioning and maintaining healthy brain mass.
  • Eat low cholesterol, low-fat foods.
  • Avoid high fat or processed foods.
  • Restrict sodium intake.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Quit smoking.

Brainy People are high on B12, according to Brain Health Study


Prevent vitamin B12 deficiency

Numerous studies prove that vitamin B12 is more than just the energy vitamin- it also is essential for brain health and rejuvenation.  Vitamin B12 protects your nervous system, aids in producing red blood cells, builds DNA, and boosts cognitive skills.

  • By controlling homocysteine levels, vitamin B12 helps lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.  Scientists have noticed a high correlation between elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood and increased risk for dying of heart failure or stroke.
  • Scientific research also indicates a direct relationship between low levels of vitamin B12, reduced brain volume, and decreased cognitive skills, such as loss of short-term memory
  • Besides memory loss, other age-related symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include premature hair loss, hair greying, fatigue, difficulty walking, difficulty concentrating, and emotional problems like depression and nervousness.

Read more about B12 deficiency and aging:

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain

Vitamin B12- How much do you need?


Memory Loss May Occur as Early as 40s

Memory loss from aging can start as early as 45: Study

Timing of onset of cognitive decline: results from Whitehall II prospective cohort study- BMJ

Images, from top:

jessica.diamond, woodleywonderworks, Patrick Q

The Vitamin B12 and Depression Link

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The medical literature has demonstrated a strong correlation between vitamin B12 and depression. Vitamin B12 is naturally found if fish, meat, eggs and chicken. However, some people choose to avoid these foods, and there are those who don’t absorb it from the foods they do eat.

Vitamin B12 affects our nervous system. It is necessary for the breakdown of a toxin in the body, known as homocysteine. Vitamin B12 is also a requisite for the formation of DNA and phospholipids. Phospholipids are fatty acids that make up the membrane surrounding every nerve cell. It becomes quite apparent that a vitamin B12 deficiency can have numerous consequences on the body.

Low vitamin B12 levels in the body can alter the functioning of the brain cells. The nerve cells of the brain affects how we think and feel. A B12 deficiency can lead to depression, dementia, violent behavior, paranoia, schizophrenia-like symptoms and fatigue. Although the presence of low stores of B12 doesn’t cause all cases of mental illness, there is evidence that this condition causes mental illness in some people.

A study done at the National Institute of Aging evaluated a group of physically disabled women over age 65. This study found that women with low blood B12 plasma levels were twice as likely to suffer from depression as their counterparts with normal levels. The research was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, May 2000 issue.

In a second study, Dutch researchers examined 4,000 people for symptoms of depression. Blood tests of all of these patients were taken and charted. They found that those who presented with high homocysteine levels (indicative of a B12 deficiency) had a stronger incidence of depression than those with normal levels. This study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 2002.

In summary, someone who is suffering from depression or other mental illness should be evaluated for a B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 and Brain Size

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Vitamin B12 is linked to brain size, and therefore this vitamin may help prevent dementia by maintaining brain volume, according to a study published in Neurology (September 9, 2008).

The study focused on 107 volunteers whose average age was 73 years, ranging from 61 to 87 years old. All participants were required to undergo a physical examination, brain MRI and CT scans. Only people in good physical and mental health were included in this study.

For this study, blood samples were also taken of the volunteers. Tests were done to measure vitamin B12 plasma levels, in addition to levels of homocysteine, folate and methylmalonic acid (MMA). These measurements were taken once a year over the duration of five years.

For all the volunteers, the B12 plasma levels fell within the range of normal.

At the end of the five-year period, the volunteers were again subject to brain scans and memory tests. Subjects who had the most brain loss also had lower concentrations of B12. No correlation was made between brain loss and levels of homocysteine, folate or MMA.

The results of this study demonstrated that those people with lower B12 plasma levels were six times more likely to have a loss of brain volume and a decrease in brain size than those with higher levels. Therefore, the authors of this study have concluded that by increasing the consumption of of vitamin B12 among the elderly can reverse brain shrinkage, and possibly prevent memory loss as well. It is hoped that future clinical trials will determine the affects of vitamin B12 supplementation on brain shrinkage.

In the meantime, the authors of this study would advise the geriatric population to increase their intake of vitamin B12 through meat, fish, milk and fortified cereals.

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