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Posts Tagged ‘vitamin B12 senior citizens’

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Depression in Older Adults

Monday, August 26th, 2013



Feeling blue? For many older adults, vitamin B12 deficiency and low vitamin B6 can cause depression, leaving you feeling down in the dumps. Before you rush off to the doctor for a new pill to ease your depression, CHECK YOUR DIET!! Here’s the scoop on B vitamins and depression in senior citizens.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Depression in Older Adults

Vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 are both essential nutrients for neurological health and emotional balance. As you age, your ability to digest vitamin B12 from food naturally diminishes, leading to increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiency and also low vitamin B6.

Can Vitamin B12 help depression in seniors?

Study focuses on depression in older adults

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently featured a study in which it was discovered that higher intakes of vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 were associated with a lower likelihood of depression in older adults.  Both vitamins B12 and B6 play critical roles in the production of neurotransmitters, or “chemical messengers” in the brain, including Serotonin, which is the brain’s “feel good” neurotransmitter.

Thus it makes sense that a deficiency of vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 may be a cause or symptom of depression.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Menopause Symptoms

Vitamin B12 feels good!

The subjects of the study were adults aged 65 years or older from the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP). Their diets were evaluated for consumption of vitamins B12 and B6 over a period of seven years.  The incidence of depression was also noted. It appeared that for every 10 mg increase in vitamin B12, patients reported a 2% increase in overall good mood. The same effect on depression was also noted with each 10 mg increase of Vitamin B6.

Foods rich in B vitamins

Foods rich in vitamin B6 include bran (rice and wheat), bananas, avocados, chicken or turkey breast, raw garlic, dried herbs and spices,  fish (such as tuna, salmon, and cod), liver, whole grains, beans, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seed (and techina).  Foods rich in vitamin B12 include fish, meat, liver, poultry, eggs and dairy.  Today many breakfast cereals are now fortified with vitamin B12 also.

Older adults at risk for B12 deficiency

Older adults tend to exhibit a higher incidence of both depression and vitamin B12 deficiency.   However, it has been noted that some adults, despite eating foods high in B-vitamins, continue to suffer a vitamin B12 deficiency. This may be related to limited stomach acidity in older people, which can prevent vitamin B12 from food from being absorbed into the body.  In other cases, the lack of intrinsic factor as we age, which impairs our ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food and supplements, may be the cause of this inability to absorb Vitamin B12.

Treat vitamin B12 deficiency now!

When evaluating symptoms of depression in older adults, diagnosticians should evaluate their overall diets in order to rule out any vitamin deficiencies. Individuals aged 50 or older, especially vegetarians, will likely benefit from supplementing their diets extra vitamin B12, as well as eating fortified breakfast cereals or sprinkling nutritional yeast onto meals and snacks.

In this way older adults can simultaneously reduce the risk of depression and vitamin B12 deficiency.

Your turn!

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

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Like this? Read more:

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Crisis?

Vitamin B12- a Penny a Day Keeps Dementia Away

Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos

Vitamin B12, a Must for Senior Citizens

Thursday, June 13th, 2013



As a senior citizen, you require more vitamin B12 than you used to. Changes in diet, metabolism, and vitamin absorption create the need for more vitamin B12 to boost natural energy while also preventing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia which are often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease dementia. In order to prevent fatigue, memory loss, and joint pain that comes with aging, senior citizens are urged to include extra vitamin B12 in their daily regimen.

Vitamin B12, a Must for Senior Citizens

Related: Vitamin B12- a Penny a Day Keeps Dementia Away

Vitamin B12 is found in many animal-based foods, including beef, seafood, poultry, dairy, and egg products. Most people who consume plenty of meat and fish products are able to maintain healthy vitamin B12 levels, but only until they reach their 50s and 60s.

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that is crucial for brain health, yet most senior citizens don’t get enough of it.

It’s ironic that at the time when it’s most needed, when symptoms of dementia begin to surface, vitamin B12 supplementation is wildly under-prescribed.

Many doctors erroneously believe that symptoms such as slow thinking, memory problems, confusion, and dizziness are just natural elements of aging, and don’t bother to check for vitamin B12 deficiency, which can produce the exact same symptoms as Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Painful numbness and tingling
  • Muscle pain and spasms
  • Decreased control of arm and leg movements
  • Difficulty sitting upright
  • Poor balance
  • Chronic pain from osteoporosis
  • Increased risk for heart attacks and stroke

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

Vitamin B12 deficiency in seniors

As you age, your ability to digest vitamin B12 from food sources decreases. This happens for several reasons; for one, seniors produce fewer stomach acids than younger individuals, making it harder for your body to break down essential vitamin B12 molecules and separate them from their proteins.

Also, some medications can lead to vitamin B12 malabsorption. Acid reflux drugs, such as protein pump inhibitors (PPIs), in addition to diabetes medications, and pain relievers can, over time, increase your chances for developing vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.

Additionally, as your appetite decreases with age, so does your consumption of essential nutrients, including meaty sources of vitamin B12, thus escalating your risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in old age, doctors recommend taking at least 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 supplementations, or more, as needed to replenish vitamin B12 levels and restore energy and mental focus.

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:

Prevent Dementia: 12 Natural Vitamins and Herbs

Can B12 deficiency Cause Dementia? Some Helpful Facts

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

Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos

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