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.
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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:
- 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.
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