What Vitamin B12 Cant Do
The Internet is full of articles lauding the use of vitamin B12 to prevent Alzheimers disease, heart disease, and other chronic conditions or reverse infertility, fatigue, eczema, and a long list of other health problems. Most are based on poor or faulty evidence.
Take Alzheimers disease as an example. Although there is a relationship between low vitamin B12 levels and cognitive decline, clinical studiesincluding those involving people with Alzheimers diseasehave not shown improvement in cognitive function, even doses of the vitamin as high as 1000 micrograms.
For now, its best to get enough vitamin B12 to prevent a deficiency, and not look to it as a remedy for what ails you.
Adapted from a Harvard Health Blog post by Patrick Skerrett.
Data Extraction And Synthesis
The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses 2009 statement was used to guide the conduct and reporting of the present systematic review. Data were extracted by two reviewers using the American Dietetic Association’s Evidence Analysis data extraction template, with adjudication by a third reviewer if required. For each study, the following information was extracted: study description participant selection and characteristics inclusion and exclusion criteria subject numbers and withdrawals statistical methods used ascertainment and length of exposure outcome measure characteristics funding arrangements. No attempt was made to contact authors of included studies as only published data were included. A meta-analysis was deemed inappropriate due to the variability of baseline populations, cognitive and vitamin B12 status tests and reported outcome statistics.
/8when To See The Doctor
Along with the above-mentioned symptoms, if your skin looks pale, you feel weak, there is any change in mobility and you often feel breathless then do not waste a minute scheduling your appointment with the doctor. Your physician may recommend getting a blood test to diagnose the possibility of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Based on the report he will suggest changes in the diet or would prescribe supplements accordingly.
Dont Miss: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimers
You May Like: Progressive Aphasia Dementia
Does Supplementation Prevent Alzheimer’s
At this time, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that vitamin B12 supplementation can prevent Alzheimer’s disease from developing. Regardless, research does repeatedly show that good nutrition does make a difference in our brain health, and certain foods are also recommended as part of a brain-healthy diet.
Does Vitamin B12 Increase Nitric Oxide
In conclusion, we suggest that nitric oxide is associated with the serum level of vitamin B12 in patients with megaloblastic anemia. The replacement of vitamin B12 in patients with megaloblastic anemia restored, at least in the early phase of treatment, the significant increase in the levels of nitric oxide.
Recommended Reading: Alzheimer’s Disease Neurotransmitters
Why Vitamin B12 Is Important
The human body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and carry out other functions. The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms a day. Like most vitamins, B12cant be made by the body. Instead, it must be gotten from food or supplements.
And therein lies the problem: Some people dont consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others cant absorb enough, no matter how much they take in. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older people.
Diseases Medications Diet: This Is Why Seniors Are Frequently Affected By Vitamin B12 Deficiency
In 2003, a British study determined that the risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency increases with increasing age. It was shown that 10% of people over age 65 suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency and 20% of test subjects over age 75 suffered from a deficiency. The causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency were generally due either to an inadequate vitamin intake via the diet perhaps in the case of an unbalanced diet and poor appetite or impaired absorption of the vitamin in the gastrointestinal tract due to the natural decrease of the transport protein with age. Illnesses which can in addition impair the absorption of vitamin B12 from the intestines are chronic gastrointestinal illnesses. The administration of diabetes medications such as metformin, and proton pump inhibitors which inhibit the excess formation of gastric acid, also disrupt the absorption of vitamin B12. These factors frequently come together in the case of seniors, especially if they live in a residential facility or nursing home where meals often cannot be prepared according to each residents individual likes or dislikes and thus appetite is a crucial factor for many of these people. Taken together, elderly persons represent a group at risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Don’t Miss: Is Bobby Knight Still Alive
Why Is B12 So Important
Cobalamin is the scientific name of vitamin B12, which is a water-soluble vitamin that resides in the kidneys, liver and other body tissues. Vitamin B12 is needed by the body for a number of reasons including:
- Digestion of foods, usage of iron
- Functioning of the nervous system, development of nerves
- Formation of new cells, functioning of immune system
- Formation and regulation of red blood cells, circulation of blood
- Mood regulation and improving memory function
- Production of adrenal hormones, boosting mental, physical and emotional energy
How To Treat B12 Deficiency
The main goal of B12 deficiency treatment is to increase the level of vitamin B12 in your body. The cause of the B12 deficiency is going to decide the treatment that you will need.
- Taking a supplement or changing your diet will be best if dietary factors are responsible for your B12 deficiency.
- B12 injections will be prescribed to you by your doctor if the deficiency is caused by pernicious anemia or an absorption issue.
- B12 deficiency caused by Crohn’s disease, alcoholism or celiac disease can be treated simply by treating these conditions. You will be asked to start eating a balanced diet as well.
Generally, treatment will solve your deficiency issue. But if you have sustained nerve damage caused by B12 deficiency, it could be irreversible.
You May Like: Where To Buy Jelly Drops For Dementia Patients
Reference Ranges & How To Diagnose Vitamin B
A blood test is required to establish your level of Vitamin B-12. Most lab results will indicated that a normal reference range for B-12 levels is 200 900 ng/L . However, many clinicians believe that 200 ng/L is too low for normal B-12 levels.
Values of less than 200 ng/L are a sign of acute vitamin B12 deficiency. People below 200 are likely to have or develop B-12 deficiency symptoms.
Older adults with vitamin B12 levels between 200 500 ng/L may also have B-12 deficiency symptoms. This is because many older adults have an impaired ability to absorb B-12 from food sources.
Also Check: Does Meredith Get Alzheimers
Symptoms Of A Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Nerve Damage And Memory Disorders
Since vitamin B12 is stored in the liver for a long period, a deficiency in this vitamin develops gradually, over a longer amount of time. The symptoms of deficiency are varied, due to the different functions of the vitamin, and can be dismissed for a long time as a sign of aging. A vitamin B12 deficiency is frequently only identified when the most typical symptom of a vitamin B12 deficiency hyperchromic anemia develops. Hyperchromic anemia is a special form of anemia which develops due to the insufficient proliferation of red blood cells. However, when it becomes noticeable, it is often too late for early diagnosis and treatment. This is because, the neurological damage triggered by the vitamin B12 deficiency may develop much earlier without being noticed and, if it remains untreated for too long, it may be irreversible. The problem: Associating the nonspecific neurological symptoms such as gait unsteadiness, confusion and memory disorders with a possible vitamin B12 deficiency still happens far too rarely and as a result, they remain untreated for a long time. A vitamin B12 deficiency is closely linked to the risk of developing dementia which associates a low vitamin B12 level with memory disorders and early-stage Alzheimers dementia. This is shown in a recent study that establishes a connection between a vitamin B12 level and mild cognitive impairment.
Read Also: Does Diet Coke Cause Dementia
Can A Vitamin B12 Deficiency Cause Cognitive Decline
In older people, cognitive function may decline, and dementia arise. The elderly whether vegetarian or omnivore are vulnerable to B12 deficiency, a factor that can be easily overlooked when symptoms of dementia arise. It is estimated that 10%15% of people over the age of 60 have vitamin B12 deficiency.
Summary Of Included Studies
The studies were from ten countries encompassing the areas of North America , Europe , the UK , Asia and Israel , and assessed a total of 14 325 subjects. Subject ages ranged from 47 to 101 years with a mean sample size of 409 subjects , followed for a mean of 5·4 years .
27. limit 26 to
28. limit 27 to middle aged
Don’t Miss: Alzheimer Vs Dementia Vs Senility
/8how Much Vitamin B12 You Must Consume
The amount of vitamin B12 you need in a day varies from age. The average daily recommended amounts, measured in micrograms are:
Kids age 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
Children age 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
Teens age 14-18: 2.4 mcg
Adults: 2.4 mcg
Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 2.6 mcg per day if pregnant and 2.8 mcg per day if breastfeeding
Controversy Surrounding Vitamin B12 And Folate
There are some studies to suggest that vitamin B12 and folate do not help cognitive decline. While other studies do. In November 2019, in the journal Clinical Nutrition , doctors wrote: Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation did not reduce cognitive decline in older people with Mild cognitive impairment and elevated serum homocysteine, though the cognitive decline over two years in placebo group was small. The paper also noted: The B vitamins supplement led to a significant reduction in depressive symptoms at month 12, though this effect was not sustained. Aspirin use had a negative interaction effect on cognitive functioning with B supplements. So there were factors at play here that lead to a less successful outcome.
Recommended Reading: What Color Represents Alzheimer’s
What Causes No B12 Deficiency
The transmethylation reaction is essential to DNA synthesis and to the maintenance of the myelin sheath by the methylation of myelin basic protein. Active vitamin B12 contains cobalt in its reduced form . Nitrous oxide produces irreversible oxidation to the Co++ and Co forms that renders vitamin B12 inactive.
How Vitamin B12 Deficiency Harms Health
In the body, vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin is especially vital to making red blood cells, and maintaining proper function of nerve cells. When vitamin B12 levels are low, a person can develop health problems related to red blood cells and nerve cells malfunctioning.
The most common problems related to low vitamin B12 levels include:
- Anemia. This means the red blood cell count is low. Red blood cells carry oxygen in the blood, so anemia can cause fatigue or shortness of breath. The breakdown of faulty red blood cells can also cause jaundice.
- Neuropathy. This means that nerves in the body are not working well. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including tingling, numbness, burning, poor balance, and walking difficulties.
- Cognitive impairment. This means that nerve cells in the brain are not working well. This can cause memory problems, irritability, and even dementia.
You may have heard that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause pernicious anemia. But in fact, the term pernicious anemia means a specific vitamin B12 deficiency caused by the loss of a bodys ability to make intrinsic factor. The body needs intrinsic factor to absorb vitamin B12 without it, vitamin B12 levels eventually drop. This often causes anemia, but sometimes symptoms of nerve and brain problems occur first.
Don’t Miss: Dementia Ribbon Colour
Vitamin B12 And Folate In Relation To The Development Of Alzheimers Disease
- Daniele Fricke
We read with interest the article by Wang et al. on the association of low serum levels of vitamin B12 and folate with Alzheimers disease occurrence. We think that it is difficult to establish a clinical diagnosis of AD in patients with deficiency of vitamin B12 or folate. ADin this situation could be hardly differentiated from other kinds of dementia particularly from dementia associated with B12 deficiency and vascular dementia.
Cobalamin is a co-factor in several metabolic pathways and its deficiency may be associated with dementia. The authors have controlled the hemoglobin levels. Nevertheless the dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency may not be accompanied by anemia. Dementia maybe the sole manifestation of cobalamin deficiency. The most important pathway in the nervous system that is adversely affected by cbalamin deficiency involves the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Demyelination clearly plays a major role in the neuropathogensis of cobalamin deficiency and cognitive changes can occur as a result of central demyelination. Furthermore,it was recently showed that high levels of homocystein are associated with poor word recall in the elderly. High homocysteinemia can be caused by deficiencies of folate or vitamin B12.
We think that the relation between vitamin B12 and folate and the development of Alzheimers disease is still not yet established.
Read Also: What Is The 7th Stage Of Alzheimers
Vitamin B12 Linked To Lower Alzheimers Risk
Study Suggests Vitamin B12 May Reduce Levels of an Amino Acid Linked to Alzheimerâs
Oct. 18, 2010 — Vitamin B12 may help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease, according to new evidence that suggests the vitamin and an amino acid called homocysteine may both be involved in the development of Alzheimerâs.
High levels of vitamin B12 in the blood are already known to help reduce levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and stroke. But researchers say the relationship between homocysteine and vitamin B12 levels and Alzheimer’s disease risk has been unclear.
The seven-year study followed 271 Finnish people ages 65 to 79 who did not have any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at the start of the study.
During the study, published in Neurology, 17 people developed Alzheimerâs disease. Researchers found that each picomolar increase in blood vitamin B12 level was associated with a 2% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease among the elderly.
In addition, each micromolar increase in blood homocysteine level raised the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 16%.
Blood levels of folate, another nutrient believed to lower homocysteine levels, were not linked to Alzheimer’s disease risk.
“The few studies that have investigated the usefulness of vitamin B12supplements to reduce the risk of memory loss have had mixed results,â says Hooshmand.
Don’t Miss: Difference Between Dementia And Senility
Is It Alzheimer’s Disease Or Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Claudia Chaves, MD, is board-certified in cerebrovascular disease and neurology with a subspecialty certification in vascular neurology. She is an associate professor of neurology at Tufts Medical School and medical director of the Lahey Clinic Multiple Sclerosis Center in Lexington, Massachusetts.
As the name suggests, vitamin B12 deficiency is when there is not enough of the B12 vitamin in your body. This can cause a multitude of symptoms, including a cognitive decline.
Does Supplementation Prevent Alzheimers
At this time, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that vitamin B12 supplementation can prevent Alzheimers disease from developing. Regardless, research does repeatedly show that good nutrition does make a difference in our brain health, and certain foods are also recommended as part of a brain-healthy diet.
Read Also: Andrea Mitchell Drunk
Vitamin B12 And Its Tasks In The Nervous System
Vitamin B12 carries out many important tasks in our metabolism and, among other things, it plays a crucial role in protecting our nerves. This is true in a literal sense. Without cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12, the myelin sheaths cannot form. These surround our nerve fibers and, similar to cable insulation, they ensure proper transmission of information contained in the nerve currents. The layers surrounding the nerve fibers are used on all nerve strands, not least in the central nervous system by the spinal cord and brain as well. A sufficient vitamin B12 intake thus ensures proverbial good nerves. The vitamin also plays a role in the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters. If it is lacking, our nerves are thus laid bare. In the long run, there are faulty transmissions of information and thus noticeable symptoms such as abnormal sensations or, not least of all, impaired memory. These abnormal sensations, as they are otherwise referred to, are physical sensations and are not in a causal sequence with the psychological impairments.
Vitamin Deficiency Is One Of The Major Causes Of Treatable Dementia
Lets start off with a November 2020 paper in the medical journal Nutrients. A diet rich in antioxidant vitamins can improve the cognitive functions of patients. Thanks to an adequate intake of B vitamins, homocysteine levels are reduced, which indirectly protects against the development of the disease. A properly balanced diet, as well as the use of appropriate supplementation, can contribute to improving the clinical condition of patients with Alzheimers Disease.
A recent study published in the journal Brain and nerve suggests that: Vitamin deficiency is one of the major causes of treatable dementia. Specifically, patients suffering from dementia frequently display low serum levels of vitamin B12. Folate deficiency causes various neuropsychiatric symptoms, which resemble those observed in vitamin B12 deficiency. Folic Acid is the synthetic form of Folate, it is also called vitamin B9. Most of you will recognize the importance of folic acid in prenatal care. Folic acid is also important in helping to make red blood cells that bring oxygen to the brain. It is often suggested to people suffering from anemia.
Recommended Reading: Neurotransmitter Alzheimers