Assessment Of Memory Functions
Learning and memory performances of all MCI patients were tested with the use of the German version of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test . Patients were asked to learn a list of 15 words within 5 immediate recall trials followed by a 30-min delayed recall and delayed recognition test. Learning ability was defined as the sum of words learned in all 5 trials delayed recall represented the total number of remembered words after 30 min . For delayed recognition, MCI patients were asked to recognize the 15 original words presented within 35 distractor words subsequent to the delayed recall tests . All testing was conducted by trained staff members according to standard procedures.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency And Falls:
Lest you think that vitamin B12 deficiency is not that big a deal, here is a comment from Lily:
I had five falls in 14 months. There was notable damage each time, including a front lobe concussion. I went to a neurologist. My memory was shot, and I could not focus on anything. He put me through several tests. He was the first physician ever to test my vitamin B12 level. It was very deficient, but I did not have pernicious anemia.
He started me on weekly injections of B12. That was more than two years ago. I have not fallen since and regained my memory.
Sue also discovered that a vitamin B12 deficiency causes mental confusion:
/8vitamin B12 Deficiency Similar To Dementia
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin required for the formation of the blood and the functioning of the nerve system. The problem with this vitamin is that our body cannot produce it, so it has to depend on food sources and supplements for it. The deficiency of the B12 vitamin is common among vegetarians and vegans as this mineral is not found in plant-based food products. Studies suggest that up to 80- 90 per cent of vegans and vegetarians are vitamin B12 deficient. This disorder impacts the human body in several ways. Right from causing vitamin deficiency anaemia to underpins the central nervous system. Many times symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency is confused with dementia due to overlapping signs. This leads to wrong or delayed treatment. Here are four signs of dementia similar to that of B12 deficiency.
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Why Low Vitamin B12 Levels Are Common In Older Adults
To understand how low vitamin B12 levels happen in aging adults, its good to start by learning how the body usually obtains and processes this vitamin.
In nature, vitamin B12 is available to humans only in meat and dairy products. However, in modern times, you can easily get it via a supplement or multivitamin. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms. Experts have estimated that a Western diet contains 5-7 micrograms of vitamin B12, and a multivitamin often contains 12-25 micrograms.
Once you ingest vitamin B12, it is processed by acids and enzymes in the stomach and small intestine. The processed vitamin is then absorbed by the small intestine and stored in the body, especially in the liver.
This stash can actually meet the bodys needs for a few years although vitamin B12 is essential, only a tiny bit is needed every day. So if a healthy person stops taking in vitamin B12, it often takes a few years before the body runs out of it and develops symptoms.
So why does vitamin B12 deficiency particularly affect older adults?
As people get older, their ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases. This is because aging adults often develop problems with the acids and stomach enzymes needed to process the vitamin.
Common risk factors for low vitamin B12 levels in older adults include:
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.
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Who Should Be Checked For Vitamin B12 Deficiency
An older person should probably be checked for Vitamin B12 deficiency if he or she is experiencing any of the health problems that can be caused by low levels of this vitamin.
I especially recommend checking vitamin B12 levels if youre concerned about memory, brain function, neuropathy, walking, or anemia.
To make sure you arent missing a mild vitamin B12 deficiency, you can also proactively check for low vitamin B12 levels if you or your older relative is suffering from any of the common risk factors associated with this condition.
For instance, you can request a vitamin B12 check if youre vegetarian, or if youve suffered from problems related to the stomach, pancreas, or intestine. Its also reasonable to check the level if youve been on medication to reduce stomach acid for a long time.
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.
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Complications Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A lack of vitamin B12 can cause complications.
A lack of vitamin B12 can cause neurological problems, which affect your nervous system, such as:
- vision problems
- loss of physical co-ordination , which can affect your whole body and cause difficulty speaking or walking
- damage to parts of the nervous system , particularly in the legs
If neurological problems do develop, they may be irreversible.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can sometimes lead to temporary infertility, an inability to conceive.
This usually improves with appropriate vitamin B12 treatment.
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency caused by pernicious anaemia, a condition where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your stomach, your risk of developing stomach cancer is increased.
Neural tube defects
If you’re pregnant, not having enough vitamin B12 can increase the risk of your baby developing a serious birth defect known as a neural tube defect.
The neural tube is a narrow channel that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord.
Examples of neural tube defects include:
- spina bifida where the baby’s spine does not develop properly
- anencephaly where a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull
- encephalocele where a membrane or skin-covered sac containing part of the brain pushes out of a hole in the skull
A lack of folate can also cause complications.
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 Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s disease is still not yet established.
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Vitamin Deficiency Is Treatable And May Help Reverse Cognitive Decline
A January 2019 study in the International journal of molecular sciences emphasizes the importance of supplementing vitamin B12 , vitamin B9 , vitamin B6 in early stages of late-onset Alzheimers disease. This research lead by the Institute for Academic Medicine Houston Methodist Research Institute also noted that 20% of people over 70 and 40% of people over age 80 are are vitamin B12 deficient.
Researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association say Vitamin B12, folate, and sulfur amino acids may be modifiable risk factors for structural brain changes that precede clinical dementia and that that both vitamin B12 and total homocysteine concentrations may be related to accelerated aging of the brain.
A July 2020 study added to this by saying: recent advances in epigenetic research have enabled the development of epigenetic clocks, which have greatly enhanced our ability to investigate molecular processes that contribute to aging and age-related disease. These biomarkers offer the potential to measure the effect of environmental exposures linked to dynamic changes in DNA methylation, including nutrients, as factors in age-related disease. They also offer a compelling insight into how imbalances in the supply of nutrients, particularly B-vitamins may influence epigenetic age
There are many causes of Alzheimers Disease Vitamin deficiency is part of the puzzle
Signs And Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
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Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin .
It plays an essential role in the production of your red blood cells and DNA, as well as the proper functioning of your nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods, including meats, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. However, it can also be found in products fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk.
Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly. Youre at risk of deficiency if you dont get enough from your diet or arent able to absorb enough from the food you eat.
- Those whove had surgery that removes the part of the bowel that absorbs B12
- People on the drug metformin for diabetes
- People following a strict vegan diet
- Those taking long-term antacid drugs for heartburn
Unfortunately, symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up, and diagnosing it can be complex. A B12 deficiency can sometimes be mistaken for a folate deficiency.
Low levels of B12 cause your folate levels to drop. However, if you have a B12 deficiency, correcting low folate levels may simply mask the deficiency and fail to fix the underlying problem (
Here are 9 signs and symptoms of a true vitamin B12 deficiency.
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Dr Dawn Harper On Signs Of Vitamin B12 And Vitamin D Deficiency
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A deficiency in B12 can be slow to develop, showing subtle symptoms which appear gradually and intensify over time. The deficiency will be signalled through a host of complications that can manifest in as little as two months. One sign when you brush your teeth, however, could be warning that youve had low levels of B12 for a long time.
Researchers measured B12 levels, as well as pocket depth in the gum and clinical attachment loss, to reflect periodontal status.
According to the data, there was an association between vitamin B12 and risk ratios of tooth loss linked to periodontitis overtime.
Researchers revealed that individuals with chronically low levels of B12 were also at greater risk of severe periodontitis symptoms.
These include bright red, purplish gums, spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth, bad breath, and pus between the teeth.
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Are You At Risk Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
There are many causes for vitamin B12 deficiency. Surprisingly, two of them are practices often undertaken to improve health: a vegetarian diet and weight-loss surgery.
Plants dont make vitamin B12. The only foods that deliver it are meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, and other foods from animals. Strict vegetarians and vegans are at high risk for developing a B12 deficiency if they dont eat grains that have been fortified with the vitamin or take a vitamin supplement. People who have weight-loss surgery are also more likely to be low in vitamin B12 because the operation interferes with the bodys ability to extract vitamin B12 from food.
Conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption, such celiac or Crohns disease, can cause B12trouble. So can the use of commonly prescribed heartburn drugs, which reduce acid production in the stomach . The condition is more likely to occur in older people due to the cutback in stomach acid production that often occurs with aging.
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Causes Of Dizziness And Lightheadedness
Dizziness and lightheadedness can make you feel faint, like you need to pass out. Causes of dizziness, including vertigo- that whirling sensation you may experience while sitting still- may include anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency or low iron, heart disease, or one of several other conditions that share symptoms of nausea, fatigue, and loss of balance.
/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.
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Reversible Health Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia
If youve ever forgotten where you parked your car, lost your keys in your own house, or walked into a room and forgot why you went there, you are not alone. We all have days like that. But often as we get older, forgetfulness tends to cause more than just temporary anxiety. We sometimes jump to the conclusion that we are getting dementia or have Alzheimers disease.
Dementia and Alzheimers disease are words that strike fear into many of us. Growing older, losing our ability to remember, think, reason, speak, or care for ourselves is not the way we want to view our own aging or that of our loved ones.
There are many forms of dementia, including Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers itself does not have a specific test to determine its presence doctors merely rely on a cluster of symptoms to recognize it. Doctors often diagnose dementia as a generalized disorder that affects the brain causing memory loss, confusion, personality changes, and even physical manifestations.
Other symptoms of dementia of various types include:
short-term memory loss loss of sense of direction difficulty recognizing loved ones and familiar faces difficulties walking or moving around
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.
Guest Post: Dementia And Micronutrients
Dementia-related diseases are often associated with low micronutrient levels, as elderly people often eat an unbalanced diet and are more likely to suffer from malabsorption, limiting their intake of essential nutrients. So, what exactly is the relationship between dementia and micronutrients in particular, vitamin B12? Moreover, how might the benefits of a vitamin B12 intake help prevent and even treat dementia?
To help answer these questions we have invited expert Dr Birgit Schiel to guest write this article.
Why Vitamin B12 Deficiency Is Often Missed In Aging Adults
Vitamin B12 deficiency is often missed because the symptoms fatigue, anemia, neuropathy, memory problems, or walking difficulties are quite common in older adults, and can easily be caused by something else.
Also, vitamin B12 deficiency tends to come on very slowly, so people often go through a long period of being mildly deficient. During this time, an older person might have barely noticeable symptoms, or the symptoms might be attributed to another chronic health condition.
Still, a mild deficiency will almost always get worse over time. And even when an older adult has many other causes for fatigue or problems with mobility, its good to fix whatever aggravating factors such as a vitamin deficiency can be fixed.
Unlike many problems that affect aging adults, vitamin B12 deficiency is quite treatable. Detection is the key then make sure the treatment plan has raised the vitamin B12 levels and kept them steady.
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