The Vitamin Deficiency That Could Lead to Cognitive Decline and Early Dementia
Loss of cognition and the ability to form new memories affects the daily lives of an ever-increasing number of aging adults. Often this decline is the first sign of dementia and can lead to more serious illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease. Many forward thinking practitioners and alternative health researchers are finding that suboptimal nutrition status over the course of many years and decades, in combination with exposure to toxic environmental and household chemicals and pollutants directly contribute to brain health deterioration and serious disease.
Circulating Vitamin B12 Levels are Associated with Cognition and Memory
A study group from Tufts University in Medford, MA has published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that shows how being mildly vitamin B12 deficient could be an indication that some older adults are at a greater risk for accelerated cognitive decline.
Many aging adults receive minimal amounts of vitamin B12 from their diet, and have limited ability to metabolize what they do consume. Eating highly processed foods over the course of a lifetime leads to extreme vitamin B12 deficiency that affects chemical and electrical signaling in the brain.
To setup their study, researchers analyzed data from 549 men and women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study with an average age of 75 years. Blood samples were drawn and the participants were divided into five groups based on their vitamin B12 levels. The team administered the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a short list of questions often used to screen for dementia (five tests given over a period of eight years), to each group member to assess general cognitive status.
Supplement with Methylcobalamin, the Active Form of Vitamin B12 to Preserve Memory and Cognition
The researchers found that participants in the lowest two groups experienced significantly accelerated cognitive decline. The lead study author, Dr. Martha Morris noted “Rapid neuropsychiatric decline is a well-known consequence of severe vitamin B12 deficiency, but our findings suggest that adverse cognitive effects of low vitamin B12 status may affect a much larger proportion of seniors than previously thought.” The team found that scores dropped an average of .24 points per year on average, but those in the lowest two-fifths dropped by .35 points each year, a significant decline that is associated with a decline in memory and normal thought processes.
Dr. Morris concluded, “While we emphasize our study does not show causation, our associations raise the concern that some cognitive decline may be the result of inadequate vitamin B12 in older adults, for whom maintaining normal blood levels can be a challenge.” As absorption from food can be an issue for many aging adults, it is best to supplemental with the bioactive type of vitamin B12 known as methylcobalamin, taken in a sublingual form (1 to 5 mg per day) to preserve memory and cognitive function.
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John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
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