Low vitamin B12 levels in elders cause brain shrinkage and possible dementia

Dementia and brain shrinkage in elders may be caused by low levels of vitamin B12, a study published in Neurology has found. Researchers at Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago, led by Dr Christine C. Tangney, have looked at 121 elders over the age of 65 from a biracial group of 10,000 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP). The 121 participants had their blood levels of B12 measured, and were given memory and other thinking tests.

After four and a half years, their brains were scanned to measure total brain volume and any signs of brain damage, and the researchers found that those who had vitamin B12 deficiency had the lowest cognitive test scores, as well as smaller brain volumes. However the key to this test was that the researchers measured vitamin B12 deficiency not just by blood levels, but by other markers such as levels of homocysteine (the more homocysteine in the body, the less B12).

This study backs up a British trial documenting the link between B vitamin supplementation and cognitive skills.

Vitamin B12 is found in many foods, including shellfish, poultry, eggs and milk. (Thanks to Natural News)

Source: Neurology

First Published September 2011

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