Study Links B12 Deficiency With Low Cognition In Older Persons
Few of us will eat liver, and there are some good health reasons, as well as taste and texture concerns, why. But there are other natural sources of vitamin B12 that may not be so objectionable, and if you can get fish, meat, milk, eggs and poultry into your food regimen, you may just want to do that.
Research on blood levels of vitamin B12 among those over the age of 65 has been reported by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in the September 27, 2011 journal of Neurology. In their studies of 121 racially balanced participants from the south side of Chicago, serum markers of vitamin B-12 were taken in order to compare the levels of these markers with performance on neuropsychological tests in 5 cognitive domains. Additionally, about 4.5 years later, researchers measured the total volume of the participants' brains by MRI scan.
Results of the scans showed the presence of B12 deficient markers correlated with smaller brain volume. High levels of B12 deficient markers also correlated with lower cognitive scores. And in the case of the marker homocysteine, the relationship between levels of the marker and loss of cognition was so intimate that for every micromole per liter of homocysteine, the cognitive scores decreased by .03 standardized points.
C. Tangney, PhD, associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center, and lead author of the study said that blood levels of B12 alone were not enough to determine a vitamin deficiency, and for that reason the deficiency markers were studied.
The link between the deficiency of B12 and cognitive decline supports earlier research studies conducted elsewhere. Dr. Tangney sees the need for further research targeted on the potential impact of dietary and/or supplement changes for older populations.
For recommended doses of vitamin B12 by age and by type of disease or disorder, the Mayo Clinic has a wonderful resource.
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