Sunday, May 10, 2009

B-VITAMIN COULD BE KEY TO MEMORY LOSS, DEMENTIA

This article was emailed to me from Daily Health News of which I subscribe and was written by Carole Jackson. It focuses on the affects of B 12 on the brain and if it is a prevention to the brain decreasing in size. Enjoy!

Even those among us who'd like to slim down a little might be understandably upset at the thought of losing weight in our brains, but it seems our brains do shrink as we age. Decreases in brain volume are associated with cognitive impairments such as memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The good news is that British researchers recently found that some brain shrinkage may be associated with low levels of B-12 -- which suggest that perhaps supplementing might be a preventive strategy.
ABOUT THE RESEARCH
Several studies have linked B-12 deficits with cognitive decline and dementia. A. David Smith, DPhil, FMedSci, and his colleagues at the University of Oxford, set out to learn more about the association by measuring the amount of bioavailable B-12 in older people. In a five-year longitudinal study, they followed 107 individuals of both genders (mean age 73) with no mental impairments at the start of the study. Participants were given yearly exams that included cognitive tests, MRI scans and blood tests to track the amount of bioavailable B-12.
The researchers found two things. First, those whose B-12 levels were lowest at the start of the study had the most -- and fastest -- brain shrinkage over the five-year period. In addition, brain shrinkage occurred even in those whose plasma B-12 levels were still considered to be within a normal range.
TO SUPPLEMENT OR NOT TO SUPPLEMENT?
The RDA for B-12 is 2.4 micrograms, which can generally be obtained from the effective digestion and uptake of foods like meat, milk, eggs, fish and vitamin-fortified cereals. However, poor diet and, unfortunately, the effects of aging itself lead to depleted B-12 levels.
Now, Dr. Smith and his colleagues are turning their attention to the obvious next question of whether B-12 supplements can reverse or halt the loss of brain volume once it has begun, with a study of elderly people they hope to conclude later this year. Though there is little consensus among the medical community about when B-12 supplements should be prescribed, Dr. Smith believes people over age 50 should have B-12 levels checked every five years or so, and take supplements if the levels are in the low-normal range. Have your B-12 levels checked right away if you notice symptoms of deficiency, which can include tingling and numbness in the extremities in addition to poor memory. Vegetarians and pregnant women and nursing mothers are also at higher risk for low B-12 status, so they too should discuss with their doctor whether supplementation might be advisable. Other people who might have low B-12 levels are those who take proton pump inhibitors and H2 receptor antagonists for prolonged periods.
Source(s): A. David Smith, DPhil, FMedSci, is professor emeritus of pharmacology, founding director of Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) and honorary associate director, MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, at University of Oxford in Oxford, United Kingdom.


Be well,
Carole Jackson Bottom Line's Daily Health News

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1 comment:

  1. This article is really what I'm looking for it,It has full of information about having a healthy brain to prevent Alzheimer disease and age-related memory loss. Thanks for sharing this.

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