Recent studies have shown that up to 40% of the population may have B12 levels that range from low to shockingly low. Perhaps even more frightening, a B12 deficiency can contribute to brain shrinkage, a condition associated with decreased brain function. According to a University of Oxford study, research is linking B12 deficiency with, among other negative consequences, Alzheimer’s disease. The Oxford two-year randomized clinical trial is the largest to study the effect of B vitamins on mild cognitive impairment, and one of the first disease-modifying trials in the Alzheimer’s field to show positive results in humans.
This water soluble vitamin is vitally important to the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system. That’s likely one reason that, along with vitamin B6, it is referred to as the brain vitamin. Of course, it plays a key role in other bodily functions, too. In the formation of blood, in the metabolism of every cell, and in the synthesis of DNA and fatty acids. Vitamin B12 is touted to be the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin currently known.
So what can you do? If you eat meats and yogurt, they can be sources, although due to common intestinal ailments any are unable to absorb vitamin B12 from their intestines. Patches that deliver B12 are available; as are injections of B12, but few people really want to go that route long term. B12 can be found in some fortified cereals, as well.
Fay B. Castro
Rocklin, CA (916) 709-4935