Numerous medical studies have supported the idea that a deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to problems of mood and memory as well as other neurologic symptoms including Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. Can supplementation of vitamin B12 help support brain function in the elderly? Let’s let the research speak for itself.
Vitamin deficiency is one of the major causes of treatable dementia
In a recent 2016 study Toshihiro Yoshizawa” of the NTT Medical Center in Japan wrote in the journal Brain and nerve: “Vitamin deficiency is one of the major causes of treatable dementia. Specifically, patients suffering from dementia frequently display low serum levels of vitamin B12. (In addition) Folate (Folic Acid) deficiency causes various neuropsychiatric symptoms, which resemble those observed in vitamin B12 deficiency.”(1)
Vitamin deficiency may reduce brain volume
Doctors in India, including that of the Department of Neurology, King George Medical University wrote in the journal Magnetic resonance imaging (2): “We conclude that brain networks associated with cognition control are altered in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency, which partially recover following six weeks of replacement therapy.” The reason for this study’s appearance in an MRI journal was that this research team was able to demonstrate by resting state functional MRI a clinical neuropsychological evaluation in patients with brain networks that appeared to be restoring.
MRI documented brain atrophy was also noted in a 2011 study from researchers at Rush University. The study published in the journal Neurology (3) reported that vitamin B12 deficiency could be responsible for reduced brain volume.
Vitamin deficiency is treatable and may help reverse cognitive decline
A January 2019 study in the International journal of molecular sciences (4) emphasizes the importance of supplementing vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) in early stages of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This research lead by the Institute for Academic Medicine Houston Methodist Research Institute also noted that 20% of people over 70 and 40% of people over age 80 are are vitamin B12 deficient.
Researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (5) say Vitamin B12, folate, and sulfur amino acids (Methionine, cysteine, homocysteine, and taurine) may be modifiable risk factors for structural brain changes that precede clinical dementia and that that both vitamin B12 and total homocysteine concentrations may be related to accelerated aging of the brain.
Body preservation over brain preservation, why Vitamin B12 leaves the brain
A recent study published in the online journal, Public Library of Science One (PLOS One) (6) found that Vitamin B12 levels in the brain are significantly decreased in the elderly. What is interesting in this study is that the researchers suggest vitamin B12 leaves the brain in aging people to help fortify weakened and diminished anti-oxidant levels throughout the body. It is a case of body preservation over brain preservation.
There are many causes of Alzheimer’s Disease – Vitamin deficiency is part of the puzzle
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we approach disease and imbalance by first determining all contributing factors and creating an individualized, patient-centered treatment plan. The latest research has shown that there are a host of factors that can cause and contribute to Alzheimer’s- from environmental toxins to nutrition to heavy metal toxicity and more. Every person has a unique biochemistry which reacts to pollutants and toxins differently, and requires an individualized course of treatment. While the disease may look similar from person to person, we are not treating the disease. We are healing the individual.
In order to determine the unique contributing factors of each individual, we utilize extremely thorough blood and urine tests, as well as a complete examination of every aspect of the body, from mitochondrial function to heavy metal toxicity and more. We then create a personalized care plan based on these findings,which may include treatments such as chelation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, antioxidant nutritional supplements, intravenous vitamins, diet and nutrition.
1 Yoshizawa T1. Treatable Dementia due to Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency. Brain Nerve. 2016 Apr;68(4):407-20. doi: 10.11477/mf.1416200414.
2 Gupta L, Gupta RK, Gupta PK. Assessment of brain cognitive functions in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency using resting state functional MRI: A longitudinal study. Magn Reson Imaging. 2016 Feb;34(2):191-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2015.10.026. Epub 2015 Oct 31
3 Tangney CC, et al “Vitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures: A cross-sectional examination” Neurology 2011; 77: 1276–1282.
4 Román, G. C., Mancera-Páez, O., & Bernal, C. (2019). Epigenetic Factors in Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: MTHFR and CTH Gene Polymorphisms, Metabolic Transsulfuration and Methylation Pathways, and B Vitamins. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(2), 319. doi:10.3390/ijms20020319
5 Hooshmand B, Mangialasche F, Kalpouzos G, Solomon A, Kåreholt I, Smith D, Refsum H, Wang R, Mühlmann M, Ertl-Wagner B, Laukka EJ, Bäckman L, Fratiglioni L, Kivipelto M. Association of Vitamin B12, Folate, and Sulfur Amino Acids With Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging Measures in Older Adults: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 27
6 Yiting Zhang, Nathaniel W. Hodgson, Malav S. Trivedi, Hamid M. Abdolmaleky, Margot Fournier, Michel Cuenod, Kim Quang Do, Richard C. Deth. Decreased Brain Levels of Vitamin B12 in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (1): e0146797 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0146797