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That finding, reported in Neurology, comes from researchers at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center. They found that older people with blood markers associated with vitamin B12 deficiency had the smallest brains and the lowest scores on tests measuring thinking, reasoning, and memory.
Though the new study doesn't prove that vitamin B12 deficiency caused those problems, older adults are more likely than younger people to have lower levels of vitamin B12, which is found in foods such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals.
They also got blood tests to check their vitamin B12 level and markers of vitamin B12 deficiency, including homocysteine and a substance called methylmalonate.
aged 65 and older living on Chicago's south side. As part of a larger, ongoing aging and memory study, they underwent brain imaging an average of 4.5 years after taking memory and brain function tests.
other age related dementias.
Smith agrees, but adds that elderly people with early evidence of memory impairment should have their homocysteine level checked. If levels are high, medically supervised vitamin B supplementation may be appropriate, he says.
She adds that measuring blood B12 levels is a notoriously poor indicator of vitamin insufficiency in older people.
"We saw much more rapid declines in memory in people who were deficient in B12 as assessed by these more sophisticated markers," Tangney tells Prada Sling Bag For Man WebMD.
Low blood levels of B12 were not directly linked to poorer scores on the brain function tests or reductions in brain volume. But higher levels of the B12 deficiency markers, especially methylmalonate, clearly were, Tangney says.
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Vitamin B12 Supplementation?Brain imaging confirmed that higher levels of homocysteine and methylmalonate were associated with smaller brain size.
The brain naturally shrinks as people age, and it appears that those with the greatest reductions in brain volume are most at risk for Alzheimer's disease and Burberry Handbags Leather
homocysteine," Smith tells WebMD.
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"As we get older our stomachs produce less of the acid that breaks down the vitamin to make it available for absorption," Rush University associate professor of clinical nutrition Christine Tangney, PhD, tells WebMD. "Older people also take more drugs that inhibit absorption, such as [the diabetes drug] Low vitamin B12 levels, as indicated by higher levels of the amino acid homocysteine, was first linked to brain shrinkage in a 2008 study led by Oxford University emeritus professor of pharmacology A. David Smith. research team also reported findings from a small clinical trial showing that people who took supplements containing vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate had less brain shrinkage than people who did not take the supplements.
Low Vitamin B12 May Speed Brain Shrinkage
Earlier this month, the group reported that supplementation also appeared to slow cognitive declines in the same group of high risk patients with early memory loss.
"Ready to eat cereals are one of the best food sources of vitamin B12 for older people because the vitamin does get into the body," Tagney says.
"We found that the vitamin B treatment not only slowed decline, it stopped it in some people with high levels of Burberry Handbags Vintage
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