Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Low Vitamin B12 Levels May Lead to Brain Shrinkage, Cognitive Problems

Older people with low blood levels of vitamin B12 markers may be more likely to have lower brain volumes and have problems with their thinking skills, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center.

Foods that come from animals, including fish, meat, especially liver, milk, eggs and poultry are usual sources of vitamin B12.
The study involved 121 older residents of the South side of Chicago who are a part of the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), which is a large, ongoing prospective Rush a biracial cohort of 10,000 subjects over the age of 65.
The 121 participants had blood drawn to measure levels of vitamin B12 and B12-related markers that can indicate a B12 deficiency. The same subjects took tests measuring their memory and other cognitive skills.
An average of four-and-a-half years later, MRI scans of the participants' brains were taken to measure total brain volume and look for other signs of brain damage.
Having high levels of four of five markers for vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with having lower scores on the cognitive tests and smaller total brain volume.
"Our findings definitely deserve further examination," said Christine C. Tangney, PhD, associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center, and lead author of the study. "It's too early to say whether increasing vitamin B12 levels in older people through diet or supplements could prevent these problems, but it is an interesting question to explore. Findings from a British trial with B vitamin supplementation are also supportive of these outcomes."

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926165852.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Mind+%26+Brain+News%29

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