Navigation Links
Could Too Little Vitamin B-12 Shrink the Aging Brain?
Date:9/26/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Too little vitamin B-12 may be associated with smaller brain size and more problems with thinking skills as people age, new research suggests.

And the number of people who suffer from B-12 deficiencies may be greater than thought because current methods for measuring levels of the vitamin may not be accurate, said Christine C. Tangney, lead author of the study published in the Sept. 27 issue of Neurology. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

The researchers assessed the study participants' vitamin levels not only from B-12 levels themselves, but from blood metabolites that are considered markers of B-12 activity (or lack of it) in the tissues.

But the findings aren't nearly enough to start recommending people take B-12 supplements to jumpstart their brains, cautioned Dr. Marc L. Gordon, chief of neurology of Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. Gordon was not involved with the study.

"It's not clear exactly if you have a measurement like this whether it's causal or that lowering the marker will drive a change in the risk," he said.

And unless you're a strict vegan, most people do get enough B-12, which is critical for brain health, from their diet -- mainly from animal-derived products, added Gordon, who is also an Alzheimer's researcher at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y.

B-12 is critical for brain health but can become an issue as people get older because the body becomes less able to absorb it. Also, certain drugs can affect absorption. These include proton pump inhibitors, widely used to reduce stomach acid, and the hugely popular diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage).

The authors of the new study looked not only at B-12 levels but at five different blood markers for the vitamin that indicate "where B-12 is active in the tissues," said Tangney, who is associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

These markers may actually be better indicators of how much B-12 is absorbed in the body than B-12 itself, she added.

In this study of 121 black and white seniors participating in the Chicago Health and Aging Project, volunteers had their blood drawn and tested for B-12 and related metabolites; they also took 17 tests to measure their memory and mental acuity (cognitive skills).

About 4.5 years later, the researchers measured the participants' brain volumes using MRI scans, and checked for other signs of brain damage. High levels of four of the five markers were linked with smaller brain volume and/or lower scores on cognitive tests, compared with people who had lower levels of the markers.

"This suggests that measuring B-12 levels in itself is not enough to tell if a person is deficient or not," Tangney said. "We need to be careful and think about other indicators."

If a person's B-12 levels are borderline normal, it might be reasonable to check other measures, said Gordon.

Tangney said the study results suggest that B-12 deficiencies contribute to brain atrophy (shrinkage), which in turn can contribute to cognitive problems. However, she also warned against making dietary changes or drawing too-firm conclusions from these findings, noting that they were based on data from only a small number of people.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements has more on vitamin B-12.

SOURCES: Christine C. Tangney, Ph.D., associate professor of clinical nutrition, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Marc L. Gordon, M.D., chief of neurology, Zucker Hillside Hospital and Alzheimer's researcher, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, N.Y.; Sept. 27, 2011, Neurology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Could targeting a virus treat a common pediatric brain tumor?
2. New diagnostic imaging for lung cancer could prevent unnecessary surgery
3. Two-Day Dialysis Interval Could Pose Danger: Study
4. Quitting Smoking Could Give Memory a Boost
5. Could Divorce Trigger Hair Loss in Women?
6. Increased responsibility could lead to decreased sexual activity among women
7. BPA alters development of in vitro ova and could increase risk of Down syndrome
8. Test could detect breast cancers earlier in young, high-risk African-American women
9. Could engineered fatty particles help prevent AIDS?
10. Certain Risk Factors Could Spur Heart Failure in Normal-Weight People
11. Proteins could help women avoid thyroid surgery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Could Too Little Vitamin B-12 Shrink the Aging Brain?
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... payment industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry ... The two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Best Buy ... in the United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. Once considered to be a purely ... make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses as a way of creating an ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Battle Creek, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... abuse, joined as sponsor of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table ... held in honor of the city’s history as home to some of the world’s ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws ... a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula ... , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These ... tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen ... and manufacturing of collagen and mineral based medical ... that Bill Messer has joined the ... further leverage the growing portfolio of oral surgery, ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive team ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... the "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or ... protective structures, replacing dumb structures such as vehicle ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... Tests" report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the ... analysis in the report includes the following: ... Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: