New studies suggest that low levels of vitamin B12 can lead to cognitive impairment

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that only has a natural source adequate for human consumption in animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs. It is necessary for red blood cell formation, neurological function and proper DNA synthesis. Although the recommended daily allowance is low compared to other vitamins, having a deficiency can be dangerous. In addition to causing fatigue and lack of energy, it can cause irreversible neurological damage.

Possible reasons for a deficiency
Those who do not get enough B12 in their diets because they are strict vegetarians, or those whose bodies have a difficult time absorbing it because of gastrointestinal disorders, must take a dietary supplement to avoid becoming deficient. If an underlying medical problem is responsible for your deficiency, speak to a doctor about the best ways to ensure absorption of this essential nutrient. Otherwise, a vitamin supplement such as Dr. Newton’s Naturals’ Sublingual B-12 should suffice.

Vitamin B12 and cognitive impairment
It’s long been known that B12 deficiencies cause fatigue and the cognitive impairment associated with it. Many experts have also begun linking low levels of the vitamin to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One new study, published in the September 27, 2011 issue of Neurology, has linked low blood levels of B12 markers to lower brain volumes and thinking skills in older people.

The study followed 121 older residents who were part of Chicago’s Health and Aging Project. In the beginning, researchers from Rush University Medical Center measured levels of B12 and B12-related markers in these patients and then tested their memory and cognitive skills.

After over four years, MRI scans were taken to measure brain volume and assess any brain damage. The study found that those with low levels of vitamin B12 tended to have lower scores on subsequent cognitive tests, and their MRI results showed lower brain volumes.

“Our findings lend support for the contention that poor vitamin B12 status is a potential risk factor for brain atrophy and may contribute to cognitive impairment,” explained Dr. Christine C. Tangney, lead author of the study.

The importance of vitamin B12
Many people may be skeptical about recent findings regarding B12. The vitamin has gained recent notoriety that it never had before. Because stores of vitamin B12 in the liver can last someone for five years before she experiences a deficiency, little attention was paid. However, recent findings have shown how important B12 is and how detrimental a deficiency can be.

If there’s any chance you may not be getting adequate levels of vitamin B12, a supplement like Sublingual B-12 would be an important addition to your healthy lifestyle.

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