Cognitive problems or cognitive deficits or dysfunction, occur when a person has difficulties in processing information, including mental tasks such as attention, thinking, and memory. People who experience severe cognitive problems are encouraged to speak with their doctor and/or social worker about ways to manage their cognitive problems. A recent study reveals that deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to cognitive problems.
Cognitive problems in old age due to deficiency of Vitamin B12
The mediating factors appeared to be white matter lesions and cerebral infarcts in association with the nonspecific marker homocysteine and brain atrophy for the vitamin B12-specific marker methylmalonic acid (MMA).
The Institute of Medicine already recommends B12 supplements for seniors, co-author Martha Clare Morris, ScD, director of nutrition at Rush University Medical Center, noted in an interview with MedPage Today.
“Insufficient vitamin B12 is very common in older people,” she explained. “The older we get we have a decreased ability to absorb vitamin B12 from our diet. Medications can also impair absorption.”
In the study, it was further concluded that supplements did better in holding cognitive declines than placebo among those with high homocysteine levels.
After adjustment for age, sex, education, race, and serum creatinine levels to control renal function problems that could have an impact on homocysteine, all of the B12-related markers affected global cognitive scores.
The estimated effect from each 1 µmol/L higher concentration of a marker ranged from 0.001 to 0.03 standardized units of lower global cognitive score for MMA (P=0.02) and homocysteine (P=0.04).
Higher levels of individual markers were related to lower performance on various cognitive domains.