Cognitive problems in old due to deficiency of B12


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 include difficulties in many areas, such as:

  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention/ performing multiple tasks (multitasking)
  • Memory loss or difficulty remembering things (especially problems with short-term memory)
  • Problems with comprehension or understanding
  • Difficulties with judgment and reasoning
  • Impaired arithmetic, organizational, and language skills (such as not being able to organize thoughts, find the right word, or balance a checkbook)
  • Behavioral and emotional changes, such as irrational behavior, mood swings, inappropriate anger or crying, and socially inappropriate behavior (dis-inhibition)

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12
, also called cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin, which plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is one of the eight B vitamins. It is normally involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, especially affecting DNA synthesis and regulation, but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production. As the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin, it can be produced industrially, only through bacterial fermentation-synthesis. Vitamin B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. Recommended Dietary Allowance ( RDA) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults.

Cognitive problems in old age due to deficiency of Vitamin B12
Low levels of vitamin B12 may contribute to cognitive problems for older adults, according to a study, Christine C. Tangney, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in...

Chicago. Researchers concluded the findings in the Sept. 27 issue of Neurology “Vitamin B12 status may affect the brain through multiple mechanisms.”

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.




2 Responses

  1. Alberto Formella says:

    very pleasant to read, greet

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