Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Excerpt from Daily Health News Email
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is vital for the day-to-day metabolic processes of cells. It affects the development and maintenance of red blood cells, nerve cells, and normal myelination (covering) of nerve cells, and it aids in the production of DNA and RNA, and the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
A study, published in the journal Public Library of Science One, found that B vitamins — folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 in particular — affect the levels of homocysteine in the brain and help slow the rate of brain shrinkage.
The average brain shrinks at a rate of 0.5 per cent a year after the age of 60. The brains of those with mild cognitive impairment shrink twice as fast. Alzheimer's patients have brain shrinkage of 2.5 per cent a year. This is why researchers believe Vitamin B12 is important in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
We can obtain vitamin B12 only from animal foods, including dairy, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and shellfish, so vegetarians and vegans are often at risk for B12 deficiency.
Those on chronic acid-suppressing medications, some oral contraceptives and certain blood pressure medications like hydrochlorothiazide are at risk for vitamin B12 depletion.
In addition, older people may lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food & need to take it in supplemental form to maintain adequate levels.