A recent article in Neurology, October 2010, studied the risk of Alzheimer’s disease over a 7-year period showing that those with the highest levels of vitamin B-12 in their blood had the lowest risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to measuring vitamin B-12 levels they measured a marker of Alzheimer’s disease risk called homocysteine, and the active form of B-12, holotranscobalamin. Those that had the highest levels of holotranscobalamin had the lowest levels of homocysteine. For each measurable increase in homocysteine levels there was a 16% increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, whereas each measurable increase in the active form of B-12 (holotranscobalamin) reduced risk 2%. Summary: Taking vitamin B-12 reduces homocysteine levels thereby reducing risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
It has long been understood that B-12 deficiency can cause anemia, neuropathy and, if severe, memory loss which can be irreversible if left untreated. Prevention is your best best to staying healthy as you age. Make sure you take the supplements recommended for older adults to help manage risk since prevention is more efficient than reacting to a deficiency and trying to correct it before it’s too late. Check out my blog on supplements. The link is below.