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Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to brain loss

Note from Carolyn:
As many of you know I have a special interest in Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia. I have a family history of it and I want to keep a close idea on my health - specifcally regarding my brain. I make sure I get plenty of the B vitamins.Through studies like this one we can push back the onset of Alzheimer's and still live a long and productive life. That is my goal!
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A study, published in the prestigious journal Neurology, used M.R.I. scans to measure brain volume and blood tests to record vitamin B12 levels.1 They divided the subjects into three groups, based on their level of the vitamin, and followed them for five years with annual scans and physical and mental examinations.

The group with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 lost twice as much brain volume as those with the highest levels. The difference was significant, even after controlling for initial brain size, age, sex, education, cognitive test scores and various measures of blood chemistry.

Vitamin B12 is crucial to brain function and the overall health of your nervous system. It’s the engine behind your body’s ability to make blood. Every cell in your body uses it to convert fuel into energy. It’s also the key to DNA synthesis and regulation, and enables your body to produce life-giving fatty acids.

If you don’t get sufficient amounts, you’re in for problems, including:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Poor nerve function
  • Diarrhea
  • Memory loss

While the author of the study didn’t go so far as to recommend you run out and get your B12 supplements, I suggest you do. It’s done wonders in my medical practice.

Some folks come to me with serious health concerns. With a few simple adjustments in diet and supplements focusing on B12, I’m usually able to make their concerns disappear—forever.

Here’s another thing about B12: it powerfully lowers levels of homocysteine, one of the key indicators for heart health.

That’s because — at high enough levels — homocysteine provokes an inflammatory response across every system in your body, blood vessels included.

In the past, medicine has completely overlooked this key factor in heart health, focusing instead on cholesterol. That’s a real shame, because the fact is that homocysteine’s the real culprit. And its consequences are entirely preventable.

In fact, all folks really need to keep homocysteine levels in check is to get about 500 mcg of B12 per day.

Lean meats—particularly grass-fed beef—and organ meats are a great source of B12. Here’s a list of other good sources:


Amounts (mcg)

Mollusks, clams, cooked, 3 oz


Liver, beef, braised, 1 slice


Trout, rainbow, wild, cooked, 3 oz


Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 oz


Beef, top sirloin, lean, choice, broiled, 3 oz


Haddock, cooked, 3 oz


Tuna, white, canned in water, drained solids, 3 oz


Milk, 1 cup


Bottom line: get your B12, not only to keep your brain in shape, but to keep homocysteine levels low and promote cardiovascular health.
Al Sears, MD

1.Vogiatzoglou et al. “Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly.” Neurology. 2008. 71:826-832.

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