Wednesday Sep 10, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking
vitamin B12 may help prevent brain shrinkage, according to a new study
published in the journal Neurology.
This is only a possibility because researchers only found
an association between high levels of vitamin B12 and reduced risk of
developing brain shrinkage.
For the study, David Smith and Anna Vogiatzoglou of the
University of Oxford analyzed blood samples from 107 healthy people ages 61 to
87 for the serum level of vitamin B12 and measured their brain volume.
They found low levels of vitamin B12 were associated with
People in the lower
third of vitamin B12 levels were six times more likely to experience brain
shrinkage than those in the upper third.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is not common in developed
But an estimated 10 percent
of people ages 60 or older are deficient of this vitamin due to certain healthy
Those who are at risk of
deficiency include those with health conditions and vegetarians who do not use
Absorption of vitamin B12 requires normal condition in
the digestive system including the stomach, pancreas and small intestine.
Vitamin B12 is found rich in seafood including clams, mussels,
crab and salmon fish.
Low levels are
also found in other animal foods.
plant foods do not contain any vitamin B12.
For this reason, vegetarians need to take vitamin B12 supplements.
The researchers said it is unknown whether taking a
vitamin B12 supplements would prevent brain shrinkage which is linked to
declines in thinking and memory. Because of this, they said it is too early to
recommend taking the vitamin to prevent brain shrinkage.
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