October 20, 2010
Low B12 Boosts Alzheimer's Disease Risk?

Low vitamin B12 and high serum homocysteine are associated with higher risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

The odds ratio for developing Alzheimer's disease after about seven years was increased, at 1.16 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.31) for each 1 μmol/L elevation in baseline homocysteine, according to Babak Hooshmand, MD, of Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues.

In contrast, for each 1 pmol/L increase in the baseline level of the vitamin B12 fraction holotranscobalamin (holoTC), the odds ratio for later Alzheimer's disease was decreased, at 0.980 (95% CI 0.965 to 0.995), the investigators reported in the Oct. 19 issue of Neurology.

This is not the first research report to make this connection. However, since one cause of lower serum B12 is poorer intestinal absorption lower B12 might be a sign of an especially aged digestive tract and poorer general nutritional state. The impaired digestive tract might boost Alzheimer's risk via mechanisms other than via B12 deficiency.

If you are older it still would be prudent to get your blood B12 level checked. Deficiency of B12 is harmful to health for other reasons aside from Alzheimer's risk. Periodic B12 injections can get around the absorption problem.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 October 20 11:22 PM  Aging Diet Brain Studies


Comments
Brian said at October 21, 2010 8:01 AM:

Yes, malabsorption is an issue. Too little or low-quality protein is another (meat is an excellent source of b12), which can be compounded by the malabsorption issue. The standard American diet (SAD) contains way to much wheat. The gluten in wheat (any grain, really) wreaks havoc, which leads to malabsorption. And no, having Celiac is not a requirement for gluten sensitivity (in case you were wondering).

Mike said at October 22, 2010 12:30 PM:

Just like to point out that sublingual b12 also works if you have pernicious anemia as I do. I've been using it for 10+ years, first from Trader Joe's and now from Costco.

Mike

Susan said at October 22, 2010 1:56 PM:

IMHO, far better than standard B12 (cobalamin) is methylcobalamin, which is retained by the body because it's not water-soluble. It is not terribly expensive, and you won't need those expensive and inconvenient B12 shots, the benefits of which only last briefly anyhow, since they are flushed out by the body. You can buy sublingual tabs of methylcobalamin at any vitamin supplement store, real or virtual (Trader Joes' unfortunately, only sells cobalamin) 1,000 mg daily (or even a few times a week) will have your B12 levels rising in short order.

They way you take B12 also plays a role in its absorption. B12 of either form should be taken ALONE (or with a little B6/folic acid) and not in a multi-B vitamin or any multi-vitamin for optimal results. Especially contra-indicated is to take it within an hour of taking calcium (or dairy products). Take it on an empty stomach.

george best, m.d. said at October 22, 2010 2:39 PM:

i tried to post but it was rejected. why ?

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