Vitamin B12 may prevent brain shrinkage

by Staff
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SAINT PAUL, MINN. — Vitamin B12 may protect against brain volume loss in older adults, according to a study published in Neurology, the medial journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Many factors that affect brain health are thought to be out of our control, but this study suggests that simply adjusting our diets to consume more vitamin B12 through eating meat, fish, fortified cereals or milk may be something we can easily adjust to prevent brain shrinkage and so perhaps save our memory," said Anna Vogiatzoglou, author of the study with the University of Oxford. "Research shows that vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among the elderly, so more vitamin B12 intake could help reverse this problem. Without carrying out a clinical trial, we acknowledge that it is still not known whether B12 supplementation would actually make a difference in elderly persons at risk for brain shrinkage."

The study looked at 107 people between 61 and 87 who went through brain scans, memory tests and physical exams. Blood samples also were collected to check vitamin B12 levels. Similar tests were performed again five years later.

The study found people who had higher vitamin B12 levels were six times less likely to have brain shrinkage than those who had lower levels of the nutrient in their system.

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