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Mild Vitamin B12 Deficiency May Increase Risk of Cognitive Decline

Even mild deficiency in vitamin B12 in mature adults may be associated with a higher risk of accelerated cognitive decline. Researchers found that the rate of decline was approximately 30% faster in mature adults who were vitamin B12 deficient.

The study included 549 adults with an average age of 75 who participated in the Framingham Heart Study. The participants were divided into five groups based on their vitamin B12 blood levels.
The researchers then administered tests to evaluate cognitive decline.

They continued testing all of the participants for the next eight years in order to measure the rate of cognitive decline. The researchers found that the scores of the individuals in the lowest two groups dropped 30% more annually compared to the scores of those in the highest three groups.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. It was published in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that is essential to the proper function of the brain, nervous system and formation of red blood cells. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can lead to fatigue, depression and memory lapses.

Food sources of vitamin B12 include liver, turkey giblets, oysters, clams, king crab and whole milk. If your diet is not rich in these products, you might want to consider taking a high quality multivitamin or vitamin B12 supplement.

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