Vitamin B12 deficiency linked to memory problems
September 26th, 2011
04:49 PM ET

Vitamin B12 deficiency linked to memory problems

There's been a lot of buzz about vitamin B12 in recent years, and here's another reason to pay attention to it:

A new study finds that a deficiency in vitamin B12 is associated with memory and thinking problems, as well as brain shrinkage. The research is published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers did not prove that low vitamin B12 levels cause these cognitive abnormalities, but they did find a strong association with markers of deficiency, said study co-author Dr. Martha Morris of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The theory is that adequate levels of vitamin B12 is necessary for the brain's myelin sheath, an insulating layer around nerves. When the sheath gets damaged, impulses between transmitted along nerve cells slow down.

Vitamin B12 is found in meats, fish, shellfish and dairy products, and some cereals are fortified with it. People over 65 in particular may need B12 supplements because older patients' bodies have a harder time absorbing this vitamin.

Researchers looked at 121 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project. They looked at both serum levels of vitamin B12 and markers of vitamin B12 deficiency.

The study found that methylmalonate, a marker of vitamin B12 deficiency, is associated with a reduction of brain volume and so may contribute to cognitive problems. Homocysteine, an amino acid associated with low B12 levels as well as folate, was linked to thinking problems through a different mechanism involving abnormal white matter signals (as seen on certain kinds of MRIs).

There aren't a lot of data on using these markers clinically for the purposes of testing the health of older patients, said Dr. James Lah, neurologist at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, who was not involved in the study. The study points to them as potentially helpful, but more research needs to be done, he said.

The study did not find an association between the serum B12 levels of participants and the likelihood of brain problems. Morris said that makes sense because while low levels negatively affect the brain, high levels above normal aren't necessarily better than adequate levels.

"There’s a level we should all have, and if you fall below that, it could cause problems," she said.

Quantifying that level is up for debate, but the National Institutes of Health offers  guidelines for recommended vitamin B12 intake at various ages.

Morris and colleagues did not look at this phenomenon in Alzheimer's patients, but a small 2010 study in Neurology found that people who tended to eat vitamin B12-rich foods are less likely to develop Alzheimer's than those who did not. Vitamin B12 deficiency has not been shown to be directly involved in the pathology of Alzheimer's in the brain, but it may aggravate the brain in other ways that could lead to Alzheimer's. "We can't discount its involvement," Lah said.

soundoff (562 Responses)
  1. B12 and autoimmune disease

    What this article completely fails to tell its readers is that the vast majority of B12 insufficiency is caused by autoimmune disease. These people eat plenty of B12 but can't absorb it because their body attacks the cells lining the stomach that make a protein necessary for binding and transporting B12 into the blood for distribution. Symptoms of advanced disease resulting from B12 insufficiency include numbness in both feet and later in the hands as well, especially when the neck is bent downwards. Having these problems? Luckily, B12 insufficiency and autoimmune disease against the cells is a simple blood test. Go see your G.P. for evaluation. There's even a treatment since B12 absorbed from a patch through the skin goes directly into the blood, bypassing the need for the specialized protein fro the stomach.

    September 26, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valentijn

      There's a lot of high dose sublingual B12 on the market. I've got a disease where B12 makes a huge difference, and I can say with certainty that the sublingual stuff really works (or works well enough).

      September 27, 2011 at 02:35 | Report abuse |
    • good info

      Thanks! I've always attributed my foot numbness to cervical disc problems that are aggravated when looking down. I'll try this.

      September 27, 2011 at 08:38 | Report abuse |
    • GRa

      I self diagnosed my B12 deficiency. I felt very lethargic, my legs were heavy and yes – I noticed I couldn't think straight anymore at certain times. Now I take shots and I can definitely tell the difference.

      September 27, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
    • Cyanocobalamin

      Thank you. Since the late 80's, I've had B-12 (Cyanocobalamin) injections every 2-4 weeks because of the deficiency you mention. Sadly, it was nothing an MD would diagnose. After seeing 6 MDs over the course of 10 years who only prescribed antidepressants, I finally I consulted a Naturopathic Doctor who tested me for B-12 deficiency. He also ordered up a Heidelberg test to assess my stomach acid levels. As I recall the ND saying, the same cells that produce stomach acid also enable B-12 absorption, so a person low on stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) will also have difficulty metabolizing B-12. What a difference B-12 injections have made in my life. Likewise, since the same cells produce stomach HCl, taking HCl with pepsin capsules as needed with meals has eliminated any digestive issues I had, including GRD. But good luck getting an MD to test or diagnose the problems, or getting medical insurance to pay for the tests and meds (B-12 and HCl).

      September 27, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
    • MollyMcButter

      The article fails to mention that if a person is taking high, daily doses of a prescription acid reducer/PPI the lack of stomach acid as attributed by the acid reducer will cause a B12 deficiency.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I have pernicious anemia due to inability to absorb the vitamin, but large doses (3,000 mcg = 3 pills) of oral supplements allow me to keep the levels up where they belong while avoiding more invasive methods like injections or a patch. Also, the pills are cheaper.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:13 | Report abuse |
    • Medical Student

      actually a lot of B12 deficiency is caused by prolonged antacid use. A low stomach pH is necessary for intrinsic factor to effectively cleave B12 to its active form

      Autoimmune disease is one possible cause but there are many, many causes of B12 deficiency...

      September 27, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
    • get b12 injections for life

      B12 def as an autoimmune disease is sometimes linked to hypothyroidism, also an autoimmune disease. Lucky me, I have both. Been getting injections for 20yrs, blood tests taken every year to monitor levels, and insurance pays for all.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Dazlinn

      Valentijn, Sublingual B12 does not always work as well as B12 shots. While the serum level may look great, the sublingual B12 isn't always broken down and utilized at a cellular level. You should have your MML (methylmalonate) checked to be sure you don't still have a B12 deficiency. I had this problem.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • carla

      Thank you for bringing this up. I have pernicious anemia, which is one of B12 autoimmune diseases you described. I will be getting B12 shots the rest of my life. So if regular B12 deficiency causes memory problems, is is worse for what I have? It would make sense. I'm a 49 year old student at a university and I am having some memory problems. I even discussed this with my cognitive professor yesterday. It's a concern.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • carla

      @Mike, how is it that you can absorb the 3000mg tabs with pernicious anemIa? I was told (i have the same diagnosis) that I can't take orals because that is why have i have this. I can't absorb.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • Pete schweddy

      You have no idea what you're talking about.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • DougB

      Wow... I'm impressed – a CNN article with meaningful discussions! Save this one for the scrap books, it won't happen very often.

      I do believe I need to get screened – it doesn't happen often, but I definitely see a link now between the position of my neck, mental activity, and slight numbness in my feet or hands. Much appreciated.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • Jason K

      I am 29 years old and have Crohn's, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Psoraisis and have noticed that no matter how I adjust my diet and intake I've notices my short-term memory failing more and more every day but the long term is still sharp as a tack. My Doctors (DOs rather than MDs) have suggested that I receive treatments for Folic Acid, B12 and Iron to combat the deficiencies the diseases cause.

      Auto immune diseases are getting more and more press time, which is good, but much of the information is incomplete at best. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor if you think you have Crohn, Arthritis, Psoraisis, or Gluten intolerance. You're not being a hyperchondriac, your being carful with your life. Especially in a time when these diseases are becoming more prominant because of years of poisoning in our food supply thanks to our friends in the FDA, Monsanto, and Searle.

      September 27, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Mack

      Top ten food highest in B12 http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-vitamin-B12.php

      September 27, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  2. Geraldine

    Is that the best photo you could have used? A bowl of junk food breakfast cereal which has been fortified with a synthetic version of the vitamin, rather than using a photo of a natural source of B12 such as meat and shellfish? No wonder the nation's health is in bad shape if that's the "food" our media and doctors are promoting.

    September 26, 2011 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kelloggs

      You're right, Cheerios are junk food and not healthy at all.

      September 27, 2011 at 08:23 | Report abuse |
    • rachel

      Cheerios are hardly junk food. I consider the meat and dairy most people consume to be "junk" food. I'm a vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs, or any animal products) who consumes around 500% B12 a day. It is fortified in everything from cereal to oatmeal to non-dairy milks, etc etc. Getting enough B12 is no issue at all, even for vegans and their "junk" foods.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Im pretty sure (I guess not 100%) that any doctor did not have anything to do with picking the picture for this article.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • ana

      I agree with you. Cheerios and processed carbs should not be in the market.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • Jason K

      I don't know, its been a long while since I last ate them so maybe its changed. But I remember Cheerios still have the same High Fructose Corn Syrup and Modified Food Starch that all the other delicious GMO cereals had...so yeah, junk that's not worthy to even be called food.

      September 27, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  3. Larry5

    The synthetic B12 in that cereal is not well absorbed in the human stomach. Overall you might get a better meal out of the cardboard box it came it except for the lead in the colors. Just make sure that when you pour the cereal that you wear gloves.

    September 26, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • asdf

      Brilliant reply! So true!

      September 27, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
    • Tacosonthebrain

      Myth Busters busted the myth about the cardboard box being healthier than the cereal. Just saying. 😉

      September 27, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
    • Heid Theba

      Contrary to popular belief the human stomach is not an absorptive organ and its mucosa does not posses cells with the necessary transport processes to accomplish this. Vitamin B12 is actually absorbed in the terminal ileum and loss of this region of the small intestine also contributes to the development of B12 deficiency; following this, when your liver stores of B12 run out, you will develop pernicious anemia. This process takes 1-2 years to occur once you stop absorbing B12 from the GI tract. .

      September 27, 2011 at 12:13 | Report abuse |


    September 26, 2011 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • really?

      DAMN MY PERSONAL DEFICIENCIES FOR MAKING GM FOOD! I wish I could be a better person and therefore make less genetically modified food.
      Perhaps you meant attributed, not contributed? if so I would ask who attribues our deficiencies to GM food? where are the studies by reasonable(or at least not crazy) scientists or doctors?

      September 27, 2011 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
    • Lenny

      GM food that makes it out of regulatory gauntlet is safe. It also has the same nutritional value as non-modified food, unless it was specifically modified to have higher nutritional value. In which case it's higher.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You do know that we have been genetically selecting our food since the dawn of Humanity don't you? Also bacteria have been making GM food for millions of years more than we have.

      September 27, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  5. free2do

    Study probably funded by the beef and dairy industry.

    September 27, 2011 at 07:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jon

      Conspiracy theories: typical comments left by those with B vitamin deficiency.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
    • Elexsor

      @Jon: LOL.. funny response. Thanks for the laugh.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
  6. douglas james

    That is why I cannot take my B12, I keep forgetting.

    September 27, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      haha. nice

      September 27, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • cz452

      I'm going to start taking B12. Maybe that will help.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  7. mrlewish

    Why are they showing a bowl of cereal? That is not where you get B12. You get it from meat... liver especially.

    September 27, 2011 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mmmm

      You can get it from other sources. I'm a vegetarian and I get enough B-12.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • Heid Theba

      @mmmm – you might want to have this checked out periodically. Vegetarians and especially vegans have issues with B12 because it does not occur naturally in the plant "kingdom". Remember, the symptoms of B12 deficiency can take a few years to develop, so even if you are asymptomatic now, it doesn't mean you're not becoming B12 deficient over time.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
  8. Ainos

    Something has to be influencing B-12 absorption, since my teenage daughter came out deficient in her blood test and she eats plenty of meat and animal products.

    September 27, 2011 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      You should get your physician to go a Schilling test. She could be deficient in Intrinsic Factor or Transcobalamin II.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • get b12 injections for life

      there is an enzyme in the stomach called intrinsic factor. This enzyme helps break down the b12 so that it can be stored in the liver. If your daughter is missing this enzyme, she will not be able to store b12 in the liver no matter how much meat or supplements she takes. Monthly injections for life are called for when instrinsic factor is missing.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • travelerkate

      Same thing happened to me. I have celiac disease, so even though I'm eating the right foods, when I'm eating gluten my body can't absorb the B12. If she has stomach problems this might be something to look into, but be sure to get the test results printed out. The first 2 doctors didn't even run the proper blood tests (you can google which ones, I think IGA, but I can't remember).

      September 27, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
  9. Sharp

    General rule of thumb; If it's food & advertised on TV, DON'T BUY IT!! IT"S POISON.

    September 27, 2011 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jack

      Name one kind of food that has never been advertised on TV. They advertise for corn, for beans, for beef, for pork, for chicken... and even if I take what you said less literally, the mega-farms that can afford to run national commercials have passed FDA inspections, whereas the "organic", "locally-grown" products that are produced in towns like mine haven't. (In fact, the products are usually smaller, sometimes have pests, and offer a decent risk of diseases like salmonella.) The small farms are far more likely to take shortcuts – if not out of necessity, then out of convenience.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
    • Jason K

      @ Jack

      You just mentioned the problem when you typed three letters "FDA". They do not conduct studies or do any research. They simply accept studies of others as true or not. Look in to the studies done on Aspartame, and that was pushed though.

      September 27, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
  10. steve


    September 27, 2011 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RandomMD

    This is hardly new news. This was taught in med school >15 years ago.

    September 27, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NotEverybodyIsADoctor

      Sure, you went to medical school. Not everybody did. Some of us went on to become engineers, teachers, and other professionals.

      Looks like the doctors/MDs' from medical school are not dispensing their knowledeg properly – based on the comments of other people who posted that their condition was not diagnosed.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
    • carla

      It is news for those of us who didn't attend med school..

      September 27, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • travelerkate

      Rats, I can't believe my BA in Political Science and English didn't cover this. Stupid public schools, not teaching everyone the med school basics...

      September 27, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
  12. b-12 deficient

    I was diagnosed with a b-12 deficiency a few years ago when my doctor had general blood tests run. I had no symptoms. He had me go to a hemotologist who told me to take the b-12 supplement that dissolves under the tongue once a day – for that instant absorbstion benefit – like a shot or patch, but much easier and cheaper. You can get it at Trader Joe's and probably other places. From what the hemotologist told me there are more things your body has to do than just make the protein in your stomach to process b-12 from food. I have the protein in my stomach, but still wasn't getting enough even with all the beef, fish and dairy I eat regularly. With the supplement my levels are perfect. And according to my doctor, you can't get too much b-12 but too little can cause permanent neurological problems over time.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Clay

    I had a general complaint to my MD about lack of energy and was completely ignored. I was so tired all the time I only desired to get my next chance to get a nap. I found B12 to bring me back to normal. I take oral vitamin B12 1000mcg under the tongue morning and night. Worked a miracle in my life.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ana

      Vitamin B complex helps a lot. I was told by a friend and since I have been taking it I feel much better. Try to get the natural source of vitamin B Complex, I get the NewChapter since I'm told they use real food. Whole Foods or vitacost has this brand.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
  14. asdf

    Best source of B12? Raw liver from bison/buffalo, elk or beef. It must be frozen for 2 weeks to ensure eradication of all parasites. Cooking reduces vitamin levels. So it eat raw. It does not taste bad if you're not eating junk food. You need very little as the B12 content is very high. Mix it in with your food and you won't even taste it. Just don't heat it! For vegans, Red Star makes a B12 nutritional yeast that is fortified. But I doubt if that's anywhere near as effective as liver. And vegans should realize that nobody is really a vegan. We all consume animals – vegans just don't realize it because the animals they consume are smaller. Your mouth as millions if not billions of bacteria in it. Nobody is really vegan. And....if you do not consume animal products (all B12 comes from animal products), sooner or later you WILL die after suffering severe brain damage. Veganism is unsustainable. The key to health is a very low protein, low fat (zero fried or cooked oils of course) diet with small amounts of animal protein as well as nuts, seeds and protein content in the myriad of other foods we consume.

    Fast track to health: Wait until you're hungry – NEVER snack. Think of the one fruit/vegetable/protein/starch food you crave at that moment. Eat it til you're full. By food, I mean a single food – nothing combined. The food you crave (if you're not eating processed food) is the food your body needs for its nutritional needs at that moment. Wait a few hours and do it again. You will need less as your absorption of nutrients is improved, your energy levels skyrocket as your body is not burdened with digestion issues (much easier to digest a single food), almost zero meal preparation, almost zero meal cleanup, perfect bowel movements – the list goes on and on. Drink water between meals. Condiments are a crutch. You will enjoy your food more than ever before. And it works perfectly with weekly water fasting.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rachel

      Bacteria is not an animal, just an fyi.

      September 27, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Eh – I think your metabolism will thank you for eating small meals more often than for starving and binging.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      The thought of liver and its function makes me want to puke, there is no way I would eat it. I'm not a vegetarian, but there are many people on the planet that are, like in India. Last time I checked they are educated and getting our old jobs, not brain damaged.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
    • mmmm

      "The food you crave (if you're not eating processed food) is the food your body needs for its nutritional needs at that moment"

      Not true.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • mmmm

      You really shouldn't be dispensing medical advise.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
  15. Gary S.

    "When the sheath gets damaged, impulses between transmitted along nerve cells slow down."
    Does CNN have anyone on staff who knows grammar?

    September 27, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dr. Pickles

      I know grammar, I met him on the bus. A silly man that one.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
  16. Cluse

    I am reading some comments about the article and had to comment. Its been about 2 yrs since being diagnosed. One Dr told me I was just stressed out and need to walk more so I went to another Dr who ordered lab work and BING..B-12 was incredibly low. If you eat a normal foods then you should have plenty of B-12 in your system. For some reason my body doesn't absorb it. SO, I can eat buffalo or whatever fortified in B-12 and I might as well be eating cardboard..Sub-lingual does work for some people but the only way I can have it is injections every 3 weeks. Just FYI, doesn't matter how you take it if your body doesn't absorb it...

    September 27, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • asdf

      I hear this a lot yet rarely have the people that talk like this (and I'm not saying you're one of them) actually rid themselves of processed foods and ate a 100% natural diet before coming to this conclusion. People think they can eat garbage and then pop a pill and all will be normalized. Lots of things can reduce B12 assimilation. Until those are ruled out, its impossible to solve this problem. Do not trust someone that is unschooled in the most basic health parameters. Doctors are useless for true health. They ARE most useful for labwork though, so you can track your progress when implementing different things. I've told numerous doctors of complete solutions to several health problems – not a one was interested. You could tell them you solved the cancer problem and they wouldn't listen. The problem is the schooling: Once you've invested decades in a particular direction and manner for making money and supposedly helping people, its really, really hard to change direction. Those that do are ostracized and ridiculed.

      Want to get healthy? Start a journal to track your progress. Read a lot. Try different things. Stick with what improves your condition. Always keep in mind how we were designed before modern conveniences. This can be most helpful. Pills.....that's like going into your mechanic for an oil leak. Instead of fixing the leak, the "doctor" just puts a piece of tape over the oil warning light. Doctors: If they were really good they'd lose most of their patients because they'd get healthy and wouldn't need them anymore. Not a good busineess model. The best business model is to keep you sick, medicated, needing occasional surgery, for as long as possible. THAT generates the maximum revenue stream.

      November 12, 2011 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
  17. shyam

    I am a vegetarian. Whenever I go hungry(close to starving 🙂 ), I get sore tongue. That's when I take B12 medication. It works really well with capsules or tablets. One thing I learnt from B12 deficiency is to not go hungry.

    September 27, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Lydia

    Bacteria is not an animal. Vegans eat things that are living. We never claim not to. Otherwise we couldnt eat fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, etc. Those are all living things. We do not eat animals, or their products. There is a big difference.

    September 27, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mmmm

      Exactly. I'm enjoying the "doctors" on here who think they have all the answers when they haven't a clue about vegan or vegetarian diets.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • asdf

      Lydia, think of the millions of bacteria in your mouth, in the air you breathe, being ingested all the time, often on raw vegetables and fruit. Is anyone really a vegan? We don't need much B12 but we sure need some. Insects are probably the best source. Since vitamins are reduced by cooking its ideal to consume raw. You're already eating insects – they're just too small to see. 🙂

      November 12, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
  19. Michael

    Note to author – there is no 'certain kinds of MRI' – there is certain sequences of MRI, but not kinds. You are either having magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, or you are not, but this is not lollipop flavors that you are talking about here.


    September 27, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jack

      Weeell, strictly speaking, MRI doesn't stand for "magnetic resonance imaging machine", it's just "magnetic resonance imaging". So fMRI is a type of MRI. If you wanted to talk about "pencil shading", then hatching is a type of pencil shading, cross-hatching is a type of pencil shading, stippling, and so on. They're all types of shading, even if each type is equivalent to shading. I know you're an expert in the field, but it's a question of grammar.

      September 27, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
  20. Michael

    Reply to Clause. If you take 1 mg orally daily (roughly 1000 times what everyone else needs), then regardless of your binding factor deficiency, you will absorb enough vitamin B12, there are medical studies showing that, hence the usage of high oral doses of B12.


    September 27, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Memory Loss

    Wow, that's interesting. Which vitamin is that again?

    September 27, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. beep77

    Remember B-12 in food ONLY comes from animal sources. For people who are vegetarians B-12 supplements are a life-saving necessity. It does not matter whether you have high stomach acid, low stomach acid or moderate stomach acid, everyone aged 40 and over needs to take B-12 for good cognitive neurological brain health because as we age we lose our intrinsic ability to absorb B-12 from foods. It's not complicated. Sublingual B-12 in liquid form with folic acid is the most readily absorbed. B-12 injections work also but are pricey because require doctor visits.
    In addition to B-12, the brain needs fats. The fad of low fat diets are NOT healthy for the brain; healthy fats from fish like salmon or from omega oils are absolutely necessary for a healthy brain whether you have a vegetarian diet or a meat diet.
    I have been witness to an Alzheimer hospital's refusal to provide B-12 supplements to its patients. It's an outrage that the mainstream medicine establishment has virtually no understanding of therapeutic nutrition and do not wish to have any. What are they afraid of; that maybe their patients would get well?
    Take control of your own health. B-12 with folic acid does not require a prescription. B-12 improves memory, cognitive ability, fatigue.
    If just one person is inspired and motivated from the helpful posts on this forum to start taking B-12 with folic acid then we've all done something of value for our fellow man.

    September 27, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • B. Supple Mentz

      Synthetic Folic Bad, Natural Folic Good. Make sure B supple mentz are 50% mthf and 50% folinic acid. Would hurt to eat some spinach now and again.

      September 27, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  23. Dr. Pickles

    I am a real doctor, but not of pickes like the name implies. I actually made that name up just know. I have no expertise is this area. But, I cannot help putting in my 8 cents. Is it 8 cents? I was shopping the other day and was surprised to see the lady at the cash register wearing a hair net. It seems odd don't you think? Perhaps she lacked B12? Again, I am not an expert, but I am a doctor.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. OptumKK

    I have 2 things to say:

    1. I am tired of research on really obvious things.
    2. 5 hour energy is awesome and has lots of B12.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NowWhat

      I just got a scolding from one of my doctors on using 5-hour energy. I use it as a quick fix when I know my B12 levels are low; within 30 minutes I can reverse serious symptoms temporarily. Use with caution and intermittently, because there are some really ugly stories of people becoming a little too attached to energy enhancers such as 5-hour energy and having health problems as a result. It works great as a quick fix, but not as a long term solution.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
    • Jason K

      5 hour energy also has Aspartame and other things that are in actuality really, really bad for you.

      September 27, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse |

    I have a relative that has been diagnosed with Werneke-Kosecoff Syndrome . He did drink but never to excess. He did have a wonderful career but his entire life he was a terrible eater, his eating habits were disgraceful. He did lose the feelings in his feet years ago now his legs and is now confined to a wheelchair. He did become mentally confused and no longer seemed to have a handle on major issues in his life. When he was falling the hospital diagnosed him as an alcoholic. The published articles related to Werneke always mentions Vitamin deficiency as well as alcohol. Is it possible that all of this was a result of a lack of a vitamin? This all began at the age of 60. (3 yrs ago)

    September 27, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Med Student

      In medical school they always relate Wernicke Korsacoff with alcohol intake. Thiamine is necessary in metabolism of Glucose which is required mainly (but not exclusively) by the brain and heart to function. Alcohol depletes B1(thiamine) stores. Low Thiamine would affect those organs causing W-K syndrome secondary to malnutrition and malabsorption.

      He probably had an undiagnosed Thiamine deficiency which got worse over time. It shouldn't happen with occasional intake and/or semi healthy diet or supplementation.

      "Chronic alcohol consumption can result in thiamine deficiency by causing inadequate nutritional thiamine intake, decreased absorption of thiamine from the gastrointestinal tract, and impaired thiamine utilization in the cells. People differ in their susceptibility to thiamine deficiency, however, and different brain regions also may be more or less sensitive to this condition"

      September 27, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse |
  26. Diane

    I had a lot of problems as did my 12 yr old daughter due to lack of B12. My daughter suffers from ADD, when I started her on Sublingual B12 along with OmegaPrime from Trivita, her whole demeanor and studying skills have changed dramatically. I am so grateful that I found something natural instead of putting her on prescription meds. http://www.wealth-in-health.com

    September 27, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. NowWhat

    Before my deficiency was found, my neurologist was concerned that I might have MS. I started taking B12 injections 4 years ago. My pharmacist just notified me recently that they have not been able to get inject-able B12 for two months and a CBS News story (9/26/11) confirmed that B12 is on the list of medicines in shortage. Scary, because I have only a 1 month supply left. Yes I eat lots of greens and meat, my body just doesn't absorb at the right rates and I can't eat gluten/wheat, a source of VitB which makes me very ill.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • e ferri

      You can get it over the internet from canada without a prescription for now from Mora Health in BC. It costs about $36 for 2 10 ml bottles inc postage.

      September 27, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
  28. Jay

    What? I forgot to take my B12?

    September 27, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Just Me

    I get extremely sick when I take Vitamin B (6 or 12), but also have the symptoms of dizziness or numbness when looking down...Am I just out of luck here?

    September 27, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carl

      I am not a doctor, so take my advice with a grain of salt. In fact, don't even take my advice about the grain of salt.

      That said, is it possible that you are taking too much of it? Some of those off-the-shelf supplements have absurd amounts based on the irrational theory that if 100mg is necessary, 10,000mg must be extra good.

      September 27, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
  30. Anna V

    I get B12 injections and take it sublingually – it works wonders for memory, focus, and energy!

    September 27, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. The Doctor

    I was going to comment on this but I forgot what I was going to say. Has anyone seen my .................I forget what you call................o, never mind

    September 27, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. America

    Occupy Wallstreet!

    September 27, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Young B12-er

    I am relatively young...half the age of the study group and I suffer from B vitamin deficiency. At 30 I began having numbness & pain in my hands, feet and elbows, extreme tiredness, constipation and often the inability complete thoughts. I went to my GP sent me to a Rheumatologist, who sent me to an Endocrinologist, who sent me back to my GP, who sent me to a Neurologist. After about 18 months of testing and no conclusion I had enough and went to a new GP. He ran a complete set of blood work to find that I only had one thing wrong – almost no B in my system. I immediately started a B complex, not just B12, and within 4 days my life was back. My doctor believes my B issue is a symptom of my thyroid even though clinically my thyroid is within "normal" range. We are watching it very closely because I have strong family history of thyroid disease.

    September 27, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • twinsand2more

      I've done a bit of research on "iodine deficiency" and thryoid problems......you may also want to check into that.....it might be another avenue to test for.

      September 27, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
  34. Fritz DuJour

    This is an interesting article. The comments, for the most part are worthless diatribes representing the pet peeves or the agendas of others.

    September 27, 2011 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. NO GMO

    We have alot more to worry about. GMO in our food, Mercury fillings in our mouth, flouride in our water. It is called depopulation you people when are ou going to wake up.

    September 27, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. B. Supple Mentz

    I took a memory course once, but I forget where. Seriously, good thread. Would read again +++++

    September 27, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. JeramieH

    Freezing does not kill parasites. It suspends their growth, but doesn't kill them. Foods come out of the freezer in exactly the same contamination state they went in.

    September 27, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. PMJ

    What are the natural sources of B-12 vitamin for who doesn't eat meat ?

    September 27, 2011 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jaya Bhumitra

      PMJ, this is what I use (i'm vegan): http://tinyurl.com/3evyx3j

      September 27, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
  39. Rusty

    I'm glad to see some of these issues coming to light.
    I have severe Hiatal Hernia Heartburn and have been a heavy user of the newer acid blockers right from the beginning, first by prescription and then OTC, non stop for more than 20 years. I'm 50 now. I realized slowly over the last 5 years or so that my memory, energy, ambition, and general cognitive ability were deteriorating, affecting my work and family. I'm in good health otherwise. I tried many things, but only recently saw a very small mention that these acid blockers could result in B-12 deficiency and cause my symptoms, in a forum like this. I have been using sublingual B-12 for about 6 months now and I am feeling a definite improvement but I'm afraid I may never recover completely.
    Does anyone know of information with hard data about recovery from this condition? Time frames and percent of function recovered?
    I'm convinced the drug companies are suppressing knowledge of side effects like this, just as the tobacco companies did with nicotine addiction.

    September 27, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carl

      Side effects like that can take years to become clear, and are not necessarily known to the manufacturers in pre-market testing. Regardless, side effects can be reported directly to the FDA by doctors and patients. You don't need the manufacturer's permission.

      You are also stuck with a bit of a contradiction. Is the info being suppressed, or is some random guy reading about it openly on the Internet?

      I don't know which one you are using, but Prilosec lists a load of non-secret side effects. The possibility of B12 deficiency is more recent, but here is another contradiction in your unconvincing theory: why would a manufacturer disclose diarrhea and sleep deprivation, but cover up a possible need to take a vitamin supplement along with it?

      September 27, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  40. jane

    I just got a $829.99 iPad-2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HD-TV for only $251.92, they are both coming with UPS tomorrow. I would be an idiót to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbúy.Go here at CoólCent.cóm

    September 27, 2011 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jaya Bhumitra

    I'm vegan, so I take B-12 supplements. This is the brand I buy in case anyone needs a recommendation: http://tinyurl.com/3evyx3j

    September 27, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. e ferri

    If you have Perniscious anemia you lack intrinsic factor and you CANNOT digest any oral or pill B12. I knew Dr. William P. Murphy very well and he helped to discover Cyancobalamin (B12 injections) as a treatment for PA. He saved my Dad's life. The only other way to get enough B12 orally is to eat 1 pound of almost uncooked liver a day. This is what my Dad had to do in the sixties along with a daily B12 shot at first. Dr. Murphy also shared the nobel Prize for the discovery with 2 other dotors in Boston. This is where I learned that pills do not work. I would say that would be the experts answer. He has passed away and I miss him. He was a brilliant, sweet, lovely gentleman.

    September 27, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Stacie

    A few years ago when I was 16 I started getting awful memory problems, I couldn't think straight, and I kept getting extreme bouts of vertigo among other symptoms. In one case I had a very bad spell of vertigo and I was laying on the floor for about five minutes watching the house literally spin.

    Soon I was diagnosed with B12 deficiency and I was given a shot to give me a boost. I tried changing my diet and taking B12 pills, but my doctor and I realized none of the oral things worked. I can only take the shots... once a month, for the rest of my life – luckily where I live, my health insurance covers the shot so I get it for free. When it's close to the due date for my next shot, I can tell because my memory and thinking starts to go downhill. From what I gather I have pernicious anemia, but my doctor has yet to give me a straight answer (or he did, and I've forgotten... go figure).

    September 27, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Dorn

    When my daughter was 9 years old she had a serious bout with depression. 25 mcg of cobalamin concentrate cured her in 14 days. When the store changed brands, she reverted to depression in 14 days. I read the label on the new bottle and found that it said cyanocobalamin. When we got her back on Cobalamin concentrate she recovered in 14 days.
    My niece recently had depression. Her mother gave her one metholcobalimin lozenge in a much higher dosage. She pulled out of the depression in 10 minutes.
    I would like to see metholcobalimin given to children with Autism to see if it would help them.

    October 1, 2011 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • twinsand2more

      @Dorn....many parents of children with autism have their children tested for B-12 deficiency....most will end up getting Methyl B-12 shots – which help tremendously.

      October 5, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
  45. Relative with Pernicious Anemia

    My elderly relative was diagnosed with pernicious anemia more than 20 years ago. (She was a heavy antiacid user for years.) Her B12 deficiency was so bad she had to be hospitalized. A bone marrow test from her hip was part of the testing to diagnose her. She has been getting cyanobalamin injections once a month for all these years. Recently she was hospitalized and her physician prescribed 1000mg cyanocobalamin by mouth each day (sublingual). If the pills don't work, how is it that physicians prescribe them? Seems highly unlikely.

    October 1, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. twinsand2more

    @Dorn – also – Cyanocobalamin is actually a form of Cyanide.......Methyl (metholcobalimin) B-12 is the safest....

    October 5, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
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  49. Memory Vitamins

    A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. Some of the important Memory Vitamins are necessary for good memory include vitamin B6, vitamin B1 and B-Complex vitamins.

    November 23, 2011 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Memory Supplements

    nice & informative post. Some of the important Memory Vitamins are necessary for good memory include vitamin B6, vitamin B1 and B-Complex vitamins.


    November 23, 2011 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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