Vitamin B12 Brain and Memory Booster

November 24, 2023 6 mins to read
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I think most people would appreciate improving their memory and with the rising rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s…we could certainly use any nutritional support we can get. Well it turns out that Vitamin B12 could be another weapon in our arsenal against cognitive decline. It turns out B12 dementia and brain health are interconnected. B12 is essential for brain and nerve function, and research is now showing, can slow the progression of dementia. So, in this article I’m going to review B12 and why it’s important, it’s antioxidant power and it’s benefit as a holistic tool against dementia.

Why B12 Matters

  1. Neuron Formation and Maintenance: B12, alongside folate, is vital for creating and sustaining neurons. It’s also involved in DNA synthesis, crucial for healthy brain function. Neurons are important, we need them!
  2. Neurotransmitter Synthesis: B12 plays a role in producing serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters linked to dementia when in deficit. They can also have a big impact on mood and over-all brain performance.
  3. Myelin Sheath Formation: B12 aids in developing the myelin sheath, enhancing nerve signal transmission. Its deficiency can lead to neuropathy, myelopathy, and dementia. Nerve damage is one of those things you want to mitigate as much as possible, due to how difficult it is for the body to repair it.

Where Do I Get B12 ? Vegans at Risk!

It is important to note B12 is obtained primarily from meat, and some animal by products. Therefore vegans or vegetarians are at increased risk of B12 deficiency. Vegetarians are also at risk, but less so again, due to consumption of eggs and dairy. Anyone on a primarily plant-based diet is at increased risk of deficiency, and if you aren’t consuming meat daily, you may want to consider testing and supplementation.

B12 as an Antioxidant Powerhouse

Most people are familiar with antioxidants like vitamins C and E, but B12 is also in that category, helping to reduce oxidative stress that contributes to a range of diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s, accounting for most dementia cases, is marked by neuron death and brain shrinkage, where B12’s antioxidant properties could be valuable. Another powerful tool is MCT Oil, which helps to provide energy to brain cells and an help reduce brain cell death.

Battling Cognitive Decline

Research indicates that low B12 levels correlate with faster cognitive decline and a higher Alzheimer’s risk. Correcting B12 deficiency, especially in the elderly, may improve cognitive function. Anecdotal evidence, like Dr. Spence’s experience with a B12-deficient patient, underlines its potential therapeutic value. Dr. Joel Wallach, a pioneer in nutritional deficiency diseases also highlights the value of B12 in supporting optimal brain health.

B12 Supplementation

If you have severe or chronic B12, you can discuss B12 injections with your doctor. Otherwise for normal supplementation sub-lingual (under the tongue) B12 tablets are best, as you have glands under your tongue that absorb the B12, so it goes straight to your blood stream. The digestive system is less effective at absorbing the B12, so a capsule ingested may be less absorbed. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble and has a low potential for toxicity, because the body can excrete excess through urine. Overdose from dietary sources is extremely rare. However, high doses of B12 supplements could cause side effects in some individuals including: dizziness, headache, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting – but again this is extremely rare.

A Holistic Approach to Brain Health

While B12 is a significant factor in brain health and combatting neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, it requires a multipronged strategy involving: Regular exercise, healthy sleep, minimal sugar intake, and a balanced gut microbiome; all pieces of the puzzle. Each aspect contributes to overall brain health, reducing dementia risk and may improve cognitive performance. Special emphasis should be placed on blood sugar regulation and insulin resistance – as this can affect brain cells ability to obtain glucose…and if the cell can’t get energy this can lead to cell death; brain cells largely, do not regenerate like other cells in the body e.g. the liver, which makes brain health a top priority.

Conclusion

In summary B12 is essential for brain health – slowing cognitive decline with age and reducing risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This isn’t up for debate…it’s established and studied fact. B12 plays a significant role in: neuron formation, neurotransmitter synthesis, and is a potent anti-oxidant, combating oxidative stress that plays a role in cognitive decline and risk of dementia. Vitamin B12 is best taken orally in sub-lingual (under the tongue) form, and there is low risk of toxicity or side effects because it is water soluble and excreted in the urine. Because it comes from meat and animal by-products, vegans are at increased risk of deficiency. It’s important to point out that a holistic approach to brain health is crucial, and B12 should be considered as part of a holistic plan that integrates: diet, supplementation, a healthy microbiome and lifestyle including exercise and sleep; all essential components of for memory, brain and over-all health .

Research on B12 and other nutrients and their role in brain health is on-going and an important field of study, considering the rising rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Forgetfulness and poor memory is not a normal part of aging and in this day and age with easy access to supplements, there’s no reason to be deficient.

References

  1. Study on Global Dementia Cases – The Lancet
  2. Research on B12 and Neurotransmitters – Hopkins Medicine
  3. Study on Oxidative Stress and Alzheimer’s – NCBI
  4. Observational Studies on B12 and Cognitive Decline – Cambridge University
  5. Swedish Study on B12 Levels and Alzheimer’s Risk – NCBI
  6. Longitudinal Studies on B12 and Cognitive Impairment – ScienceDirect
  7. Research on Exercise, Sleep, Sugar Intake, and Gut Health in Dementia Prevention – NCBI

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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