Some brand new research has learned that there is a direct link between vitamin B12 deficiency and cognitive decline in elderly people.
Furthermore, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, Dr. Eduardo Villamor, explains that this association includes an excess of either folic acid or vitamin B9 as well.
Separate studies have suggested in the past that B12 can prevent dementia and even help with keeping depression at bay, but Villamor stressed that more research is needed to truly determine the impact of this vitamin on people’s neurological behavior.
“There is substantial interest on the role of vitamin B12 on neurocognitive performance, especially in the elderly. The role of vitamin B12 on fetal, infant, and child neurodevelopment is also an important area of research,” Villamor explains.
With that being said, it is still important to get enough of this vitamin for a healthy life, but how do you know if you need to supplement it?
Here are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency!
As per Villamor, those who are B12 deficient tend to experience a variety of symptoms ranging from mild fatigue to severe neurological complications.
The type of symptoms people experience depends on how long they were deficient in this vitamin, so it’s important to identify the problem as quickly as possible.
Vitamin B12 reacts with compounds in one’s body in order to produce DNA but also energy levels, which is why a deficiency of this nutrient can lead to chronic tiredness.
Mild to moderate deficiency could cause anemia which can then produce sores or cracks around the mouth.
More precisely, Villamor explained that when the deficiency is moderate, people can develop a type of anemia known as macrocytosis, which means red blood cells get larger.
Mayo Clinic states that this condition does not typically cause any particular symptoms but can be identified during blood tests.
Moderate deficiency can also cause peripheral neuropathy or damage to one’s nerves outside of the brain and the spinal cord.
The most common symptoms of neuropathy are sensory issues such as numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, and glossitis, tongue inflammation that could lead to an increased sensitivity to acidic or spicy food.
As for severe deficiency, Villamor points out that it might actually lead to “serious neurological and psychiatric manifestations” that include irritability, impaired cognition, psychosis, depression, and dementia.
Other severe issues it could cause are inflammation, infertility, and a weakening of the heart.