Vitamin B-12 deficiency is a serious health concern that affects an estimated 40 percent of the U.S. population. The numbers are alarmingly high when you consider just how important this vitamin is to your health, especially if you elderly. Older individuals who are deficient are at increased risk of having brain atrophy or shrinkage which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
In a recent study involving 100 individuals between the ages of 61 to 87, participants who had the lowest levels of B12 at the start of the study had a six fold greater rate of brain volume loss compared with those who had the highest levels of B-12.
The Importance of Vitamin B 12
There are many important reasons to make sure you are getting enough B-12 in your diet.
- Keeps your nervous system healthy by helping the nerves of your body to function and communicate.
- Helps boost your immunity.
- Helps folic acid regulate the formation of red blood cells, and helps your body use iron.
- Is crucial to your circulation and adrenal hormone production.
- Helps to increase your energy levels.
- Supports a healthy mood and feelings of well being, and provides excellent support for memory and concentration.
Are You Getting Enough of it?
Vitamin B-12 is found almost exclusively in animal tissue, including foods like beef, lamb, snapper, shrimp, poultry and eggs. Therefore, if you do not eat meat or animal products, you may be deficient.
Other factors which contribute to B-12 levels in your body are:
- Age: B-12 is more difficult to absorb if you are over 50.
- Coffee Consumption: Research shows that people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a reduction in vitamin B-12 compared to those who don’t drink coffee
- Medications: Several prescription drugs including antibiotics, anticancer medications and birth control pills can diminish your body’s B-12 levels.