Vitamin B12 deficiency, if left untreated, can cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. It can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Both vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency are more common in older adults, affecting 1 in 10 people aged 75 or older and 1 in 20 people aged 65 to 74, according to the NHS.
The Mayo Clinic has published information on vitamin B-12 and dementia.
He notes that vitamin B12 helps keep nerve cells and red blood cells healthy, and a deficiency can cause various signs and symptoms, “including memory loss.”
She says that in cases of vitamin B12 deficiency, supplementation can help improve memory.
The organization notes that “aside from treating vitamin B-12 deficiency, there is no clear evidence that vitamin B-12 supplementation improves memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
READ MORE: Michael Douglas Health: The actor warns he may ‘lose part of his tongue and jaw’ due to cancer
However, the Mayo Clinic says that some studies suggest that low levels of vitamin B12 may be linked to an increased risk of dementia, “but that supplementation with B vitamins has not been shown to improve brain function or symptoms of memory loss.”
It states: “If you’re concerned that you aren’t getting enough vitamin B12 or other specific nutrients, see your doctor—especially if you’re an adult or a vegetarian.”
You should seek the advice of a GP if you have symptoms of vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency anemia.
The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
She added that people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet may be at risk of deficiency because plant foods do not contain vitamin B12.
General symptoms of anemia may include extreme tiredness, feeling faint, pale skin and ringing in the ears, according to the NHS. Loss of appetite and weight loss may also indicate the problem.
If you have vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, you may have other symptoms, such as irritability and depression, according to the NHS.
A healthy body adds that you may also notice “changes in the way you think, feel, and act.”
Some people also report a decline in their mental abilities, such as memory, comprehension, and judgment, says a healthy body.
“Some of these symptoms can also occur in people who are vitamin B12 deficient but have not developed anemia,” he adds.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is usually treated with vitamin B12 injections. According to the NHS, if a vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of vitamin B in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take daily between meals.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is more common in people whose families come from Northern Europe, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.
He adds that risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency anemia include having part or all of the stomach or intestines removed, and autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes. Crohn’s disease, HIV, and some medications also can cause deficiency. .
Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs. If you eat meat, fish or dairy products, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet, according to the NHS.
You can also look for plant foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as some plant-based dairy and breakfast cereals.