There are studies that indicate that as many as 40% of the population could be at risk of Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiency which can cause dementia-like symptoms, causes shrinkage of the brain and can cause changes in behavior.
Even the slightest deficiency of Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, depression and other mental health disorders. A longer term deficiency can even have more serious effects such as causing permanent brain and central nervous system damage. Unfortunately, Vitamin B12 is widely spread among the elderly so it is important for caregivers and those approaching age 60 to pay attention to this information and try to increase the amount of Vitamin B12 in their diet.
You can also consider discussing getting Vitamin B12 shots with your Physician to raise the level of B12 in your body. The elderly and those with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia often don’t eat enough so receiving the injections might be a good way to insure that someone you love is getting enough B12 into their body. It might help to improve behavior and slow the loss of memory in a person with dementia so it’s certainly worth that discussion with your Doctor.
I’ve listed some foods here with that are the highest in B12 which people over the age of 60 should try and incorporate into their diets whenever possible:
- Shellfish: cooked clams, oysters, and mussels
- Liver: beef, chicken pate or foie gras
- Fish: mackerel, smoked salmon, herring, tuna, canned sardines, and trout
- Crustaceans: crab, crayfish, shrimp and lobster
- Soy products: tofu, soymilk
- Cereals: All Bran, Multi-Grain Cheerios, Total Corn Flakes, Special K, Kashi Heart to Heart
- Beef and Lamb
- Low Fat Dairy: skim milk, nonfat yogurt, reduced fat milk, whole milk, regular yogurt
- Cheese: swiss, reduced fat mozzarella, parmesan,
Vitamin B12 is used for treating and preventing many conditions besides the ones listed above – it can boost mood, concentration and the Immune system. It’s used for treating heart disease and diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and preventing the eye disease age-related macular degeneration. A Vitamin B12 test measures the amount of Vitamin B12 in the blood. If you suspect that you or a loved one might have a deficiency ask your Physician to check – early detection and treatment is important.