New research out of Chicago examines how vitamin B12, found in fish, meat, and poultry, affects brain mass and cognitive performance
PROBLEM: Fish, meat, liver, milk, eggs, and poultry are our usual sources of vitamin B12. But how does this nutrient relate to brain size, dead cerebral tissue, and cognitive performance?
RESULTS: Having high levels of four of five markers for vitamin B12 deficiency was associated with having lower scores on the cognitive tests and smaller total brain volume.
CONCLUSION: Poor vitamin B12 status is a potential risk factor for brain atrophy. Older people with low blood levels of vitamin B12 markers may be more likely to have lower brain volumes and problems with their thinking abilities.
CAVEAT: "It's too early to say whether increasing vitamin B12 levels in older people through diet or supplements could prevent these problems," says lead author and Rush University professor Christine Tangney in a news release, "but it is an interesting question to explore."
SOURCE: The full study, "Vitamin B12, Cognition, and Brain MRI Measures: A Cross-Sectional Examination," is published in the journal Neurology.
Image: Associated Press.
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