Low B12 Alzheimer’s Risk

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease
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A new study from Sweden suggests people with low B12 may be at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Similar to studies in Australia and Oxford, it points to the fact that B12 may protect against memory loss and brain shrinkage in later life.

The Swedish study at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm followed 271 healthy people aged 65 to 79 for seven years. The researchers measured blood homocysteine, high levels of which have been linked to negative effects on the brain before. They also measured levels of active vitamin B12, which is one of the important B vitamins that have been shown to help decrease homocysteine levels.

They concluded that even slightly raised homocysteine levels corresponded to a 16 per cent higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, while a level of slightly higher than average active B12 level lowered risk by about 2 per cent. In other words, lowering your homocysteine is vital and B12 is a part of doing that, but may be an independent factor itself. It’s the first study to suggest that low levels of active vitamin B12 are a risk factor for developing dementia several years later.

Read more about homocysteine, what it is and how to test for it (simple finger prick at home) here, here and here.

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