Vitamin B12 supports the aging memory

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in Finland mainly with the elderly. The symptoms include anaemia, memory loss and altered sensations.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin naturally found only in food of animal origin, such asred meat, dairy products and eggs. Vitamin B12 is needed for enzyme-catalysed reactions, which relate to DNA synthesis, fatty acid metabolism and myelin synthesis.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in Finland mainly with the elderly. Approximately 10% of the elderly have been found to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. This is usually due to the malabsorption of the vitamin, most frequently atrophic gastritis. A normal diet includes a sufficient amount of vitamin B12, which is stored in the liver. However, an elderly person’s diet may become one-sided, in addition to which the deficiency of vitamin B12 may also be due to insufficient intake. People on a vegetarian diet may also develop a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 deficiency typically causes anaemia, characterised by enlarged red blood cells. It is important to emphasise that vitamin B12 deficiency also causes neurological symptoms, such as memory loss, altered sensations, muscular weakness and depression. If treatment is not begun early, these symptoms may become permanent. This is why it is important to consider the possibility of vitamin B12 deficiency early.

Anaemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency is normally discovered with a complete blood count. However, a complete blood count does not reveal vitamin B12 deficiency in its early stages. Vitamin B12 deficiency is verified by measuring vitamin B12 levels in a serum sample.Today, the measuring of the active form of vitamin B12 is recommended (test number 1142).

The remedy for vitamin B12 deficiency is vitamin treatment. Vitamin B12 can be administered by injections or tablets, depending on the cause of the deficiency. Vitamin supplements can be used preventively for the elderly.