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Thread: Vitamin B12, memory and brain volume loss

  1. #1
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Vitamin B12, memory and brain volume loss

    This is about a study linking low levels of vitamin B12 to memory loss in the elderly.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7595423.stm

    Vegans don't seem to get a mention, which is nice in a way.

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    There are other studies linking B12 to memory as well.
    Typical for this and other studies is that they rarely mention where animals get their B12 building blocks from (cobalt and good bacteria), why as much as 40% of the meat eating population could have to have low B12 levels (these studies measure only serum B12 levels, meaning that the numbers could be twice as high), or what the actual reasons are that vegans, animals, meat eaters and others may be low in B12...

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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    I seem to remember the elderly often have trouble absorbing vitamin B12.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    There is a local doctor who is pioneering vitamin B12 treatments for the elderly and people with MS check out Dr Chandy of Easington
    http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...name_page.html
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    I seem to remember the elderly often have trouble absorbing vitamin B12.
    I also seem to remember that, but very vaguely.

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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    I was getting worried about my memory but remembered that I have always had poor memory and ate flesh,fish & milk for over 40 years before I went vegan in 96

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    Yes, I always had a lousy memory as well and I don't think it's deteriorated significantly with age (yet ) . The main difference now is that if I'm not careful I will panic when I can't remember something, which of course guarantees that you won't remember it.

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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    Quote Korn View Post
    ... they rarely mention where animals get their B12 building blocks from (cobalt and good bacteria), why as much as 40% of the meat eating population could have to have low B12 levels (these studies measure only serum B12 levels, meaning that the numbers could be twice as high), or what the actual reasons are that vegans, animals, meat eaters and others may be low in B12...
    it is known that alcohol prevents the absorption of B12. i think it is quite likely there will be a significant correlation between low B12 levels and high alcohol consumption amongst both vegan and non-vegan populations. After all extreme and prolonged alcohol intake results in severe memory loss in the case of Korsakof's disease - which is not so much alcohol destroying brain cells but alcohol preventing B12 absorption and functions.

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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    I've also read that low B12 may cause digestive problems??

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    Eager Beaver philfox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...mory-loss.html
    Researchers at the University of Oxford studied 107 people aged 61 to 87 and found those with lower levels of the vitamin in their blood were six times more likely to experience brain shrinkage than those with higher levels.
    "Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common problem among elderly people in the UK and has been linked to declining memory and dementia.
    It's the headlines in this story, especially the Telegraph, but other sources too, start with 'vitamin found in Meat, fish and dairy' that really bug me.

    I think B12 deficiency is a serious issue, however, in this study, in the quotes I selected, and others, it is a study of older people. People who have been brought up, traditionally (I am generalising here) on a diet promoting meat and dairy consumption. I know my grandparents consume high levels of meat and dairy each day (and have lovely side effects of that ) so I think it is dangerous for these articles to be taking the 'eat more meat fish and dairy' angle, especially in this obesity obsessed time.

    So, although I know B12 to be important, and I think absorption problems are more common than we think, I am really angry at this exclusive to animal product angle all the papers / news sources are taking. Plus, I know full well that people like my grandparents (I do love then more than anything) will tell me that I'll get memory problems without meat and dairy...
    Vegan Forum: keeping me sane in the world of the ignorant.

  11. #11
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    Good point, though the BBC report did also mention fortified cereals and supplements.

  12. #12
    Zero
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    Hmmmm, I can't remember the last time I took B12

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12 and memory

    Quote harpy View Post
    Good point, though the BBC report did also mention fortified cereals and supplements.
    Yes, but mentioning supplements etc. only strengthens the undocumented assumption that we wouldn't get enough B12 from non-animal sources in a less synthetic world, where our water wasn't treated with B12 killers, where the soil was much richer in all nutrients, and where the food we ate always was fresh, organic and much more unprocessed than it is today.

    Statements like this give the impression that people who don't eat meat meat, fish and dairy from nature's side, so to speak, will get deficiencies, and (as always) fail to throw in the odd comment about all the nutrients that non-vegans so often are deficient in. Not that I expect BBC to have the needed motivation to dig up enough facts, the tragical part is that at least one or two pro vegan sites don't seem to care much about these issues either.

  14. #14
    Mahk
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    Default "My brain hurts"

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage...cle1670895.ece

    This is being carried in the American tabloid news too; "Fox News" but it is really just referencing the Sun article.

    The actual paper in the journal Neurology never used the words "vegan" or "vegetarian", nor evaluated the subjects' actual diet, to the best of my knowledge [I'm not about to buy the article to read it]. All they say is that subjects with blood deficient in B12 markers show more brain atrophy, but the anti veggie press of course has to demonize us as usual. Maybe you UK folk should complain to the Sun.

    I'd also hazard to guess that not a single subject of the 107 elderly were even vegan, but who knows. Is the Sun known for being anti-veg*n? Or the author? Notice they think Heather Mills [who they call "Mucca"] is our spokesperson/poster child.
    Last edited by Korn; Sep 16th, 2008 at 10:39 AM. Reason: This was the first post in a thread about the same topic

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    RubyDuby
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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    i'm really screwed. veganism and the drink.
    *hic*

    "weres me frigrin fortrifie d soimillk??"


    the fish oil thing is really starting to annoy me.
    fish get their omega 3 from what they eat.

    why not eat the algae tablets instead of the fish? or eat flax, or walnuts.
    why do we never hear about the other sources??

    who wants to burp up fishy taste all day? gross.



    eta: who writes this stuff?
    you're really going to spend money to read more??
    Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    Yeah... I think the only risk of brain shrinkage comes from reading that shite. I feel dumber just from that article =(
    Czujesz się wolny i robisz co chcesz. Jesteś piratem!

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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    Quote Shrapnel View Post
    I feel dumber just from that article =(
    A common side effect of reading The Sun. When I was at school a teacher told me that it was specially written so that someone with a reading age of ten could understand it, I find that very easy to believe.

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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    Vegans and vegetarians such as Heather Mills, Russell Brand and Big Brother's Chanelle Houghton
    All the eminent and worthy vegetarians out there and they pick those three to represent us? Great, thanks, thats going to help people take us seriously.

  19. #19
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    IMO articles like document the importance of informing about why vegans and vegetarians normally have lower B12 levels than others, and why non-vegans normally have lower levels of other nutrients than vegans.

    The study doesn't check if people on a vegan diet had the same amount of brain volume reduction as people on a standard diet with low B12 levels.

    B12 is associated with growth and cell division, but cell division/growth isn't always a good thing. Cancer (exaggerated cell division/growth) is often associated with high intakes of animal based (B12 rich) food.

    The abstract at neurology.com doesn't mention vegans or vegetarians. The title is "Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly"), and it's not the first time a tabloid paper make their own conclusion, which results in that their non-scientific interpretation becomes the only commonly known version of that study. This happens a lot.

    The conclusion of the study is "Low vitamin B12 status should be further investigated as a modifiable cause of brain atrophy and of likely subsequent cognitive impairment in the elderly", and not that reduced B12 volume as such has been proven to result in cognitive impairment in the elderly. There are already studies that suggest that B12 deficiency is associated with cognitive deficits - but not all studies have come to the same result. Here's a link to a study about B vitamins and cognitive skills, concluding that "although a relationship between homocysteine, B vitamins and poor cognitive skills in the elderly is plausible, this study does not suggests that such relationship is biologically important." There's still no reason whatsoever to assume that low B12 levels should be ignored...

    It's interesting that none of the participants in the study were actually deficient in vitamin B12, some of them just had low levels within a normal range. This means that variations within what is considered normal B12 amounts are associated with brain volume loss. Then again; both the low B12 levels and reduced cognitive skills could both be a result of the same cause, like too much tea, cookies, coffee and junk food - or too little time spent outdoors.

    A problem with studies like this is that they often look at one vitamin at a time. In the case of B12, it needs calcium for proper absorption. Lack of calcium is associated with osteoporosis - which is considered a main reason that elders often 'shrink' (and not only their brains).

    Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and bone health, and vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults. People above 70 is said to need three times as much vitamin D as people between 14 and 50, but I wouldn't be surprised if it could be documented that they rarely get three times as much vitamin D as younger people - or don't even get as much as they did when they were younger.

    In other words, lack of vitamin D (sunlight) could cause both reduced calcium intake, and osteoporosis, reduced B12 levels and body/brain shrinkage.

    Cognitive skills are important, 'large brains' as such isn't, and although this particular study was too small to investigate cognitive changes, I wouldn't be surprised if a link between brain volume and reduced cognitive skills could be found in the future.

    It would be interesting to see if there actually is a link between a plant based diet and cognitive skills, because a plant based diet is richer in eg. antioxidants, flavonoids and phytochemicals, which all are important to our health, and while veg*ns often have lower B12 levels than others, they normally consume a lot more antioxidants and B9. Alzheimer patients are encouraged to make sure they get enough B vitamins and antioxidants, and this study shows that Folates More Effective In Limiting Alzheimer's Disease Risk Than Antioxidants, Other Nutrients. Vegans normally have healthier folate levels than non-vegans.
    Last edited by Korn; Sep 16th, 2008 at 10:39 AM.

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    *cocktail slut Elahiya's Avatar
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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    Quote RubyDuby View Post


    the fish oil thing is really starting to annoy me.
    fish get their omega 3 from what they eat.

    why not eat the algae tablets instead of the fish? or eat flax, or walnuts.
    why do we never hear about the other sources??
    i worked a bit on that issue: http://vegananke.blogspot.com/2008/0...tty-acids.html
    http://vegangothfairy.wordpress.com

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    Eeeeediot! Shrapnel's Avatar
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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    Quote Edeline View Post
    All the eminent and worthy vegetarians out there and they pick those three to represent us? Great, thanks, thats going to help people take us seriously.
    Yeah, well the article was written by omnis. Omnis like Beavis & Butthead, Jabba The Hutt, and the orcs from Lord Of The Rings =p
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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    Quote Enchantress View Post
    A common side effect of reading The Sun. When I was at school a teacher told me that it was specially written so that someone with a reading age of ten could understand it, I find that very easy to believe.
    That's interesting. I find it easy to believe too.
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12, memory and brain volume loss

    ooooohhhhh! this whole thing stresses me out! I think I should stop arguing with uneducated idiots on youtube! aparently we vegans are "crippled" both mentally and physically due to lack of creatine?! I dont think any of these people know how to critically read an article, they just take everything at first sight!

    If the Sun printed an article tomorrow saying that "jumping off a bridge could make you live 20 years longer", we'd have an epidemic of broken bones from idiots jumping!! especially if it was endorsed by a scantely clad celebrety!

  24. #24
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12, memory and brain volume loss

    Here's a link to an article posted at kranti.org (a new vegan site that in it's beta stage looks better than most other vegan sites I've seen in their final version...):
    The Big Brain Myth
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12, memory and brain volume loss

    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  26. #26
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vitamin B12, memory and brain volume loss

    If it's correct that meat is what's needed to make mammals intelligent (which would mean a lot of super intelligent tigers and lions around), and humans always have been eating meat - why did it take us ten thousands of years to invent the wheel?

    http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/resear...vent-the-wheel

  27. #27
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: "My brain hurts"

    Quote Korn View Post
    Alzheimer patients are encouraged to make sure they get enough B vitamins and antioxidants, and this study shows that Folates More Effective In Limiting Alzheimer's Disease Risk Than Antioxidants, Other Nutrients. Vegans normally have healthier folate levels than non-vegans.
    Science can be confusing at times. A newer study, published this year, suggests that "taking B vitamins doesn't slow mental decline as we age, nor is it likely to prevent Alzheimer's disease". It was Oxford University researchers who had "assembled all the best clinical trial data involving 22,000 people to offer a final answer on this debate".

    Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0715095536.htm

    Of course this doesn't serve as a valid reason not to make sure you get the B12 you need!
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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