For many in the aging and elderly community, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and mental decline can be a great source of fear and distress.
The knowledge that one is losing control of one’s mental faculties is scary and debilitating,and can often make a person feel like a burden. At the same time, family members and friends of those suffering from various forms of dementia are often at a loss as to how to deal with the problem. They are also scared, saddened, and even hurt by the fact that their loved ones are slowly losing their memories, and relationships can often suffer as a result.
Fortunately, there may be some hope. Recent studies have indicated that vitamin B-12 supplements can increase mental cognition, slowing (and even reversing) the effects of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. B-12 is a compound that is naturally created by the body, and also available from animal products. Unfortunately, as our bodies age they often become less efficient at producing B-12, and our digestive systems become less adept at converting food sources into usable vitamins and nutrients. Thus, it is widely understood that the elderly—and in particular those who are vegetarians—are at high risk for B-12 deficiency. And as more studies are performed and more information is gathered, it is beginning to appear that this deficiency may be directly related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin B-12 supplements are available in a number of different forms, including sub-lingual pills, which tend to be the most efficacious for young and middle-aged people, as they absorb into the bloodstream more effectively under the tongue than they do through the digestive system. Unfortunately, this form of supplement may not be enough for aging patients, whose systems are no longer able to process vitamin B-12 efficiently. In some cases, it may be necessary to use intramuscular injections to ensure that healthy levels of B-12 are being maintained in the body.
Although the research and information about the links between B-12 and Alzheimer’s disease are still relatively new, it may be worthwhile to talk with your doctor (or your patient’s doctor) about including B-12 supplementation into your daily or weekly routine.