A recent study, published in the prestigious journal Neurology, revealed a vitamin deficiency you need to know about(1). It used M.R.I. scans to measure brain volume and blood tests to record vitamin B12 levels. They divided the subjects into three groups, based on their level of B12. Then they followed them for five years with annual scans and physical and mental examinations.
Those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12
lost twice as much brain volume
as those with the highest levels!
The difference was significant, even after controlling for initial brain size, age, sex, education, cognitive test scores and various measures of blood chemistry. This underscores that vitamin B12 is crucial to brain function and the overall health of your nervous system.
It’s the engine behind your body’s ability to make blood. Every cell in your body uses it to convert fuel into energy. It’s also the key to DNA synthesis and regulation, and enables your body to produce life-giving fatty acids.
If you don’t get sufficient amounts, you’re in for problems, including:
- Poor nerve function
- Memory loss
While the author of the study didn’t go so far as to recommend you run out and get your B12 supplements, I (and Dr. Al Sears book, The Doctor’s Heart Cure) suggest you do. It’s done wonders for many people. Good adjustments in diet and supplements, focusing on B12, helps many of their concerns disappear forever.
(Our Ultimate Foundation multivitamin provides 500 mcg – including the more expensive methylcobalamin form.)
Here’s another thing about B12: it powerfully lowers the level of homocysteines, one of the key indicators for heart health. That’s because — at high enough levels — homocysteine provokes an inflammatory response across every system in your body, blood vessels included.
In the past, medicine has completely overlooked this key factor in heart health, focusing instead on cholesterol. That’s a real shame, because the fact is that homocysteine’s the real culprit. And its consequences are entirely preventable. In fact, all folks really need, to keep homocysteine levels in check, is to get about 500 mcg of B12 per day.
Lean meats—particularly grass-fed beef—and organ meats are a great source of B12. Here’s a list of other good sources:
Bottom line: get your B12, not only to keep your brain in shape, but to keep homocysteine levels low and promote cardiovascular health.*
1. Vogiatzoglou et al. “Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly.” Neurology. 2008. 71:826-832.