“The 12th of what?” he asked, frowning. “Of Never?”
“Vitamin B12,” I said, although his quip was cute. We were discussing an article in U.S. NEWS & World Report summarizing a study reported in the journal Neurology. The new research suggested that older individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 appear to be at increased risk of having brain atrophy or shrinkage.
“I’ve heard of Vitamin B12,” the man said, “but I can’t recall what’s important about it.” I was very tempted to make an off-the-cuff remark such as, “If your levels of B12 were high enough you could probably remember,” but reined in that impulse. “Remind me,” the man continued, so I did.
B12 is one of a group of seventeen B vitamins. It cannot be made by animals or by plants since only bacteria possess the enzymes required for its synthesis. Structurally, Vitamin B12 is the most complicated vitamin. It is normally involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body, especially affecting DNA synthesis and regulation but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production. And, since B12 also plays a role in brain and nervous-system health, it has been nicknamed the brain vitamin.
The release of these new study results may up the ante a bit, however. That is, the level of B12 in your body may be far more important in reducing your risk of brain shrinkage than anyone has known. And brain atrophy or shrinkage is exactly what you want to avoid as you move through the aging process!
A test is available to measure the amount of vitamin B12 in a person’s blood. Physicians sometimes order this test to help uncover the cause of dementia (a general decline in a person's mental abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily living and activities) or other nervous system symptoms such as peripheral neuropathy (tingling or numbness of the arms).
In the past, specific individuals were encouraged to take a nutritional product containing Vitamin B12. These included individuals who were known to be deficient in B12, people whose bodies appeared to be unable to absorb B12 from their food (e.g., Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as milk, cheese, eggs, meat and shellfish), and vegetarians or vegans who preferred to avoid animal products.
My mantra, however, is prevention. Consequently, I take delta-E™ on a daily basis. Not only does the L-theanine in delta-E™ help my brain think more quickly, I’m depending on the B12 in delta-E™ to help protect my brain tissue from shrinking!
The 12th of Never—atrophy, that is. Hurrah for delta-E™!
©Arlene R. Taylor PhD