Dementia may be triggered by different factors such as disease, stroke or chronic drug usage. Some types of dementia are curable and may be reversed if the causative factor is found and dealt with early enough. For instance, people with B12 dementia may be improved if they are treated with Vitamin B12 early enough.
Types of dementia
When parts of the brain, involved with decision making, learning, language and memory, are affected with infection or disease, dementia may occur. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease; however, there are about 50 other causes of dementia that have been identified. Most types of dementia won’t react to treatment; however, there are a few types of dementia that can be treated and cured when the causative factor is treated and corrected. If diagnosed early, Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the treatable causes of dementia.
Vitamin B12 and brain function
Vitamin B12 is found in fortified cereals and animal products. Vitamin B12 and brain function go hand in hand. This important vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy neurons in the brain. B12 helps to reduce the levels of homocysteine in the blood. Too much homocysteine can cause an increased risk of peripheral vascular disease, heart problems and Alzheimer’s disease. A Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause memory loss and interfere with cognitive and other brain functions.
Causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency
This vitamin deficiency is very common among elderly people. Some medications can interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B12. Deficiencies in B12 are commonly seen in vegetarians, people who have undergone stomach and intestinal surgeries and the elderly. People who suffer from alcoholism, and irritable bowel syndrome may also suffer from vitamin B12 depletion.
We are born with adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 in our blood streams. Normal serum levels of B12 are between 600 and 2000 trillionths of a gram per milliliter of blood. The levels of serum B12 decrease as we get older. Many of us who are 60 years old and older have monthly B12 injections to keep our serum levels within a normal range.
I had a gastric bypass, and started having memory, cognitive problems, and increased shortness of breath. My doctor ordered lab work to determine what was going on inside of my body. The blood test showed that my body was very low on this necessary vitamin. I now take shots of Vitamin B12 every month.
A Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause other problems, besides dementia. Depression, bipolar disorder, deterioration of nervous tissue and pernicious anemia can result from B12 depletion. The good news is that Vitamin B12 dementia can be turned around if caught early enough. Approximately 75 percent of the people suffering from B12 dementia can be successfully treated with Vitamin B12.
Many people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will be given Vitamin B12 shots, if their blood work suggests they are deficient. Vitamin B12 is not a cure for all types of dementia; for instance, a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may not be able to improve his/her memory or cognitive functions by taking this vitamin.
People suffering from Vitamin B12 dementia may demonstrate signs of depression, confusion, forgetfulness, tingling in the extremities, problems thinking, and problems with balance. The relationship between homocysteine and Vitamin B12 is that as the levels of this amino acid increases the levels of Vitamin B12 decrease in the blood. As the vitamin gets depleted in the body, the neurological symptoms occur. The neurological malfunctions will likely appear before there is any significant sign of anemia.