IHN Database

Vitamin B12 deficiency and Alzheimer's disease

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with the development of megaloblastic anemia, mental dysfunction, and dementia resembling Alzheimer's disease. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a very important cofactor in several biochemical reactions including the conversion of homocysteine to methionine and the synthesis of SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). These reactions are believed to be crucial in maintaining neurological health.

Researchers at the University of Milan now report that a vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with higher levels of the inflammatory cytokine, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and reduced levels of epidermal growth factor (EGF). It is believed that high levels of TNF-alpha speed up the progression of Alzheimer's disease thus explaining the association between low vitamin B12 levels and Alzheimer's. The researchers point out that the increase in TNF-alpha and the decrease in EGF can both be reversed by vitamin B12 supplementation. TNF-alpha is also implicated in the progression of HIV to AIDS and vitamin B12 has been found to slow this progression.
Editor's Note: Vitamin B12 deficiency is widespread among older people. Taking a 1 mg sublingual B12 tablet daily could prevent a lot of future health problems.
Miller, Joshua W. Vitamin B12 deficiency, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and epidermal growth factor: a novel function of vitamin B12? Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 60, May 2002, pp. 142-51

category search
Keyword Search

copyright notice