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Vitamin B12 deficiency implicated in Alzheimer's disease

Vitamin B12 deficiency implicated in Alzheimer's disease


CLWYD, NORTH WALES. Suspicion has been growing that a lack of vitamin B12 is somehow implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease. Now researchers in the United Kingdom have confirmed this suspicion. They evaluated members of a family with a genetic predisposition towards Alzheimer's disease.

They found that four out of six (67 per cent) of family members with confirmed Alzheimer's disease had abnormally low vitamin B12 levels in their blood. This compares to only one out of 12 (8 per cent) among the family members who were at equal genetic risk for developing Alzheimer's disease but did not.

The researchers speculate that a vitamin B12 deficiency could result in impaired methylation reactions in the central nervous system - a characteristic feature in Alzheimer's disease. They also consider the possibility that the genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease may actually be related to a genetic impairment in the ability to absorb vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in itself often causes disorientation and confusion and thus mimics some of the prominent symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

McCaddon, A. and Kelly, C.L. Familial Alzheimer's disease and vitamin B12 deficiency. Age and Ageing, Vol. 23, July 1994, pp. 334-37

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