There have been a couple items of interest posted about Vitamin B12 on the NutraUSA website over the last few days.
The first is that B12 may actually protect against "brain shrinkage". In a study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in the latest issue of Neurology, researchers have found evidence suggesting that increasing one's level of B12 may greatly reduce the likelihood of brain volume loss in older populations. This finding offers new hope that there are common preventative measures available to combat widespread cognitive impairments like the onset of dementia.
Commenting independently on the results, Dr Susanne Sorensen from the Alzheimer's Society said: "Shrinkage is usually associated with the development of dementia. As vitamin B may be given as a food supplement, it may be useful to include tests of vitamin B levels in the general assessment of health of older individuals."
B12 is found only in food of animal origin, so supplements may be especially useful in cases where one's diet does not contain or has very little meat and dairy. Additionally, another recent Oxford study reported that increased B12 in diets may work to reduce cognitive decline in older individuals by up to 30%.
The second article of interest about B12 concerns a study from Harvard which found that common genetic variations may interfere with absorption of B12. It is no surprise that genetic makeup has a great deal to do with how we process vitamins and nutrients, but the principle finding offers the possibility of identifying these genetic markers, which in turn may assist to predict vitamin levels over a lifetime, making our nutritional needs all the more clear. Not everyone needs the same quantities of nutrients to produce the desired results, and having an assessable measure of how the body will deal with such things is a rather remarkable development.
For further info on B12 research:
Vitamin B12 vs. brain shrinkage
Genetic influence on B12 absorption
Alzheimer's Society Comment On Vitamin B12