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Dementia in Older People

A report from Scotland shows that lack of vitamins B12, pyridoxine or folic acid is a common cause of dementia in older people. This study shows that eight percent of older people lack one or more of three vitamins: folic acid, B12, and pyridoxin, which raises blood levels of homocysteine to cause dementia.

All older people who appear to be losing their ability to reason or think clearly or who suffer mood disorders such as depression should have blood tests for homocysteine, folic acid, pyrodoxine and vitamin B12. If these tests are normal, they need tests for thyroid function, cholesterol and other causes of arterial damage. If homocysteine levels are high or B12, folic acid or pyridoxine levels are low, these people should take large amounts of whole grains and leafy green vegetables for folic acid and pyridoxine, and 1000 micrograms of B12 in a pill each day. See report #G101.

Homocysteine, B vitamin status, and cognitive function in the elderly. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, Vol 75, Iss 5, pp 908-913. SJ Duthie, LJ Whalley, AR Collins, S Leaper, K Berger, IJ Deary. Duthie SJ, Rowett Res Inst, Greenburn Rd, Bucksburn AB21 9SB, Aberdeen, SCOTLAND

Checked 4/22/14

May 31st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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