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Lack of B12 and Memory Loss

Lack of B12 is a common cause of dementia. An article from Austria showed that many doctors miss the correct diagnosis of B12 deficiency because people with B12 deficiency can have normal blood levels of that vitamin.

Many people suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency because they have low blood levels of homotranscobalamine II, the protein that transports B12 into the mitochondria where it acts, so you can have normal blood levels of B12 and still be deficient. When you body lacks B12, your red blood cells do not mature properly and are much larger than normal, and an amino acid called homocysteine accumulates in your bloodstream.  Red blood cells start out as being very large and then as they mature, they become smaller.   Lack of B12 prevents red blood cells from maturing normally, so a deficiency of B12 causes red blood cells to be much larger than normal. Doctors in Austria showed that much more dependable tests for B12 deficiency are MCV, a test that measures the size of red blood cells; and blood levels of homocysteine.

Erythrocyte mean cellular volume and its relation to serum homocysteine, vitamin B12 and folate. Acta Medica Austriaca, 2002;29(2):57-60.. M Haltmayer, T Mueller, W Poelz. Haltmayer M, Konventhosp Barmherzige Brueder Linz, Dept Lab Med, Seilerstaette 2, A-4014 Linz, AUSTRIA

Checked 2/3/16

May 12th, 2014
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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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