Vitamin Linked to Dementia, Schizophrenia and Autism

  • Discover why blood tests may not always tell you what’s going on in your brain
  • New research finds this common nutrient to be vital for brain health throughout the course of life. Find out more…
  • Plus, the best ways to boost your levels!

Dear Living Well Daily,

Recently, new research has found that the brains of folks with dementia, schizophrenia and autism have a common link.

And it’s not a rare genetic marker or complex brain structure discovered by a fancy scan (well, not in the research we are talking about here, anyway)…

No, this connection is pretty straightforward — it’s a vitamin B-12 deficiency. And it was discovered in a groundbreaking new study that revealed some astonishing truths about the way B-12 works in our bodies, particularly our brains.

You see, this study found that blood levels of B-12 don’t always match brain levels of B-12. This, coupled with the fact that brain levels of B-12 decline with age, could be the cause of these neurological disorders.

--Brainy Research

The first-of-its-kind study done at Nova Southeastern University was published in the journal PLOS ONE and it compares the levels of vitamin B-12 in human brains across a life span.

The findings suggest that poor uptake of vitamin B-12 from the blood to the brain could be related to certain neurological diseases like dementia, schizophrenia and autism.

The study, led by professor of pharmacology Richard Deth, Ph.D., examined the brains of over 60 deceased people with ages ranging from fetus to 80 years. Of these 60, nine had autism and 12 had schizophrenia.

The researchers found that vitamin B-12 levels were 10 times lower in the brains of the oldest subjects compared with those of the youngest. This reflects the natural and gradual decline that occurs with aging, which can also play a role in the onset of dementia.

Next, they found that the B-12 levels in the brains of both adults with schizophrenia and children with autism were about one-third of those found in people of the same age who did not have these neurological conditions. The schizophrenics were ages 36–49, yet their B-12 levels reflected those of a 72-year-old brain. The autistic children were all under the age of 10, but their B-12 levels reflected those of someone in their fifties.

According to Deth, low levels of B-12 may be detrimental because it can hinder the brain’s ability to create significant neural connections. This means, without a healthy level of B-12, your brain activity may malfunction.

--Live Well With B-12

While this study doesn’t prove that B-12 deficiency is a direct cause of autism, schizophrenia or dementia, it certainly opens the door for more research on this link. These findings also support scientists who believe the human brain uses vitamin B-12 to control gene expression and spur neurological development throughout the course of human life — from fetus through old age.

In addition, both autism and schizophrenia are associated with oxidative stress, which is also linked to aging. The researchers think oxidative stress could play a role in the decreased B-12 levels in the brain.

As of now, there isn’t a way to test your brain levels of B-12. That’s why it’s important to regularly eat foods with high levels of B-12. These include red meats, cheeses and eggs.

If you’re unsure if your diet is supplying you with the right amount of B-12, supplementation is another way to ensure your intake.

Just be sure to purchase supplements that contain the methylcobalamin form of B-12. It’s the most active in the body and is the same type of B-12 measured in the study. Plus, it’s best to get the sublingual tablets verses capsules. This means the B-12 is absorbed directly in the mouth and doesn’t depend on the stomach for digestion.

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily


Sources

[1] Decreased Brain Levels of Vitamin B12 in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia

[2] Low B12 may be linked to autism, dementia, schizophrenia

[3] Neuropsychology of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly dementia patients and control subjects.

[4] Vitamin B12, Vitamins, Autism, Schizophrenia

[5] Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

View More Free Articles

MAILBAG! 3 Secrets to a Long Healthy Life

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, What do you think are the top 3 things one can do to live a long life? –Mary from Milford, CT Hi Mary, Thanks for your excellent question! When you asked for the TOP three, it really stumped me at first. We can do so many things to live longer...

Read This

Seasoning Scapegoat Is Falsely Blamed for Immune Issues

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, A sprinkle of THIS. A dash of THAT. If you like to cook, chances are you love seasoning your dishes to bring out their best flavors. But a study published last year has a lot of folks questioning how they’re preparing their food. Because according to the researchers, no matter...

Read This

[ALERT] Persistent Aspirin Myth Can KILL

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Honestly, I thought we’d already put this issue to bed. After all, the evidence is in. We KNOW that taking a daily aspirin is a bad idea. But the headlines just keep coming anyway… “Aspirin Reduces Breast Cancer by 20 percent!” “Aspirin Cuts Heart Attack Risk!” With incredible claims like...

Read This

Pump the Brakes on Brain Aging in 15 Minutes Flat

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, I’m going to give it to you straight. Aging is tough on your whole body. Your joints… heart… and even your youthful skin all begin to show the effects of the passage of time. But aging takes the biggest toll on your brain. Because as the years go by, you...

Read This

Delicious Diet Secret Drives Down Blood Pressure

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,  Every 90 seconds. That’s how often another woman in the United States has a heart attack. Because the reality is heart attacks don’t just happen to men. Nearly one out of two adults in the United States has high blood pressure. And heart disease is one of the biggest health risks...

Read This

Study Links Common “Forever Chemical” to THIS Killer

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Mad scientists have created some pretty crazy chemicals in the laboratory. And mad businesses have taken those toxic concoctions and unleashed them into our world. You’ve probably seen a few headlines about “forever chemicals” lurking in our environment. In fact, I’ve shared warnings about them right here in Living Well...

Read This

MAILBAG! Break the Cycle of Varicose Veins

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, “What can I do about varicose veins?” — George, 75 Huntsville, AL Dear George, I have some good news and some bad news about varicose veins. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Once the damage is done to the veins, it’s hard to reverse. But the...

Read This

The Pop Quiz Big Pharma HOPES You FAIL

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, I’ve got a little pop quiz for you today. But don’t worry, it’s only one question. Now, if you’re anything like me, you HATE to fail. The trouble is the deck is stacked against you this time. So I don’t want you to be too hard on yourself if you...

Read This

Don’t Ignore This ODD Alzheimer’s Red Flag

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, It’s a nearly universal experience. When you reach a certain age, you start to worry about your memory. Because when you’re a senior, a “simple” forgotten name or missed appointment is NEVER simple. Instead, it’s yet another reason to be anxious about whether it’s an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease....

Read This

Common Nutrient Dials DOWN Anxiety Levels

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, If you battle anxiety, you’re the victim of an overactive brain. But probably not how you think. You see, electrical impulses are storming all of our brains all of the time. In fact, most of the chemicals in your brain (neurotransmitters) are designed to make even MORE of these electrical...

Read This