Everyone knows that vitamins and nutrition are important for health, and many older adults take a multivitamin.
But did you know that even among older persons who do this, many still end up developing a serious deficiency in one particular vitamin?
It’s Vitamin B12.
If there’s one vitamin that I’d like all older adults and family caregivers to know more about, it would be vitamin B12.
(Second on my list would be vitamin D, but it’s much harder to develop low vitamin D levels if you take a daily supplement, as I explain in this post. Whereas vitamin B12 deficiency does develop in many older adults who are getting their recommended daily allowance.)
A deficiency in any vitamin can be catastrophic for health. But vitamin B12 deficiency stands out because a) it’s very common — experts have estimated that up to 20% of older adults may be low in this vitamin — and b) it’s often missed by doctors.
Geriatricians also like to pay attention to vitamin B12 because a deficiency can cause — or usually worsen — cognitive impairment or walking problems.
But if you know the symptoms and risk factors, you can help ensure that you get a vitamin B12 deficiency detected. Treatment is safe and effective, as long as you catch the problem before permanent damage occurs. Here’s what to know. [Read more…]