As people age, they tend to suffer from vitamin deficiencies. The
elderly are commonly deficient in vitamin B12, for example, because they produce
less stomach acid than younger people, and therefore are not as
able to metabolize this vitamin from food sources. Age-related
changes also make older adults less efficient at producing vitamin
D following sun exposure.
Certain vitamin deficiencies can impair brain functioning. Probably
the best known example is vitamin B12 deficiency, which can mimic
symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia by
causing disorientation and confusion. People can prevent or treat a
vitamin B12 deficiency
by taking supplements or eating fortified foods — which do not
require stomach acid for absorption.
Evidence is growing that other sorts of vitamin deficiencies are
also associated with cognitive decline or dementia. This has
prompted researchers to investigate whether, as in the case of a
vitamin B12 deficiency, providing
supplements might either prevent deterioration or treat symptoms
once they appear. Here’s a quick review of three vitamin therapies
most often investigated.
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