Researchers have recently discovered that low levels of vitamin B12 affects the brains of elderly individuals and younger people who have the neurological conditions schizophrenia and autism. This new discovery was reported in last month’s edition of the PLOS ONE scientific journal.
It is important to note that blood levels of B12 are not always equal to the brain levels of B12. Brain levels of the vitamin decrease more over time than blood levels do. Researchers say that this information provides evidence that neurological conditions and diseases are related to low intake and uptake of vitamin B12 from the blood to the brain.
Vitamin B12 is an important part of overall human health. It is a main component in the blood formation process and regulates the nervous system functions. This new study on low B12 levels supports the idea that the human brain utilizes B12 in a very regulated manner. According to LiveScience.com, the brain uses the vitamin to “control gene expression and to spur neurological development at key points during life from the brain’s high growth periods during fetal development and early childhood, through…adolescence, and then into middle and old age.”
The majority of this study was conducted at Nova Southeastern University in Southern Florida. It is also the first study to observe and compare the levels of the B12 vitamin in the brain over an entire life span.
The study shows that B12 levels in the brain are ten times lower in elderly people when compared to young people. Individuals with autism (the study tested individuals with autism under the age of 10) had B12 levels found in a 57-year-old. Individuals with schizophrenia (the study tested individuals between the ages of 36 and 49) had B12 levels comparable to the B12 levels of a 72-year-old. Researchers and scientists hope to look more into these results and do some more tests.