Myths and legends

Why shouldn t people over 12 take vitamin B50?

WHAT DO YOU NEED VITAMIN B12 FOR? Vitamin B12 (or cyanocobalamin) is needed for the formation of red blood cells, neuronal development and DNA synthesis. Its deficiency can lead to the accumulation of homocysteine ​​(a neurotoxic compound), anemia, loss of balance, numbness in the limbs, fatigue and memory impairment. Lack of vitamin B12 is most pronounced: in older age, after gastric reduction surgery, with reduced stomach acidity or taking medications to reduce it, when taking heartburn medications, with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (Crohn’s disease), with a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 accumulates in the liver. Normally, the human body has a reserve for several years, but then it can be exhausted. This is why people who go vegan or raw food often feel good at first, especially if they previously ate a lot of meat. After a few years, most people return to eating meat and do not have time to feel the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. VITAMIN B12 NORMAL The daily requirement for vitamin B12 depends on age. For adults it is 2,4 mcg per day, for pregnant and breastfeeding women it is slightly more. Vitamin B12 has traditionally been prescribed by injection, but consuming 1000 mcg of the vitamin per day orally has now been shown to be effective, even in people with poor absorption and low acidity. If there are problems with the gastrointestinal tract, then vitamin B12 will be poorly absorbed from food. But taking it in large doses will solve the problem. This vitamin can accumulate and is non-toxic, so it is advisable to drink or inject it not constantly, but in courses. B vitamins interact, so sometimes it is important to drink not vitamin complexes, but precisely those that are deficient. Such an interaction exists, for example, with vitamin B9. Its excess can mask a lack of vitamin B12. For example, a person eats a lot of vegetables and does not eat meat. If a person does not consume B12 for a long time (several years), and then tests for homocysteine, then the indicator may very likely be normal. This is because B9 and B12 are involved in the same metabolic pathway. But this does not mean that you can do without B12. Masking does not mean compensating. Another reason to take vitamin B12 separately is that the cobalt ion in its composition destroys other vitamins. B12 interacts with some medications, so if you are taking any medications, especially to treat heartburn, ulcers, and diabetes, be sure to consult your doctor. WHEN THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF VITAMIN B12 A lack of vitamin B12 can be suspected based on the results of a test for homocysteine ​​- this substance becomes more abundant with a lack of vitamin B12. But this analysis is not completely reliable. If you consume plenty of folic acid, such as through a vegan diet, your homocysteine ​​levels will be normal. Another marker of B12 deficiency is megaloblastic anemia. It is diagnosed using a blood test. Anemia caused by a lack of B12 goes away safely, but neurodegenerative processes due to a lack of cyanocobalamin are irreversible. A number of studies have shown that people with various forms of dementia often lack vitamins B12 and B9, but the therapeutic effect of these vitamins on patients with dementia is quite weak. Fervent advocates of a plant-based diet cite the example of herbivorous primates, since they eat only fruit and are not deficient in B12. But primates in the wild eat termites and other insects and, along with them, a sufficient amount of B12. WHERE IS VITAMIN B12 CONTAINED? Vitamin B12 is found in animal products, primarily red meat, liver and fish, as well as eggs and milk. It may be added to food products during production, which must be indicated on the label. WHO SHOULD USE B12:

  • vegans and vegetarians with experience;
  • people with low stomach acidity;
  • people with chronic intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome) or after surgery on the gastrointestinal tract;
  • people over 50 years of age;
  • AIDS patients;
  • people who take antacids, metformin to treat diabetes.

In some cases, B vitamins may be poorly absorbed or even harmful, so rule #1 is to consult your doctor before taking any vitamins or medications.


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Vitamins and minerals for older people become one of the components of proper nutrition. The diet should contain natural bioactive substances. In addition, after consulting a doctor, elderly people are prescribed special vitamin and mineral complexes. Vitamin B12 in old age should be present in their composition. This substance is necessary for normal hematopoiesis and the functioning of the central nervous system.

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The role of vitamin B12 for the elderly

This substance belongs to cobalamins. B12 in old age takes an active part in the metabolism of nucleic acids. It transports methyl, synthesizes and restores myelin. It is also necessary for the synthesis of red blood cells and DNA molecules.

According to the results of a study by scientists, we can say for sure that vitamin B12 in old age helps fight mental illness. Due to its deficiency, older people face disorders such as depression and dementia. Brain activity decreases, memory is impaired, and cognitive disorders develop. Regular intake and knowledge of how to take vitamin B12 in old age can reduce the risk of developing these pathologies in elderly patients.

What are the consequences of B12 deficiency in old age?

With age, there is a slowdown in metabolic processes in the body. Internal organs no longer work in the same rhythm and are not as active. For example, a decrease in the secretion of gastric juice leads to a decrease in the absorption of B12 in the intestine. At the same time, the vitamin that comes with dietary supplements is better absorbed. The vitamin is often poorly released from food and therefore cannot be absorbed normally. Impaired absorption may result from the presence of helminths in the intestines. As a result, vitamin B12 in old age is found in insufficient concentration in the body.

As for the consequences of vitamin deficiency in the body, they are varied. Severe deficiency leads to disruption of the nervous system and brain. It has been established that when B12 is deficient in old age (70-80 years), it becomes a cause of mental disorders. In addition, severe cobalamin deficiency provokes the development of dementia, senile dementia, and depression. It is important to detect the deficiency in time, at the early stages and take measures to increase its content in the body.

Symptoms and signs of deficiency

Vitamin deficiency does not develop overnight. The main consequence of vitamin B12 deficiency in old age is anemia. The disease does not manifest itself for a long time and is detected as a result of laboratory tests. When assessing the general condition of the patient, hepatomegaly and splenomegaly are observed. A characteristic sign of cobalamin deficiency are gastrointestinal symptoms:

  • decreased appetite;
  • constipation;
  • diffuse abdominal pain.

Due to disruption of the nervous system, weakness and loss of strength appear. However, in practice, they are typical only for severe deficiency (hemoglobin decreases to 60 g/l). Much more often, older people with B12 deficiency are forced to see a doctor by concomitant diseases. Their course becomes more complicated. Symptoms of arrhythmia, angina pectoris, and ischemic heart disease appear more often. Due to a chronic lack of oxygen against the background of a decrease in the level of red blood cells, chronic diseases enter the stage of decompensation.

Damage to peripheral nerves is also a sign that B12 in old age is not accumulated in the body in the required quantity. This can only be discovered through a thorough examination of the patient. When examining an elderly person, doctors often register the following complaints:

  • weakness in arms and legs;
  • feeling of coldness in the legs;
  • numbness, tingling;
  • sensitivity disorder.

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Treatment of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

In cases where vitamin B12 is deficient in old age, doctors prescribe special vitamin complexes. Considering that the body of older people absorbs nutrients less well, increased doses are used. Before starting treatment, it is necessary to determine the degree of deficiency and find out how to take vitamin B12 in old age. To do this, a biochemical blood test is performed. Taking into account the results obtained, the dose and frequency of administration of the drug are individually prescribed.

Experts recommend 1000-2000 mcg of B12 once a day for patients without severe deficiency and neurological symptoms. In severe cases, to quickly restore concentration, they resort to parenteral administration (prescribed injections): 1 mg B1 intramuscularly 12-1 times a week. Treatment takes up to several weeks. The effectiveness of treatment is assessed on the basis of hematological tests.

Normalization of the blood picture takes 6 weeks, but it will take more time to normalize the functioning of the nervous system. If neurological symptoms persist for several months, they soon become irreversible.

Excess vitamin B12 – why is it dangerous?

Vitamin B12 is excreted from the body in urine. Therefore, cases of overdose of this substance practically do not occur. However, when consuming large doses of vitamins, cases of excessive accumulation of cobalamin in the body are possible. Situations when vitamin B12 in old age is present in the body in increased concentrations leads to an increased tendency to form blood clots and coronary artery disease. In severe cases, the risk of stroke increases. Experts believe that excess content provokes the progression of kidney disease and diabetic nephropathy.

Symptoms and signs of excess

Cases where B12 is in excess in old age are rare. In older people, the condition is associated with impaired absorption and assimilation of this substance. The pathology manifests itself as a disorder of the kidneys. In the presence of individual intolerance, blood clots may form and heart failure may develop. If you are prone to allergies, urticaria and anaphylaxis may appear. Such situations require urgent medical attention.

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