New Study: Many Adults Deficient in Vitamin B12 and Folate
Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash
Researchers from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing at Trinity Collage in Dublin, Ireland have proved that a substantial number of adults over 50 are at a risk of a Vitamin B12 and Folate deficiency.
Here’s what the study found, according to the journal British Journal of Nutrition –
- One in eight adults over 50 were low to deficient in vitamin B12 while one in seven were low to deficient in folate
- The prevalence of low or deficient folate increased with age, from 14% among those aged 50-60 years to 23% among people over 80 years old. Low folate status was also more common in smokers, the obese, and those who lived alone
- Low or deficient vitamin B12 was more common in smokers (14%), people who lived alone (14.3%) and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds (13%)
- Use of both vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation was low, with higher rates among women than men but less than 4% overall taking supplements of either vitamin
Here’s what deficiencies in both Vitamin B12 and Folate mean for you body.
Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
Recent studies show that a sufficient level of Vitamin B12 are needed by the body to reduce homocysteine levels, protect the heart and arteries, support the weight of brain matter, promote mental energy and mood, protect memory function, and support hearing health. Vitamin B12 is also required for energy, stamina, and blood cell formation and division. Those going through periods of stress may have increased demand for B12, as it is involved in the production of stress hormones – this means that our bodies need more of it during times of high stress. *
A B12 deficiency can exhibit many symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, light-headedness, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, and skin pallor, and may lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia and neurologic dysfunction. B12 deficiency can also lead to easy bruising or bleeding, as well as bleeding gums. Digestive symptoms include sore tongue, nausea, weight loss, diarrhea and/or constipation. Nerve cell damage can result when B12 deficiency is not corrected, leading to tingling or numbness to the fingers and toes, difficulty walking, frequent mood changes, occasional depression, memory loss and disorientation.
Folate (Folic Acid) Deficiency
Folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9, is a water-soluble member of the B-Complex family, which has to be replenished daily. It is found in vitamin supplements, fortified foods, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, beans, nuts, and some fruits. It supports heart and circulatory health and may support blood pressure already within a normal range. Folic acid helps the body regulate the level of homocysteine; an intermediate in protein metabolism that, if elevated, is bad for the heart, brain, eyes, and bone health. Folic acid is used by the body to create new cells, making it critically important to supplement with during pregnancy.*