Vitamin B12 deficiency may increase the risk of reduced mental function and increase the loss of brain volume. This is not the first study to explore this. In 2008 Oxford researchers found that people with higher B12 blood levels were 6 times less likely to experience brain shrinkage.
A daily morning dose of 2000 mcg methylcobalamin B12 may be needed to boost B12 levels. Please get a blood test to follow up where you are at.
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High blood levels of homocysteine can increase the risk of hearing loss, and low folate levels sharply increase that risk even more.
Elevated homocysteine can obstruct blood flow to the cochlea–the section of the inner ear that converts vibrations to electrical signals. Homocysteine is best known for creating heart problems. Most importantly, an elevated homocysteine level is an independent risk factor for heart disease. High levels of this amino acid are also linked with Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, and vision problems.
So could a couple of B vitamins help?
Well, we know that high levels of vitamin B12 and folate (also known as B9) are associated with low homocysteine levels.
Homocysteine levels tend to rise as we age. So…if folate is low, homocysteine high, and hearing is impaired, can some folic acid (synthetic folate) help?
One study says yes. But don’t expect miracles.
Researchers in the Netherlands gave 800 micrograms of folic acid or a placebo to nearly 730 subjects over the age of 50 with high homocysteine levels. After three years, average rate of decline in hearing low frequencies was significantly less in the folic acid group compared to placebo. But both groups had similar decline in hearing higher frequencies.
But folic acid isn’t your only option.
Vinpocetine is an herbal extract that improves circulation. Ideally, it might help alleviate reduced blood flow to the cochlea–especially when your meal plan contains dietary sources of folate, such as beans, chickpeas, asparagus, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables.
I recommend 1,000 micrograms of B12 daily, taken in sublingual form (dissolved under the tongue). I find that of the three B12 forms, methylcobalamin is by far the best.
B12 needs other nutrients in order to be most effective. So I recommend:
- Folate – 1.6 mg daily
- Vitamin B6 – 100 mg daily
- Magnesium – 400 to 500 mg daily
Your best dietary sources of B12 are primarily meat, fish and eggs (so vegetarians and vegans will definitely want to supplement). Folate and B6 are found in asparagus, lentils, chickpeas, most varieties of beans, and especially spinach and other leafy green vegetables. For magnesium, you want to eat plenty of avocados, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and (again) leafy green veggies.
I recommend the Wellness Essential for Bloood Sugar packet.