New Trial Shows High-Dose Vitamin B12 Improves Cognitive Performance

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Could a simple regimen of nutritional supplements strengthen the aging brain against dementia? This newly published trial suggests vitamin B12 could sharper cognitive faculties and even turn back time for the forgetful.

A new clinical trial published in Nutrición Hospitalaria provides compelling evidence that high-dose vitamin B12 supplementation significantly improves cognitive function in older adults already exhibiting decline [1].


The vitamin B12 treatment group received 500mg intramuscular injections daily for one week followed by oral doses of 0.25mg cobamamide plus 0.50mg methylcobalamin daily for 6 months [1]. This B12 regimen markedly enhanced performance on common mental tests versus matched controls receiving no B12 [1]. Those getting B12 supplements notably improved attention, numeric calculation and visual-spatial skills indicative of better frontal lobe brain activity [1].


Rising rates of "minimal cognitive impairment" affecting over 20% of older adults render findings timely [2]. Patients frequently progress to dementia within a year if left untreated [3]. Prior research also links low B12 levels below 180pg/mL to eventual cognitive losses [4].  



Vitamin B12 supports red blood cell formation, immune function and nerve communication [5]. Deficiencies frequently appear after age 60, often from stomach conditions or medications reducing B12 absorption [6]. Strict vegetarians also require supplementation as natural B12 derives from animal foods [5]


Suboptimal B12 disturbs homocysteine metabolism and methylation reactions vital for synthesizing neurotransmitters and brain cell integrity [7]. Resulting neurologic symptoms span depression, confusion and frank dementia if B12 levels significantly drop [8].  


Notably, the 500mg injectable B12 doses increased blood B12 while decreasing depressive mood [1]. Patients also exhibited better frontal lobe integrity governing complex attention, mental flexibility and emotional processing after 6 months treatment [1]. Correcting B12 deficiency may thereby restore key cell nutrients enabling clearer thinking.  


Authors recommend screening B12 blood levels in all adults over 50 years exhibiting cognitive issues or unexplained fatigue [1]. Customized B12 treatment then becomes possible for those indicating borderline or overt deficiencies. As covered by insurance, accurate B12 testing and correction provides low-risk intervention before irreversible dementia develops.


To learn more about the wide range of evidence-based health benefits of vitamin B12, across 180 different health conditions, consult our database on the subject here.



To learn more about the wide range of evidence-based natural approaches to preventing and treating dementia, consult our database on the subject here.



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1. Zhou L et al. Nutr Hosp. 2023.

2. Plassman BL et al. Ann Intern Med. 2008.

3. Jack CR Jr et al. Alzheimers Dement. 2011.

4. Spence JD. Nutr Res. 2016. 

5. Green R et al. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017.  

6. Andrès E et al. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2003.

7. Kwok T et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998. 

8. Sahu P et al. Vitam Horm. 2022.

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