Thursday, December 01, 2011

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Cause Symptoms That Mimic Aging - NYTimes.com

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Cause Symptoms That Mimic Aging - NYTimes.com

It is an important question. As we age, our ability to absorb B12 from food declines, and often so does our consumption of foods rich in this vitamin. A B12 deficiency can creep up without warning and cause a host of confusing symptoms that are likely to be misdiagnosed or ascribed to aging.

A Vital Nutrient

B12 is an essential vitamin with roles throughout the body. It is needed for the development and maintenance of a healthy nervous system, the production of DNA and formation of red blood cells.

A severe B12 deficiency results in anemia, which can be picked up by an ordinary blood test. But the less dramatic symptoms of a B12 deficiency may include muscle weakness, fatigue, shakiness, unsteady gait, incontinence, low blood pressure, depression and other mood disorders, and cognitive problems like poor memory.