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Volume III
October 21, 2011

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

B-12 and Preventing "Senioritis"

By Patty Liston

My sweet mom is going to be 90 years old on November 2nd. She won't know it however, because she has Alzheimer's. Fortunately she is happy and content in a great care facility but I do miss her; the "her" that was my mom.

There is so much research being done on dementia and Alzheimer's now. As the baby-boomer generation reaches a certain age, we want answers that will help us work now to prevent this dreadful mind apocalypse. Some of the latest information I've been reading has to do with taking B-12 supplements and eating foods that are full of this vitamin.

It seems that as we get older, our bodies don't absorb vitamin B12 as easily as they did when we were young. B12 can be found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. According to health guru, Dr. Andrew Weil, "the decrease in absorption may help explain why brain size shrinks with age and seniors develop problems with thinking".

Research conducted in Chicago with the Chicago Health and Aging Project, had seniors complete 17 tests that would measure their memory and thinking skills. Then four years later, these same people underwent MRI's to measure brain volume and to "look for other signs of brain atrophy." This is when the research teams found that low levels of B12 seemed to equate with poorer thinking skills and smaller brain volume.

While this research is by no means conclusive, it is the first study to associate low levels of B12 with brain function. Okay, good enough for me to get on the band-wagon. Taking a good B12 vitamin and beefing up (no pun intended) on foods high in this vitamin certainly could not hurt. I don't know if I will live to be 90, or quite frankly, if I even want to. However if I do, I want to be able to remember my amazing life and my loved ones.

Foods high in B12:

1. Clams, oysters, mussels

2. Liver

3. Fish: herring, salmon, tuna, cod, trout

4. Crab and lobster

5. Fortified cereals

6. Beef: chuck steak the highest in B12, followed by sirloin, rib-eye and ribs (3 oz each)

7. Lamb

8. Cheese: Swiss is highest, followed by mozzarella, parmesan and feta

9. Eggs

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